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SimpliVity OmniCube sets sights on remote office storage

SimpliVity OmniCube hyper-converged family gets a little brother for remote offices and file restores for more granular backups.

SimpliVity upgraded its hyper-converged storage platform today with a focus on remote and branch offices (ROBOs) and data protection.

SimpliVity is adding its fourth, and smallest, SimpliVity OmniCube appliance and a new version of its OmniStack data virtualization platform.

OmniStack 3 adds automatic multi-site network discovery, support for hub and spoke configurations, file-level restores and backup policy management and reports.

SimpliVity also forged a partnership to sell its software on Lenovo servers.

Hyper-converged systems include storage, compute, networking and virtual machines (VMs) in one chassis.

The new SimpliVity OmniCube CN-1200 is a 2U box that includes eight CPU cores, 4 TB hard disk drive capacity and 800 GB of solid-state drive storage, and from 50 GB to 82 GB of usable memory. By comparison, SimpliVity's next smallest system, the CN-2200, scales to 8 TB of hard disk storage, 800 GB of SSDs, 24 CPU cores and 455 GB of RAM.

The vendor claims its SimpliVity OmniCube CN-1200 is designed for deployment across four or more remote offices and can support 20 virtual machines. It can be managed from the same console as the larger OmniCubes. CN-1200 boxes can replicate to another OmniCube in the data center or to other systems in remote offices.

For improved data protection, customers can set policies across VMs and access reports that help model the impact of backup and retention policy changes before implementing them.

Help for ROBOs

SimpliVity OmniCube supports VMware and KVM hypervisors. It lacks support for Microsoft Hyper-V and all-flash hardware that market leader Nutanix and some other hyper-converged vendors offer, but SimpliVity is trying to broaden its installed base with the ROBO focus.

Jesse St. Laurent, SimpliVity's vice president of product strategy, said the vendor has mostly concentrated on data center implementations until now, with many customers running Microsoft SQL and Exchange and Oracle databases on OmniCubes.

"We've had some presence in ROBO, but we view this as an expansion," St. Laurent said.

Arun Taneja, consulting analyst of the Taneja Group, said ROBOs are a prime market for hyper-convergence.

"Hyper-convergence is about simplifying the heck out of the infrastructure and taking away most of the decisions in terms of managing storage, networking and servers," Taneja said "Who would love that the most? The ROBOs."

SimpliVity OmniCube data protection improvements

SimpliVity pitches its OmniCube as a system that can remove the need for discrete servers, storage, networking, deduplication and WAN optimization products. St. Laurent said the file level restores now alleviate the need for some customers to use separate backup software.

"A lot of our customers only do backups because they want file-level restores," St. Laurent said. "Now they can de-commission one more set of infrastructure. Before they could click on and restore a whole virtual machine. Now they can click on and restore a single file."

Taneja said data protection has always been a SimpliVity strong suit with features such as data deduplication and WAN-optimized replication from the start.

"Data protection is SimpliVity's main point of differentiation,'' he said. "The first thing they do is dedupe the data. They shrink the data at step one and keep it shrunk through the entire process of moving it. If you try to work with a third-party data protection vendor, you have to hydrate it back."

Lenovo goes deeper into hyper-convergence

SimpliVity is the third hyper-converged partner that Lenovo has announced in recent weeks, joining Pivot3 and StorMagic.

SimpliVity's OmniStack -- its software and ASIC that handles functions such as dedupe and WAN optimization  --  will be sold on Lenovo System x3650 M5 servers through Arrow Electronics.

SimpliVity has a similar partnership with Cisco, pairing OmniStack with Cisco UCS servers.

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