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SimpliVity OmniCube options expanded with smaller, larger systems

A year after coming out of stealth with its hyper-converged OmniCube, SimpliVity delivers smaller and larger systems for different markets.

SimpliVity Corp. today said it will scale its OmniCube hyper-converged storage systems up and down, with a larger...

model for high-end performance-optimized workloads and a new model for smaller organizations and remote offices.

The new systems are the CN-2000 for remote offices and the CN-5000 for performance. With the new additions, SimpliVity is renaming its original OmniCube launched last year the CN-3000.

A SimpliVity OmniCube consists of servers virtualized with VMware, storage and networking, and performs inline deduplication and WAN optimization in one box. It can be managed through VMware's vCenter console. SimpliVity is among a group of startups offering these hyper-converged systems, along with Pivot3, Nutanix and Scale Computing.

SimpliVity began shipping its original OmniCube in a beta program last September; it became generally available early this year.

"We knew going in [that] there would be a down-market for customers that the CN-3000 was too heavy for and a high-performance computing market that the CN-3000 wasn't properly tuned for," said Tom Grave, SimpliVity's vice president of marketing.

All the SimpliVity OmniCube models use the same OmniStack software. The company claims that the latest software allows customers to cluster more than 30 systems, and the product roadmap calls for clusters of 100 nodes in 2014.

All three OmniCubes are 2U systems. The CN-5000 is a dual-socket server with 20 to 24 cores, 384 GB to 768 GB of DRAM, and 18 TB to 35 TB of usable capacity. It holds 20 900 GB hard drives and four 400 GB or 800 GB solid-state drives (SSDs). The CN-5000's list price starts at approximately $75,000.

The CN-2000 has a single-socket six-core processor, 128 GB of DRAM and 7 TB to 12 TB of usable capacity, with eight 1 TB hard drives and four 100 GB SSDs. Its list price starts at around $27,000.

SimpliVity is also upgrading the CN-3000, moving from a 12-core dual socket server to between 16 and 24 cores for faster processing. The original system had 200 GB SSDs, but it now offers options for the 400 GB and 800 GB SSDs. It also includes the second-generation OmniCube Accelerator, a PCI Express card that handles inline deduplication and compression for all data that hits the system. The OmniCube Accelerator 2 has been optimized for performance. The CN-3000 holds up to eight 3 TB hard drives, with a list price starting at around $55,000.

The new SimpliVity OmniCube systems will be available in September.

Changes to the OmniStack software include a Cloud Node that allows customers to connect to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to provide a disaster recovery (DR) target for virtual machines in the data center. Customers who purchase a cloud license from SimpliVity receive a copy of a corresponding Amazon Machine Instance with Amazon Simple Storage Service storage.

The new version of the OmniCube software also supports VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration and Citrix XenDesktop for a virtual desktop infrastructure.

SimpliVity supported VMware from the start. Grave said the vendor plans to add Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM hypervisors in 2014.

The vendor claims approximately 30 customer installations, mostly with organizations looking to reduce their IT footprint and complexity.

Jon Bartelson, assistant CIO at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), brought in two OmniCubes on campus and another at a DR site. He said having everything built into one box allows his staff to concentrate on other projects instead of setting up and tuning IT infrastructure.

"The selling point for me was that it was all built into one box," Bartelson said. "It's one-stop shopping for infrastructure. We have an experienced team here putting our infrastructure together. They order hardware, bring it in, configure it, set up virtualization, set up backup and recovery, and make sure everything's available. With SimpliVity, we can get all that in an appliance and free up our technical bench to focus on more strategic things besides infrastructure build."

WPI still uses its Dell Compellent SAN and EMC Isilon NAS for production storage, but Bartelson said he's testing business applications running on VMware on his OmniCubes. The next project will be to use it for DR.

"This will probably help us eliminate some single-app hardware boxes we've been sitting on," he said.

Bartelson added that OmniCube has the potential to handle backups. But he would really like SimpliVity to deliver on Hyper-V support because WPI runs more Hyper-V than VMware, with VMware used for applications that require enterprise features.

"Hyper-V support would be awesome," he said. "We talked about that with SimpliVity from the beginning.

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