HPE, Datera partner on ‘ScaleIO-killer’ solution

Datera, which now has EMC veteran Guy Churchward at the helm, will also join the HPE Complete program, with a strategy that remains vendor-agnostic, but which for the moment has a strong leaning towards HPE.

High-flying data services platform startup Datera, which makes a scale-out software driven offering for high-performance applications, has announced a partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise As of February 4, Datera will also join the HPE Complete program, which validates designs of their strategic vendor partner designs and takes them to market with a joint solution that uses a single HPE purchase order through both their channel and direct sales teams. The joint solution will provide the high performance of flash storage arrays on a software-driven platform, at a much lower cost than competing offerings.

Datera was founded in 2013, received $40 million in Series A Funding in 2016, and had their software-based data services platform reach General Availability in February 2017. It is designed for the high-performance scale out storage needs of Global 2000 companies who want to consolidate existing storage arrays, power existing virtual machine-based applications, and adopt cloud-native technologies like containers with Kubernetes orchestration.

Marc Fleischmann, Datera’s Founder and President

“What makes this so enterprise-ready is that it has a full set of data services around software-defined, and the enterprise performance,” said Marc Fleischmann, Datera’s Founder and President. “It really shines in orchestration and automation. The number one travel ecommerce vendor reached out to us. We do their most critical latency workloads. A large eDiscovery service uses us to consolidate four Dell EMC product lines.” That’s a common use case, Fleischmann said, customers replacing multiple Dell EMC product lines.

EMC storage veteran Guy Churchward joined the Datera board eight months ago, and was elevated to the CEO role last month, with original CEO Fleischmann moving to the President position.

“When I joined the board, Datera had a first-rate product, but needed a better route to customers,” Churchward said. “The industry has been looking for a model that lets you scale without losing performance. Datera reimagined what the world would be like and the type of infrastructure that would be needed to get around. ‘Good enough’ isn’t good enough any more in Tier One. We understand this and the channel understands this. So we have started working closely together with HPE to drive a relationship and are now announcing a strategic partnership around HPE Complete. The target is Dell EMC’s ScaleIO [now rebranded as VxFlex OS].”

Marty Lans. Head of the HPE Complete program

“This is the latest of our endeavours, but it is different than some of our others historically,” said Marty Lans, General Manager of Storage Connectivity Engineering and Global Interoperability at HPE, and also the head of the HPE Complete Program. “Traditionally with the HPE Complete program, we train people on the new solution, and where it fits, and then go looking for action with customers. What’s unique about this is that the relationship was driven by what is happening in the field. It is purely customer driven. We are doing more Proof-of-Concepts together already than I have fingers and toes [21 to be precise]. We expect to have customers together for this this on Day One.”

Lans said that the technology is also particularly attractive to HPE.

“It provides the same features of a primary storage array in a software-defined format,” he indicated. “Because it is so close to primary storage, it provides a transition for 3PAR and Nimble customers who want its capabilities.”

HPE has other scale-out software-defined storage partners in the HPE Complete program but Lans said that Datera provides a very specific use case.

“We see it as a ScaleIO-killer,” he stressed. “We think that Dell EMC made a major error in only having ScaleIO on the Dell platform.”

Datera, being a software-defined vendor, is able to partner easily with platform vendors, and they have done so, but Churchward stressed that the HPE relationship becomes a top priority one.

“We run with Dell, Cisco, and Samsung, which is an investor, but from a Go-to-Market partnership position, HPE will definitely be in the Platinum Plus Category,” he stated, “Me moving from the Board to the CEO position was based on this relationship coming down the pike, because it is so important for us to service this company.”

Still, Churchward stressed that the HPE relationship won’t be Datera’s sole focus.

“I will be leaning very heavily on this relationship, but it is not exclusive,” he said. “Clients will choose the platforms they want. That’s why it was a failing of Dell to take ScaleIO internally to drive a closed server loop. So we will focus very heavily on HPE, but we will remain vendor neutral and if other vendors want similar relationships, we will look at that. If Dell was to come to me and say that ScaleIO is a load of old rubbish and we want to resell you, we would look at that.”