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Infinidat and The Futurum Group Discuss Infinidat’s New Solutions – Futurum Tech Webcast

Infinidat and The Futurum Group Discuss Infinidat's New Solutions - Futurum Tech Webcast

On this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast – Interview Series, I am joined by Eric Herzog, CMO for Infinidat for a conversation on Infinidat’s new solutions and other recent announcements.

Our discussion covers:

  • A look into Infinidat’s SSA Express Software’s extended capabilities
  • How Infinidat has doubled the capacity of SSA II
  • The real magic behind the InfuzeOS operating system
  • A deep dive into how Infinidat is helping customers of all sizes meet their capacity needs.

To learn more about the latest announcements, check out the press release here.

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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.


Randy Kerns: Hi, this is Randy Kerns from The Futurum Group. I’m here with Eric Herzog, who’s the chief marketing officer and everything else you could imagine at Infinidat. And we’re going to talk about some very important things. Infinidat has made some significant announcements and they really do warrant a deeper discussion. And Eric and I have had conversations before about this and so I thought it’d be very valuable to dig into them a little deeper. Eric.

Eric Herzog: Great. Well, thank you. Always love working with you guys in The Futurum Group. And let’s get started. It’s going to be great.

Randy Kerns: All right. Super. The first one’s about your SSA Express software. Interesting name, but I thought it was pretty interesting what you’ve done. You’ve taken your storage systems that you have in the field today, many of them that have some solid state, certainly a lot of memory, and then some spinning disc. And you’ve effectively created some smaller internal platforms that look like they’re all-flash arrays. And so this could be a great advantage for a lot of customers in saying that I’ve got one large system that can replace multiple small solid state arrays. Do you want to tell me a little bit more about it?

Eric Herzog: Sure. SSA Express is a software-only play. It is included at no cost with our InfuzeOS operating system that comes with our InfiniBox. And as you stated, well the InfiniBox design is DRAM with our patented neural cache, what allows us to have such incredible performance compared to other systems. A layer of flash and then hard drives on the backend. What SSA Express does is allow you to assign volumes, if you will, applications and workloads to only come out of the DRAM or the flash so it never hits a hard drive. We can create up to a 320 terabyte all-flash array, if you will inside. Every feature function has the same performance of our InfiniBox SSA II, which is our all-flash model, latency as low as 35 mics. All the software, snapshot replication, our AIOps software, InfiniOps. You get our InfiniVerse. You get all of our cybersecurity with the InfiniSafe. And you could even go hybrid cloud with our InfuzeOS Cloud Edition. That software is included at no charge. And it’s basically a software play that allows them to create akin to a 320 terabyte array inside of an array that’s really a hybrid.

Randy Kerns: And is there a limit on the number of those arrays it can create of that type?

Eric Herzog: Well, it could create no more than a max of 320 terabytes. You don’t have to create a 320 terabyte. You create 160. There’s five different configs you can create. For customers that buy a new one right now, for example, when Futurum places a PO for an InfiniBox, you could create SSA Express and it’ll be absolutely free. For many of our more recent customers, last year and a half to two, you got plenty of flash in. And with some of our older customers, it depends. If you want to do a 320 terabyte you bought seven years ago, you might need to buy a flash accessory kit, which would just be some flash modules that you could load in. That is a charge, but it’s certainly much less expensive than buying a small all-flash array. And it’s a non-disruptive upgrade for those accounts. When it’s new, it’s you just tell us what you want. “I think I need 320 terabytes or need 160 or whatever.” And for most of the recent accounts, they won’t need any extra flash. Essentially for many of the accounts and certainly any future customer, you could create the equivalent of a 320 terabyte mid-range, all-flash array inside of a hybrid for no cost at all.

Randy Kerns: Well, I look at it and say this can avoid some proliferation of multiple arrays by doing this. That’s very valuable. I’m surprised it’s free, but all good news. All right. Let’s talk about the next one. I think that one makes more sense than anything. For your SSA II, you’ve doubled the capacity, right?

Eric Herzog: Well, what we’ve done is put double the effective capacity in the same physical floor space. What does that mean from an end user perspective? A, you can consolidate even more arrays into our single platform, which takes a single floor tile. You save on watts, you save on slots, you save on cooling, you save on operational manpower. And if you’re consolidating other arrays, you can save on the initial CapEx and OpEx expensive of an all-flash array. In short, when you need to go recycle at the end of the cycle when they need to buy, let’s say for example, our fourth generation all-flash in four or five years from now, they’ll recycle less. In fact, real world example, with our current all-flash, we have a customer who is using a competitive all-flash arrays, 450 floor tiles at this Fortune 100 account. Now they have 50. Think about how easier that is to manage, think how more environmentally friendly it is, how much less power, how much less cooling, how much day-to-day management.

