iXsystems enables open hybrid cloud management for partners with TrueCommand Cloud management platform

TrueCommand, which is a key element in iXystems’ hybrid cloud strategy, will be supported by the iXsystems Partner Program.

TrueCommand Cloud

Today, open source storage vendor iXsystems is expanding their TrueNAS open storage portfolio with the addition of the TrueCommand Cloud cloud-based management platform service.

In business since 1991, iXsystems’ differentiation has always been its open source economics. They began with FreeBSD, and added Linux with OpenZFS 2.0. Their FreeNAS open source project had over a million deployments when, last August, they merged TrueNAS with their flagship TrueNAS brand at the same time they announced TrueNAS 12.0 OS, in order to provide a single code base and a more efficient road map. Two months ago, they announced their TrueNAS SCALE Open Source HyperConverged Infrastructure [HCI] software, which is currently in beta, together with a new R-series appliance to run it.

“Now we are announcing TrueCommand Cloud, our service offering for TrueCommand management,” said Brett Davis, EVP Sales and Marketing at iXsystems. “It offers a Cisco Meraki-like experience for customers and MSPs, where they can manage instances from the cloud and spin them up easily. It also lets VAR partners attach services, and is effectively a gateway for VAR partners who aren’t already MSPs.”

TrueCommand Cloud is also the management platform for hybrid cloud deployments. This includes the AWS, Azure and VMware cloud instances, and cloud storage services like S3, Backblaze, Azure, and many others.

“These enhancements to TrueCommand enable some hybrid cloud functionality,” Davis noted. “As of 2016, we started our foray into cloud, syncing backup and DR into cloud with an S3 API set. Then in 2019 we enabled NAS virtual instances in the cloud. In 2021, TrueNAS Scale with its HCI and scale out will be out of beta and enabled in the product, which is the next phase of our hybrid strategy. That will open the door to a broader hybrid cloud story that we can offer our customers. It enables Docker and Kubernetes on our platforms and opens the gate for more cloud-based infrastructure.”

TrueCommand Cloud uses an integrated VPN capability to provide its SaaS service. It offers multi-system management from a single Web console.

“Today it’s hosted as a VM or container, but will also host in our own cloud,” Davis said. “It has all the unified management features you expect, including cluster management and role-based access control with Active Directory integration, but it is specifically designed to manage ZFS. It understands pools, VDEVs and caching, for intelligent management of ZFS systems.”

At the same time, Davis indicated that iXsystems is not following the same path as the big storage vendors of making SaaS and cloud the top priority.

“With this, our focus is on the hybrid cloud,” he stated. “We are not following the model of rushing to cloud first. We are letting them fight that out. Cloud IS a part of our strategy, but it is a broader hybrid story.”

TrueCommand Cloud is available now, and can be activated through a self-service portal. Subscriptions start at $10 per month for managing up to 50 drives. The TrueCommand software can also be deployed as Docker instances or VMs, and in that form is free for less than 50 drives.

TrueCommand Cloud is now also supported by the iXsystems Partner Program.

iXsystems has about 200 channel partners globally.

“It’s a channel first model,” Davis said. “What makes us unique is that we actually bring leads. Our Go-to-Market strategy that promotes TrueNAS Core through the community brings in about 4000 leads a year. We nurture them to the 90-yard line and then bring in a partner. We work it jointly, so not only is it a new lead, but a new logo, and a chip-in. That’s interesting and unique for a lot of our partners. If the partner brings in the lead, they get twice the margin in that scenario.”

75% of the partners are in North America, but iXsystems will be placing more emphasis next year on strengthening the channel in other areas. The EU is presently 15% of the partner base, while APAC is 6& and South America and Africa 2% each.

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