Atlantis unveils two node hyperconverged appliance for ROBO market

Atlantis also announced a new relationship with Dell, the only major OEM for whom its software was not customized when the first Atlantis hyperconverged products were announced last year.

Seth Knox_Atlantis

Seth Knox, VP of Product Marketing at Atlantis

Software-defined storage vendor Atlantis Computing entered the hyperconverged market last May, adapting its technology into an all-flash hyperconverged appliance. Today it is expanding that line, with a less expensive two node offering aimed primarily at the ROBO (remote office/branch office) market. In a related announcement, Atlantis also indicated all its models, not just the new ones, will now be available through Dell on the Dell PowerEdge FX2 server platform.

Atlantis’ software-defined storage was traditionally used in the VDI market. In 2014, they introduced a next-generation product, Atlantis ILIO – USX, which had the capacity to handle Big Data and cloud workloads. Partner feedback indicated that it was too complex for anything other than large enterprise customers, and downmarket deals were being lost to hyperconverged vendors. As a result, Atlantis adapted the USX technology to enter the hyperconverged market, but in a form factor that was much simpler to use. The first two offerings, the CX-12 and the CX-24, with 12 TB and 24 TB of storage respectively, were aimed at smaller enterprises, down to about the 500 employee level. Atlantis says they have sold well since they were introduced.

The new model, the CX-4, has 4 TB of effective storage capacity and 48 compute cores.

“The CX-4’s capabilities are the same as the larger models as far as data services go,” said Seth Knox, VP of Product Marketing at Atlantis. “The difference is the number of nodes of compute, and the amount of storage you have with each model.”

Knox said that the competitive dynamics of the market made a two node offering essential.

“Having the two node offering is the key requirement there,” he said. “Nutanix has a minimum of three nodes, but SimpliVity has a two node, and we thought it was important to have this to compete effectively.” The cost drops significantly to an entry price of $USD 43,000, whereas before it was around $85,000. Given that Atlantis sells for less than its principal competition in the space, they believe that this presents a viable price/performance option for the ROBO market.

“The smaller storage isn’t an issue because for ROBO locations, most customers don’t need much storage,” Knox said.

Knox indicated that while some of their early customers like large banks who already have larger Atlantis appliances in place are looking at the CX-4 for ROBO, they also have even more smaller customers who had not bought Atlantis before now, but see the ROBO capabilities as applicable to their businesses.

“These net-new ROBO customers include retail, banking, architect firms and law firms,” he said.

Atlantis HyperScale Box Shot

Atlantis Computing’s CX-4

The Dell announcement is particularly intriguing because one of Atlantis’ strengths is the versatility of its software, which allows its channel partners to use their software on the particular server vendors they work with. The initial models were optimized for server hardware from four vendors — Cisco, HP, Lenovo and SuperMicro. Dell was not included at this time.

“Dell had so many hyperconverged offerings, and we were launching this for the first time, and it was unsure if there would be room on the Dell platform,” Knox said. “However, immediately after the launch customers and partners both asked us if we could have it on Dell. When Dell also approached us, the combination led to this.”

Knox indicated that the new Dell relationship isn’t simply a question of bringing that relationship up to the same level as with the other four OEMs.

“What’s different about the Dell model is that it’s based on Dell’s FX2 platform with its integrated networking and switching capabilities. Their EVO:Rail and Nutanix offerings do not have this integrated 10 GB switching.”

With the move into the hyperconverged space, Atlantis made changes to its distribution to add more partners and support them more effectively.

“We’ve streamlined quite a lot of the supply chain and added distribution capabilities to open it up to more partners,” Knox said. “Before, Ingram was our only distributor in the U.S., but we have added Avnet, Arrow and SYNNEX, and are using SuperMicro for factory integration. The result is that our expanded number of channel partners don’t have to do integration work. It all happens at the distributor.”

Knox also indicated Atlantis is doing well in the Canadian market.

“We have a team in Toronto with a full office,” he said. “We have had Canadian customers for a long time, since back when we were just doing VDI, We also have four Gold partners there. We’ve seen a lot of demand in Canada for hyperconvergence. Canada has a lot of high-latency remote locations where this will work well, like in oil and gas, retail, and banking.”