Tintri sends message to market with first product release since being acquired by DDN

In addition to their Tintri Global Center 4.0 release, Tintri by DDN announces new staff and resource additions, as they continue their rebuild from the collapse that preceded their being purchased by DDN in September.

Tintri by DDN has announced the general availability of their Tintri Global Center [TGC] 4.0 release. The new version of their management software comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of a new version [] of the Tintri OS. The new TGC release makes some significant enhancements to capabilities in a multi-VMstore environment. As the first release since Tintri’s acquisition with DDN closed in September, it is also intended to send an important message to the market.

“The new TGC release’s importance goes beyond features,” said Tomer Hagay, Senior Director of Product Management at Tintri by DDN. “We still have to work on the survivability thing with some customers. DDN is a significant player, but they have been focused on a specialized area in High Performance Computing [HPC] and some of our customers have never heard of them. We have a joint road map now with DDN, and that’s a big step. Customers are looking on that as a good sign of life.”

The feature enhancements are significant, however.  Tintri’s technology sweet spot has always been its VM-aware storage aimed at virtual environments. TGC 4.0 extends the ability to optimize VM performance within a pool of Tintri arrays.

“A big item here is the new feature capability that allows us to orchestrate VMs between two separate storage arrays with very limited load on the host,” Hagay said. “The challenge when migrating a VM from one array to another is that the host has to read all the data. We can now offload that, allowing migrations of VMs from one Tintri array to another, with almost no impact on the host, storage of network. We can do this while also maintaining policies around snapshots. That’s unique to us.”

These migrations can also be completed by an average of 10x faster than traditional Tintri Storage vMotion offload operations.

“Customers really get this,” Hagay said. “There is a lot of excitement about it.

“The release also provides better algorithms for VM scale-out to make VM placement more accurate,” he added.

Hagay said that TGC 4.0 is also important as a clear path in the direction that the product is going.

Tomer Hagay, Senior Director of Product Management at Tintri by DDN

“The longer-term evolution of the product relates to what we are building with the GUI on the Tintri stack,” he indicated. “This is Project OneUI – a single interface management console to manage all the actions of the infrastructure. We built out the foundation in the previous release. This one makes significant UI additions, and it’s about 80 per cent there. The next release of Tintri Global Centre will bring us to 100 per cent.”

Much of the Tintri organizational structure – personnel like field technical engineering, quality assurance and technical customer service team – left the company during its collapse earlier this year, which culminated in their filing for bankruptcy in July, only hours before DDN announced it would acquire them. In the last 90 days, Tintri by DDN has been aggressively hiring, and has 94 out of the 100 new employees it has targeted to hire by the end of 2018.

“It’s a replenishing of the organization, but it is still far reduced from where Tintri was at its peak,” said Kurt Kuchein, DDN’s Senior Director of Marketing. “At one point they had more than 500 employees and today there are about 100 in the Tintri organization.” Hagay is one of the relatively few holdovers.

They also announced the activation and stocking of more than 98 percent of the planned 122 Tintri by DDN service depots worldwide.

“There we are getting back closer to the levels that were there before,” Kuchein said.

Kuchein indicated that the reorganized Tintri is making some changes to the strategy that it had previously. One thing that won’t change though is the focus on all-flash. Part of the reason for Tintri’s downfall was that it had an excellent hybrid flash product, and when it followed the trend to all-flash, it undercut some of the advantages it had enjoyed previously. Still, the company believes that market demand today requires all-flash, and that’s what Tintri by DDN will emphasize.

“For us the focus is all flash,” Hagay said. “Even before DDN acquired us, the all-flash business had exceeded hybrid. The value that we provide started with really solid hybrid arrays, but there’s a whole stack of capabilities around all-flash.”

The major change in focus will involve Tintri by DDN’s target market. Legacy Tintri’s sweet spot was in the midmarket. DDN, with its focus on HPC, is much more of an enterprise player. While Tintri will still sell primarily into the midmarket, the plan is also to leverage DDN’s strength in the enterprise to drive deeper there as well.

“We do not intend to transform the business that Tintri was going after,” Kuchein said. “The midmarket continues to be the sweet spot for the product. However, DDN’s focus has been on big whales, and we will now bring a little more emphasis on serving larger customers. That is something that we have proactively been doing in the last 90 days, targeting those large accounts with virtualization opportunities. There won’t be any wholesale changes, however.”

The company will be putting a focus on rebuilding its channel in 2019.

“It’s really hard for us to say what our channel looks like at this point,” Kuchein acknowledged. “The focus in the first 90 days has been in the care and feeding of existing customers. We didn’t do anything in terms of the channel. We believed that the quickest route to getting healthy was focusing on large customers where we could leverage our DDN sales force. That was a short-term plan. We didn’t cut any partners, so all existing reseller agreements are in place, although it’s not clear how many have remained active. In the first half of 2019, we will shift focus from getting existing customers up to speed to filling out the channel.”

Kuchein cited Europe as somewhere where Tintri by DDN can do a lot better in the past.

“We are already seeing signs of a channel revival there,” Hagay added. “We have several deals from Europe coming in, and two net-new logos.”

The belief is that now that Tintri has stable ownership which will help it reach the scalability it could never achieve to achieve success on its own, the benefits of the technology will now be allowed to shine.

“Customers told us at VMworld this year that they still couldn’t get anything that was close to what we had with Tintri,” Hagay said.