And by the way, we’re known as you know well, Randy, because you’ve been briefed and done some other videos with us before, on our autonomous automation, our set it and forget it, we have a number of public references who talked about having an InfiniBox or InfiniBox SSA or our InfiniGuard purpose-built back compliance and haven’t touched the array in two to three years. It just runs and runs and runs. If you will, like the Energizer Bunny commercial where it just keeps running and running, that’s what we do. We are making sure that we not only provide the performance for the workloads, which by the way is guaranteed, we guarantee 100% availability. Out of our InfiniSafe cyber resilience and recovery technology, we guarantee not only the immutability of a snapshot, which is important for cyber resilience, we also guarantee recovery time in one minute or less. No kidding. That’s all coming in all of our platforms, the InfiniBox and the InfiniBox SSA II. Now we have this larger capacity. By the way, we did keep the smaller capacity of the 3.3 petabytes, so you don’t have to buy 6.6 if you don’t want to. You can buy the smaller units, still available.

Randy Kerns: From my perspective of being an analyst and technology and certainly being involved in product development for way too long, the fact that you were able to take the next technology of solid state at a larger capacity and do it and not have to make any fundamental design changes says that your initial architecture and design was done correctly so that you can accommodate the technology investment from other companies and take advantage of it.

Eric Herzog: Well, it allows us to ride the curve and ride the wave. I’m a native Californian, you don’t fight the wave as they say when you surf, you ride it. And because the real magic of what we do at Infinidat is about our software, our InfuzeOS operating system, InfiniSafe, and all the subcategories that are part of that InfuzeOS. What we do with our new InfuzeOS Cloud Edition seamless movement back and forth between AWS and on-premise storage. It’s our software we use off-the-shelf components. We don’t do custom ASICs, we don’t do custom flash. We use the flash from the vendor, hard drives from vendors. In fact, you’ll laugh, we don’t even do customer array controllers. Inside of our InfiniBox and our InfiniBox SSA, our InfiniGuard, our off-the-shelf servers we qualify and they run our operating system. Not even a standalone array controller. And everybody else, as you know, Randy, me having worked at two of them, you also have worked at other storage companies. Everyone creates an array controller, which essentially is just a server that is in a different form factor from a server motherboard. We said, “We don’t need to do that. Let’s just buy servers.” So we buy servers from one of the leading server vendors in the world and run our software on it. That allows us to ride the curve.

Randy Kerns: Makes perfect sense. It also allows you to bring those economics gains from doing that to the customers rather than custom designs, custom testing, all the other environments. Okay. Let’s move on. There’s one other thing I thought was very interesting in your major announcement here was the fact that you being able to effectively bring in a smaller product, smaller capacity system to customers and get a lower entry price for those customers. Some that maybe didn’t want to buy the size of product you have now have an opportunity to get in there a little less expensively. Can you talk about that for a second?

Eric Herzog: Sure. What we did in the all-flash family, so both the 3.3 petabyte and the 6.6 petabyte, we have introduced two additional configurations. Historically, when you bought from us, the array was fully populated, every slot was filled with flash in the all-flash version. Now what we’ve done, if we’ve created a scale up architecture. You can still buy the 100% populated if you need it, or you could buy an 80% populated or you can buy a 60% populated. What that does is lower the entry point when you need more storage. If Futurum buys our 6.6 petabyte max capacity and you choose to buy 60%`. We deliver it to you, you install it, it runs on its own. A year from now, you call me up and say, “Zaginstore, we need more storage.” Say, “Great.” We will send you 20% more. We’ll take you from 60 to 80. It’s a non-disruptive upgrade. You just mount it right in. You could do it while the applications and workloads are running on the system. Again, we’re high-end enterprise.

As you know from what we’ve announced publicly before, we sell to over 25% of the Fortune 50 in the world buy from us. Even though we’re not $100 billion company like some of our competitors are, we’ve got the right technology for the enterprise. One of those parameters is non-disruptive upgrades. When you use the scale-up technology and go from 60 to 80, non-disruptive. Then two years from now you call me up again and say, “Zaginstore, I need to get the full boat. I need to get fully populated.” We send you another 20%, you rack it non-disruptively, you just mount it right in. And now you’ve gone from 60 to 80 to 100, but you’ve also spread that cost out. You had a lower cost of entry. Then a year later you bought 20% more capacity and then year two, 20% again. And if you don’t ever buy any, then you don’t buy any. It allows you to have multiple configurations, all seamless, easy to upgrade, but you spread out the payments. And it’s not like a lease. You don’t have to buy. If you don’t need any more capacity, you don’t buy it.

Randy Kerns: Now, you have a lot of guarantees. Do those guarantees apply as you continue to increase? Everything stays the same?

