I like it when businesses deliver what they say they will deliver. When I talked to Pivot3 last year they had just integrated the NexGen storage with their vStack HCI product. Their plan was to take the hybrid flash and storage QoS goodness out of NexGen and build it into the HCI. This week they delivered a new HCI called Acuity and new node types (X5) that have just that. The new nodes are available in all-flash or hybrid configurations. Either type can have NVMe flash as an accelerator and come in a variety of storage and compute capacities. These new nodes run the Acuity HCI platform which has the same storage QoS policies we saw from NexGen. The combination of NVMe and QoS allow higher VM densities without compromising performance for high priority VMs. Customers who liked Pivot3 as a point solution will now be able to adopt it as a general-purpose virtualization platform. Even for tier-1 applications that need storage performance guarantees. Pivot3 has come a very long way from their origins with storing video surveillance files.
One thing I find very interesting is the rediscovery that extreme storage performance can unlock VM density. Pivot3 are talking about 2-3 time the VM density. VMs spend less time waiting for IO to complete, so applications respond faster. Also, that guest VM swapping doesn’t cause application performance to suffer as much when the storage is faster. Putting NVMe flash under a bunch of VMs is like putting an SSD in your laptop, everything just feels better. I will be very interested in what happens when solid state storage moves to the RAM bus. Storage class memory can be two orders of magnitude faster than NVMe flash.