Arrow to bring Permabit’s data efficiency appliance to IBM storage partners

Permabit’s deal with Arrow to bring its data efficiency appliance designed to let the older OEMs compete with the new hyperscale vendors makes IBM the third vendor to bring this technology on board, following EMC and NetApp last fall.

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Permabit’s SANblox data efficiency appliance

Cambridge MA-based Permabit has signed an agreement with longtime IBM distributor Arrow Electronics to distribute its SANblox data efficiency appliance combined with IBM storage technology.

Permabit has been in business since 2009, and has not been well known to solution providers because their business was developing and licensing high performance inline deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning software which was OEM’d rather than sold under their own brand. Last October, they announced their entry into the hardware space with the Albireo SANblox, which put their software into an appliance form factor appliance for Fibre Channel primary storage, delivered as a pair of 1U units configured for high availability. It works across a broad range of applications, including mixed virtual server, Big Data, VDI and database environments

What made this announcement intriguing at the time was the acknowledged origin of the product, Permabit’s OEM customers specifically asked them to adapt their technology into a form that they could use to add high performance dedupe and decompression to their own products, to improve their competitive position against newer hyperscale vendors like Nimble, Nutanix, Pure Storage, Tegile and Tintri.

“The competitive environment forces these legacy vendors to deal with these newer vendors with data efficiency techniques in their offerings,” said Wayne Salpietro, Permabit’s Director of Marketing. “SANblox levels that gap, and lets them compete on other aspects of their product.”

Salpietro described SANblox’s economics as compelling. It lets customers increase their SANs’ effective capacity by 6X, increase performance by up to 400 per cent and drop effective cost by up to 85 per cent.

“This is a good fit in the mid to upper end of the SAN market,” he said. “There is a price point at the lower end where having an appliance in front of a piece of storage isn’t conducive, but many companies do see the value in this type of a device. The base Albireo technology used in this is mature, being employed previously in nearly 10,000 units, and we don’t get a lot of calls about issues.”

Initial deployments of SANblox started in October and November, with EMC partnering with Permabit and being the first vendor to take the product. Permabit joined the EMC Select Program, and EMC began to sell SANblox through both its direct and reseller sales forces. A similar agreement with NetApp followed in early December. Permabit announced membership in the NetApp Alliance Partner Program, and Permabit and NetApp agreed to collaborate to deliver SANblox with NetApp E-Series storage systems. Both the EMC and NetApp relationships also saw Permabit’s brand appear on their products as well. Feedback from these two deals has been very good, Salpietro said.

Like these earlier deals, the one with IBM through Arrow will also see Permabit’s name on the bezel. It will be targeted at IBM’s higher performing tiers of storage such as the IBM FlashSystem 900 and FlashSystem V9000.

Salpietro indicated that their product may eventually be available to IBM resellers through other distributors as well.

“IBM uses multiple distributors,” he said. “Arrow is one of IBM’s priority distributors and the only one we are using at this time. We have had other discussions with distributors, however.”

Salpietro also indicated that other storage vendors may also be using SANBlox, although it would most likely be OEM’d in those cases.

“Some others are interested in it rebranded under their own name,” he said. “The branding issue cuts two ways. On the one hand, it’s nice to get our name out there and see our work publicly recognized. But we serve a client base that has different interests, and some want to brand it another way. Ultimately their preference is our preference. We are in business to make money.”