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Pivot3 vStac SLX hyper-convergence includes NexGen technology

Pivot 3's hyper-converged platform expanded with the vStac SLX targeted at VMware environments. The new system incorporates NexGen Storage PCIe flash and quality of service.

Pivot3 wasted little time launching a new product based on NexGen Storage flash technologies. 

The hyper-converged vendor in January acquired flash array vendor NexGen. This week, the Pivot3 vStac SLX was introduced, which consists of its own vStac hyper-converged software and hardware, NexGen N5 PCI Express (PCIe) flash arrays and NexGen quality-of-service (QoS) management software.

The product brings together Pivot3 erasure coding with NexGen's QoS, which tiers data between disk and flash based on its value.

Meet Pivot3 vStac SLX hyper-convergence

The vStac SLX is a 3U box of tiered all-flash storage that connects to a Pivot3 hyper-converged cluster. Customers use it to move performance workloads from Pivot3 arrays to PCIe flash. 

"This is a hybrid box. It's a combination of the existing NexGen N5 box and the existing Pivot3 hyper-converged box," said Ron Nash CEO at Pivot3. "What we merged was the dynamic provisioning and the management layer as a single pane of glass. You can decide whether you want your storage on Pivot3, or move it down to the NexGen PCIe flash storage if it needs higher performance."

SLX stands for Service Level Extension. Shipments will start this month on three vStac SLX models.

The standard configuration packages three Pivot3 hyper-converged appliances and one vStac SLX node. Users can stack up to 16 nodes per cluster. The nodes run as a massively parallel system that wide-stripes data across all the drives, creating an aggregated pool from available compute and cache.

Customers can group vStac clusters and manage them from a single domain with vStac management software or a VMware vCenter plug-in.

The highest-capacity model is vStac SLX 200, with 204 TB of raw storage, including 144 TB of hybrid storage and 60 TB of flash. The vStac SLX 100 comes with 102 TB of raw capacity -- 72 TB of hybrid capacity and 30 TB of flash. Both models have 84 CPU cores and 768 GB of RAM.

Rounding out the product line is the vStac SLX 50, with 48 cores, 384 GB of memory and 51 TB of raw storage, including 36 TB of hybrid disk and 15 TB of PCIe flash. 

Nash said pricing for vStac SLX has not been finalized.

Pivot3 vStac focuses on VMware

Pivot3 sells its vStac OS mainly to VMware shops. It bundles vStac on branded x86 server hardware that uses disk storage, with flash as an acceleration tier. NexGen sold all-flash and hybrid arrays that used PCIe flash cards, solid-state drives and rotating disk.

The addition of PCIe flash gives Pivot3's hyper-converged product a differentiating nuance, said Eric Slack, a senior analyst at market research firm Evaluator Group Inc., in Boulder, Colo.

"Nutanix and several other hyper-converged vendors have all-flash nodes," Slack said. "Those are actually regular compute nodes that happen to have all-flash. Pivot3 vStac is simply an all-flash box that only provides extra capacity. It's not one of the compute nodes in a cluster that lets you have a quorum or spread data. Pivot3 is positioning it for applications that need higher performance."

Hyper-converged systems are gaining traction, often as a way for small and medium-sized business to run virtual desktop infrastructure. Nash said vStac SLX enables Pivot3 to tackle production and line-of-business workloads.

"Hyper-converged has been fantastic, but now we're giving you hyper-converged-plus to address broader and broader sets of applications," Nash said.

He said Pivot3 hyper-converged arrays will add NexGen PCIe cards, and Pivot3 erasure coding will be integrated in rebranded N5 hardware. The vendor plans to combine the two companies' technologies under the Pivot3 brand.

"There won't be a [NexGen] N6 box," Nash said.

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