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Gridstore Plots Expansion of Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Converged infrastructure has various meanings, depending on the supplier and IT professionals. For Gridstore, the company has decided to focus on offering hyperconverged infrastructure for Hyper-V-only environments. The company, which offers an appliance consisting of Intel-based multicore servers and scalable flash storage, last week said it has raised $19 million in equity finding from Acero Capital, GGV Capital and ONSET Ventures.

Along with the funding, Gridstore said it has named Nariman Teymourian chairman. Teymourian has led a number of startups and most recently was a general manager and SVP at Hewlett Packard Co. The company also has tapped James Thomason, former CTO of Dell's cloud marketplace, as CSO. Thomason arrived at Dell when it acquired Gale Technologies, a startup led by Teymourian. The company has tapped another former Dell executive as its CFO, Kevin Rains, who was director of operations for Dell's software group.

George Symons, CEO, said the company will use the funding to expand its engineering and sales reach. While Cisco, Dell and Hewett Packard Enterprise are among those who offer hyperconverged infrastructure, Symons said in an interview that Gridstore mainly competes with startups Nutanix and SimpliVity, whose gear is targeted at midsized enterprises and departments of larger organizations. Two years ago, Gridstore decided to focus its hyperconverged systems on Hyper-V. Symons said the company's focus on Microsoft's hypervisor platform make its systems best suited for Windows Server-based applications such as databases and others requiring high performance. "We're seeing a lot of SQL Server consolidation as well as people moving from VMware to Hyper-V," Symons said.

The Gridstore appliance is a 2U single-rack system that can scale to 256 nodes, each of which can run up to 96TB of raw flash storage. Customers typically start with 4 to 8 nodes and some have worked their way up to 30 nodes. One prominent law firm has a configuration with more than 100 nodes, according to Symons. The systems have variable configuration options ranging from 2 to 24 cores and up to 1TB of memory in each node.

Asked if Gridstore plans to add networking components to its appliances, Symons said it's possible but not in the short-term plan. "Strategically we will probably do it but not in the next year," Symons said. "We make it easier to integrate with the existing networks. Those seem to be one of the challenges customers have with their environments. "One of the key benefits with hyperconverged infrastructure is ease of deployment [and] ease of management. We do want to have that integration so that it all happens quickly and easily so you're up and running."

In the near term, look for new management capabilities including new reporting analysis, he said. Gridstore is also readying its hyperconverged infrastructure to support both Windows and Hyper-V containers. Symons believes organizations moving to a DevOps model will find containers attractive.

Asked if an Azure appliance is in the works, he hinted that's likely. "It's an area we can play heavily in," he said. "We think we can do a lot of management integration to make it easier in terms of moving workloads, in terms of looking at orchestration. There are some interesting opportunities for us there. We think it's pretty important."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/03/2016 at 1:26 PM


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