Eric Herzog: Yes. We have four major guarantees. First of all, performance. Secondly is 100% availability. And then our cyber storage, resilience and recovery has two aspects to it. One, the immutability of the snapshots and two, the recovery time. And the recovery time on the InfiniBox and the InfiniBox all-flash SSA is under a minute. In fact, you might’ve heard this, I think I mentioned this to you when I saw you at the Flash Memory Summit. Right before the Flash Memory Summit. I had done an end user demand gen webinar. And we recovered on primary storage 175,000 high resolution video files, approximately 200 terabytes in four seconds. And anybody listening can go see that video right on our website now, we did it live. We also by the way, offer the same guarantee on the backup side. We have our purpose-built backup appliance, the InfiniGuard, it works with all the major backup vendors, Veritas, Veeam, Commvault, IBM Protect, you name it, we work with it. We recovered in 11 minutes and 55 seconds. It’s a good thing you’re sitting down, Randy, because you won’t believe this. 20 petabytes of a Veeam backup repository, not 20 gig, not 20 ter, 20 petabytes in 11 minutes and 55 seconds. That also is guaranteed. The guarantee, so when you buy any of the configurations of the InfiniBox, our hybrid array or any of the configurations of the InfiniBox SSA, including the 60% and the 80% populated, you can have all those guarantees. We put them in writing. There are financial penalties if we don’t deliver. Thank God we’ve never paid a dime. Again, high-end enterprise is how we designed our technology. Again, when you’re selling to 25% of the Fortune 50, you’ve got the right kind.

And of course, as you know, most of our customers are in the global Fortune 1000 probably. We have a few small customers and niches and we do very, very well. And you and I discussed this at one of the other trade shows with the cloud service provider space. Now we don’t sell to Amazon or Microsoft or Google or IBM Cloud, the top four in revenue. But all the mid-size and small cloud providers, we provide that rock solid foundation with the InfiniBox or the InfiniBox SSA or the InfiniGuard for their backup as a service, storage as a service, infrastructure as service or a platform as service. And in fact, our all-flash array, which we just made all these announcements about the larger capacity. And of course now this scale up partially populated, in the last two years at the Flash Memory Summit both times was named the best all-flash array for hyperscaler deployments. And a hyperscaler essentially is a giant cloud provider. For cloud providers, MSPs, MHPs, really great solutions. That’s the one exception where they may not be as big, but outside of that finance, healthcare, government agencies, that kind of stuff, or essentially Fortune 1000 type accounts that leverage our technology.

Randy Kerns: With the scale up, you’ve got the same guarantees, all the same functionalities, running the same software, there’s no difference. It’s pretty simple. It’s really an economic play.

Eric Herzog: Yeah, it is a totally an economic play. It allows customers to spread out the payments. They know they’re going to need something. They know they’re going to need more capacity. I mean remember what we both remember when a big hard drive was 10 megabytes.

Randy Kerns: Of course.

Eric Herzog: And in these days it’s nothing.

Randy Kerns: Yep. Yeah, it seems insignificant. Yep.

Eric Herzog: Yeah. The bottom line is everyone always needs more capacity, but maybe you don’t need it right up front. You need it six months or a year. Guess what? You buy it then. It gives more of that flexibility and you get all the same software. As you know, Adobe, great company in the software space. Acrobat Reader, Acrobat and Acrobat Pro. One’s for free. One I think is $99, 199. Same thing. With us, when you buy the InfiniBox and the InfiniBox SSA, you get all the software. We don’t say, “Oh, you bought the 60% config. Okay, we’re going to take away 40% of your software.” Nope, doesn’t work like that. It’s a smaller config. But every value with the award-winning InfiniSafe and the award-winning InfiniOps, all of that software comes on it, whether it’s the fully populated version, the 80% or the 60%. Really it’s all about giving payment flexibility and having them buy when they need it. You buy the storage when you need it. And that’s what these new configurations, leveraging scale up technology, that is again, a non-disruptive upgrade allow enterprises to do.

Randy Kerns: All right. It all makes sense. Well, hopefully it’s given people a little perspective. And certainly, we’ve been impressed with all the capabilities you just announced, so very important. Thanks a lot, Eric. Thanks for the explanations.

Eric Herzog: Great. Thank you, Randy. And again, love working with The Futurum Group. You guys do a great job, not only working with vendors like us, but really educating end users, which is really what it’s all about.

Randy Kerns: Well, thanks Eric. This has been very informative. Like we said, this is a very important announcement. And we’ve been impressed with what we’ve heard and thanks a lot for the explanation.

Eric Herzog: Well, thank you very much, Randy. We love working with The Futurum Group. And you guys do a great service, not only with vendors such as Infinidat, but more importantly when the channel and the end users listen to you, they’re listening to the straight story. And that’s what both the channel partners need to hear and the end user need to hear, what does the technology and how does it benefit their business.

Author Information

Randy draws from over 35 years of experience in helping storage companies design and develop products. As a partner at Evaluator Group and now The Futurum Group, he spends much of his time advising IT end-user clients on architectures and acquisitions.

Previously, Randy was Vice President of Storage and Planning at Sun Microsystems. He also developed disk and tape systems for the mainframe attachment at IBM, StorageTek, and two startup companies. Randy also designed disk systems at Fujitsu and Tandem Computers.

Prior to joining The Futurum Group, Randy served as the CTO for ProStor, where he brought products to market addressing a long-term archive for Information Technology and the Healthcare and Media/Entertainment markets.

He has also written numerous industry articles and papers as an educator and presenter, and he is the author of two books: Planning a Storage Strategy and Information Archiving – Economics and Compliance. The latter is the first book of its kind to explore information archiving in depth. Randy regularly teaches classes on Information Management technologies in the U.S. and Europe.


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