Pivot3 targets ROBO and mid-sized companies with 1U version of Acuity HCI

The Pivot3 X3 series is half the size of the original X5 series, and has its core features – NVMe flash architecture and QoS capability that enables priority-aware provisioning.

Hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] vendor Pivot3 has announced a smaller version of their new flagship Acuity HCI offering, which they first introduced early last year. The new 1U X3 Series is designed for smaller use cases than the original 2U X5 family – ROBO [remote office/branch office], larger SMBs, edge computing, and departmental deployments within enterprises.

“A year ago, when we introduced Acuity, we brought customers something differentiated in HCI – NVMe flash managed by Quality of Service [QoS] controls which allow customers to support multiple mixed application workloads,” said Mike Koponen, Pivot3’s senior director of product and solutions marketing. “Now in addition to having something that is differentiated in HCI, channel partners have a smaller footprint version that may match a mid-market price point, or those of enterprises looking to put 25 appliances in remote offices. It just gives the customer more choice.”

Like the HCI industry as a whole, Pivot3 started in the mid-market and SMB, with their original business doing particularly well in the video surveillance market. The introduction of Acuity was designed to give Pivot3 a strong enterprise offering.

“It is getting us into more enterprise deals, although it is not a clear enterprise-only play,” Koponen said. “In Q3 and Q4 of last year, we closed more multi-million dollar deals than we had in the company’s history. The breakthrough around NVMe and the QoS engine have taken us into higher- end enterprise opportunities because with Acuity, they can put more workloads on a HCI system. At the same time, there is still a mix. We are also continuing to see interest from mid-sized companies – not the S in the SMB but beyond that. They want to consolidate as well, so they need to run multiple application workloads on the HCI. The policy-based QoS appeals to them, and so does the amount of flash in the nodes.”

Koponen said that while Pivot3’s video surveillance business, driven by legacy Pivot3 products, has continued to do well, particularly with the growth of safe and smart city initiatives, they are also having a cross-over effect between the two markets.

“Surveillance companies bring us into their data centre, and in data centre deployments, we are getting into the security part of the company,” he stated. “It’s a crossover effect between companies modernizing for video surveillance as well as modernizing the data centre.”

Broadening out the data centre offering with a 1U version of the X5 was always part of the plan.

“It was something we had planned because in the previous vSTAC version of our products, we had had both 1U and 2U versions,” Koponen said. “So we knew there was always a space for the smaller version. This was validated by talking to channel partners, who told us that this would especially be the case if we could integrate NVMe flash and have the same software services as the 2U version.”

The Acuity X3 Series provides the same core features as the X5 Series – the NVMe flash and the QoS capabilities, in the smaller form factor to save both space and energy.

“The pricing is about 45 per cent of the 2U X5, as Fast Pack promotion bundles around the X3 make it attractive from a price point,” Koponen said. “It costs less than $20k a node, and you still get the NVMe and QoS advantages.”

There are some tradeoffs because of the smaller size.

“The size of the box does limit the amount of NVMe flash we can put in.” Koponen indicated. “While there is 3 TB in the 2U box, the 1U only has 1 TB of NVMe. It’s still a sufficient ratio to the amount of HDD or SSD to do what’s needed from a performance standpoint. The 1U doesn’t support the NVIDIA Tesla GPU like the 2U, and in addition, its hard drive capacity isn’t as high.”

The Acuity X3 Series is available now.