Mike Dunbar, Vice President of Global Sales, Pivot3
Data&StorageAsean: Why are traditional hardware storage vendors seeing revenues decline? Is SDS in part responsible for this?
Mike: Absolutely. SDS has taken a bite out of traditional hardware storage market, with most estimates approaching $5.5B by 2018. One only has to take a look at the traditional hardware players scrambling to come up with an answer to the decline, but rather than developing new, innovative products, they quickly put a spin on the same old technology. These vendors are now realizing this strategy has caught them flat-footed and are smarting from the loss in revenue.
The growing market for hyperconverged infrastructure is another factor that is contributing to the rise of SDS. While the market puts a pretty broad definition around SDS, hyperconvergence has SDS in its DNA, so I think what we’re seeing here is an acceleration of SDS due in part to the proliferation, and accelerated adoption of hyperconverged products in the market.
Data&StorageAsean: Does moving to SDS storage mean throwing away existing storage hardware investment?
Mike: Not necessarily. By definition, SDS should be hardware agnostic and unless you are just at refresh cycle, you should probably leverage that legacy hardware. The SDS market is certainly evolving but one thing is for certain – anyone claiming to be in the SDS space should be designing software that allows the customer to leverage a virtual pool of storage across many workloads. Traditional legacy hardware solutions do not always provide the flexibility nor the agility to handle problematic workloads, so customers are making a conscious strategic decision to migrate to an SDS or HCI architecture, and often that means picking and choosing where they can make that initial deployment.
Data&StorageAsean: Is SDS already being over taken by cloud storage?
Mike: A SDS strategy must be more than just software sitting on commodity-based hardware. SDS must encompass existing enterprise storage architectures, and it certainly must keep pace and include the cloud service providers. And isn’t cloud storage just somebody else’s servers in their data center? The economics that SDS and hyperconvergence brings to the market works for the cloud service providers as well. Think about a model where the spin-up and scale-out of services from the cloud provider can be “right-sized” for all sizes of customers and maintain all of the reliability of traditional NAS or SAN, and quite frankly offer better reliability.
Data&StorageAsean: What are the key drivers that will drive people to implement SDS?
Mike: One key driver is massive data growth, especially around unstructured data, and a need to control storage costs (both from a CAPEX and OPEX perspective). Think about shared compute and storage via hyperconvergence, and think superior performance and ease of administration, which all translate to real costs savings on both sides of the coin. I also think a secondary reason might be the way businesses are fielding applications these days in mixed heterogeneous environments.
Customers immediately benefit from a low cost of entry, followed by a very economical scale-out model, all on commodity-based hardware, which injects momentum back into the development of new applications to drive business innovation. These are exciting times for our industry.
Data&StorageAsean: What is unique about your own SDS offering?
Mike: Some of the things I’ve mentioned above are standard to most hyperconverged players, as SDS is a core part of being hyperconverged. However, at Pivot3, we do believe there are some areas where we outshine the others, as our architecture is fundamentally different than the replication-based players. For instance, when it comes to the maximum use of minimum resources, we provide more usable capacity and compute power than our competition and we provide a level of fault tolerance that is unmatched. Combine that with features like Quality of Service and predictive sparing, and you quickly realize that Pivot3 is not just a “me-too” player in this space. With 32 patents in the SDS space, our architecture is built from the ground up to optimize performance and provide the level of resiliency you’d expect for your critical applications and mission critical data.