Atlantis HyperScale hyper-converged flash targets remote office

Atlantis Computing's latest HyperScale appliances integrate 10-Gigabit Ethernet networking, factory-configured IP addresses and VMware vSphere or Citrix XenServer hypervisors.

Atlantis Computing this week expanded its all-flash hyper-convergence with the Atlantis HyperScale CX-4 appliance aimed at remote branch office storage.

It also qualified Dell as a distribution partner across the entire HyperScale line, including the Atlantis HyperScale CX-12 and CX-24 models unveiled in May. Dell will make Atlantis HyperScale appliances available on PowerEdge FX2 servers. Dell joins Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo, Seagate and Supermicro as Atlantis channel partners.

The server vendors bundle Atlantis USX virtualization software on their x86-based hardware.  Atlantis launched the Atlantis HyperScale product line in May with the CX-12 and CX-24 models, which provide effective capacities of 12 TB and 24 TB respectively. Customers can purchase HyperScale either as a virtual appliance or a physical appliance built with Atlantis-qualified server hardware and components.

Atlantis HyperScale preconfigures IP addresses

Atlantis USX software runs on top of Citrix XenServer or VMware vSphere hypervisors and pools all-flash storage. The 2U HyperScale CX-4 comes in a minimum of two flash nodes with 4 TB of effective storage (4.8 TB raw). Each set of nodes is equipped with 48 Xeon E5-2680v3 Haswell processors, 1.5 TB of RAM and three 800 GB eMLC flash drives. Atlantis said a two-node CX-4 appliance supports about 200 virtual machines.

Customers can upgrade from CX-4 to higher capacity CX-12 or CX-24, or combine the platforms in a scale-out model.

Scott Sinclair, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said the two-node configuration could appeal to organizations with many branch offices. Leading hyper-convergence vendors such as Nutanix and VMware require three-node minimum configurations for high availability in case one node goes down.

"The two-node is ideal for remote branch office environments. What you want there is a very simple configuration that's resilient. It's one less box you have to buy, configure and manage. If you're doing it over a dozen or even more branch offices, those numbers can add up," Sinclair said.

CX-4 appliances integrate 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking, factory-configured IP addresses and VMware vSphere or Citrix XenServer hypervisors. Seth Knox, Atlantis' vice president of product marketing, said it is engineered to address the challenge of managing storage in remote offices.

"We designed it to directly connect all the cabling between the two nodes, so it's like a crossover cable scenario. Which means you can eliminate the need for switching ports for redundant networking at your remote sites. You can have a primary site that's a virtual appliance, and it manages all the distributed appliances," Knox said.

Atlantis software runs in an active-active configuration to mirror data volumes in parallel between nodes for virtual machine failover. Atlantis deduplicates data in flash memory rather than writing to hybrid disk.

Knox said customers generally prefer to install a physical HyperScale appliance in a central data center and run USX software at remote locations. Atlantis HyperScale can front a SAN, NAS or JBOD configuration to support backup, reboot and replication between geographically dispersed locations and a main data center.

Customer likes all-flash HyperScale performance 

The Epiphany School of Global Studies in New Bern, N.C., was a HyperScale beta customer last year. The institution since has moved its entire infrastructure, including domain controllers, media servers, e-mail, VOiP and file storage servers, to a four-node HyperScale appliance that replaced three HPE servers that "couldn't handle the load," director of technology Bobbi Jo Kelly said.

The school's 600 end users, mostly students and faculty, report faster access to data on laptops and thin client media servers since the changeover, Kelly said.

"I really didn't think it was going to make a drastic improvement but the difference has been like night and day," Kelly said. "HyperScale was the only thing we changed in our infrastructure. It has to be [due to] the flash storage: The fact it doesn't have to go down and tag into a hard drive every time it needs to pull up information."

Channel partners will set the final prices for HyperScale CX-4, but Atlantis released suggested retail pricing for each vendor. The prices are $43,000 for HyperScale CX-4 appliances built on Supermicro TwinPro servers; $60,000 for HyperScale appliances based on Dell FX configuration with F630 servers; $57,571 for HyperScale appliance based on HP DL360 Gen 9 servers; $58,258 for HyperScale appliances based on Lenovo System x3550 M5 servers; and $115,210 for HyperScale appliances built with Cisco M4 servers.

Knox said HyperScale gives customers an all-flash option for hyper-convergence that costs about half that of Nutanix and SimpliVity.

Atlantis joins other hyper-converged vendors addressing storage at distributed sites. SimpliVity last year rolled out a smaller version of its OmniCube for remote office, although the product has yet to add support for all-flash hardware. Nutanix has the NX-900 all-flash platform with stretch clustering for high availability across multiple sites.

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