NVMe pioneer E8 Storage expands into Canada with CognoSystems reseller agreement

Julie Herd, E8’s director of technical marketing

NVMe focused E8 Storage, which brings a unique and patented architecture to leverage the full potential of the emerging NVMe SSD protocol space, has made its first plunge into the Canadian market. They have signed on CognoSystems as their first Canadian channel partner, and are looking to them to develop their initial presence in Canada, as well as develop E8’s presence in more differentiated use cases.

CognoSystems, based in Stoney Creek ON – a suburb of Hamilton – does most of their business in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, that extended sprawl of the metropolitan Toronto area and its adjacent suburbs and towns. CognoSystems’ website identifies them as specialists in Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service and cloud. Their website could probably do with a little updating however, because CognoSystems is one of those solution providers who focus on emerging vendors and being able to offer customers differentiated solutions that VARs with durable relationships with the large IT OEMs cannot. All seven of the vendor partners listed on their site fall into this category. Some like Nutanix, Rubrik and Zerto, have had both the attention and growth to become fairly well-known market presences. The others  – all startups – are SD-WAN provider Cato Networks, cybersecurity vendor GuardiCore and instant data recovery specialist Reduxio, as well as E8.

“The customer who led to our partnership is outside of their stated focus,” said Julie Herd, E8’s director of technical marketing. It’s a High Performance Computing opportunity. They are putting us behind a supercomputing cluster.”

The differentiated architecture that E8 brings to the table – and which CognoSystems said was what caught their attention – is its ability to transcend the limitations of dual controller architectures in processing flash. E8’s infrastructure has multiple connections that allow it to support 128 hosts. all accessing the drive in parallel, and allowing the processing of over 64,000 queues rather than 128. E8 separates the data path from the control path, and puts a very thin agent accessing the storage controller in order to take controllers out of the data path and stop them from being the bottleneck. It also allows E8 to scale out performance further by scaling out server performance as well.

“The larger OEMs have begun to bring their NVMe solutions to market, which is good for us, because it validates that NVMe is achieving momentum in the market,” Herd said. “We were the pioneers here, and when I joined E8 in January 2017, we figured we had roughly 12-18 months before the big dogs got in with product. However, they are just adding the NVMe protocol onto their existing architectures, so they aren’t getting the performance that they could with a fully redesigned system like ours. IBM’s new system gets 25 per cent of our performance because it’s based on the same old architecture. You need a different architecture to get full performance.”

Herd said that E8’s NVMe-over-Fabric architecture has been certified by the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory, which runs a third party collaborative test program that is the recognized standard for NVMe validation.

“We have also recently closed a couple major deals, including a referenceable one for EBI, a European genomics institute, as well as a repeat order for a major financial customer,” she indicated.

Canada has previously been on E8’s radar, but until they got on CognoSystems’ radar, they had no customers in Canada, and nothing in the pipeline.

“Their customer wanted HPC, and that led them to engage with our sales team,” Herd said. “They proposed us as the high performance storage solution for what the customer wanted.”

Herd said that the plan is to use CognoSystems’ innovative solutions practice to expand E8’s business solidly into Canada.

“We expect that we will continue to do things with them outside of what is their stated core market,” she indicated.

“For now, they are our go-to partner in Canada, and we would use them to close deals with other prospects we acquire,” Herd added. “We are interested in recruiting more Canadian partners however, especially in western Canada.”