Pivot3 Launch of Acuity Takes Hyperconverged Infrastructure to New Level

Acuity's purpose in life is to simplify workload management, using the company's fifth-generation policy-based management engine and comprehensive data services.


There are good reasons why Austin-based Pivot3, which specializes in hyperconverged IT infrastructure hardware and software, saw its revenue grow 84 percent year-over-year in 2016. Those reasons are probably these: 1) The market itself is exploding, and 2) Pivot3 must be doing something right.

The latest news in this sector is about the April 25 release of Pivot3's Acuity, which the company calls the first "priority-aware" HCI software platform that enables IT to consolidate multiple mixed-application workloads onto a single, high-performance infrastructure.

Acuity's purpose in life is to simplify workload management, using the company's fifth-generation policy-based management engine and comprehensive data services. As a priority-aware software platform, Acuity intelligently and automatically applies resources to mission-critical applications for guaranteed performance and predictable results.

Hyperconverged Systems Getting Traction

The hyperconverged systems market, which is led by Dell EMC, is distinct from the converged market. Hyperconverged refers to platform offerings that share computing and storage resources, based on software-defined storage, software-defined compute, commodity hardware and a unified management interface. Hyperconverged systems deliver their main value through software tools, commoditizing the underlying hardware.

For the full year 2016, the hyperconverged system market surpassed $2.2 billion in global revenue, up 110 percent compared to 2015.

"I think hyperconverged is in a 'crossing-the-chasm' situation right now," CEO Ron Nash told eWEEK. "Look at the market, at all our competitors, then go back to 2015. Everybody who bought it did so to run one application. They bought one machine to run a virtual desktop environment for 2,000 employees, for example. Or they bought a backup or video surveillance machine, sold as a solution.

"Once they bought the hyperconverged system for one purpose, they started to run other things on it. They saw that it stayed up, did not lose data, was easy to operate and was less expensive tha buying tradional legacy gear. So they thought, 'Maybe I can run my Exchange server on this,' or 'Let me see if I can run this database on this.' "

'Buy' Pattern was Always There

That pattern was always there, Nash said, but until last year, the first buy pattern was always 'one application and something to run it.'"

"That was at least 95 percent of our revenue. I think it was the same for everybody else (in the market)," Nash said. "Last year, 33 percent of our revenue came from people buying their first hyperconverged system, and from the get-go they were going to run multiple applications on it. So now suddenly, they're buying it as a platform. I think that's a big inflection point."

Pivot3's Acuity, which is VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter-compaible, is the result of a realization of the changeover in what its customers are now seeking in HCI.

Acuity's advanced policy-based management engine has been optimized to make the most efficient use of NVMe PCIe flash to deliver six times the performance of conventional HCI solutions, Nash said. This means IT can improve response times for databases, enterprise applications, business analytics and VDI.

Acuity also offers increased density, enabling IT to run two to three times more virtual machines per HCI node, resulting in a smaller data center footprint and significant reductions in OPEX and CAPEX, Nash said.

Acuity uses the acceleration of ultra-low-latency NVMe PCIe flash. With NVMe PCIe flash data path performance, under control of Pivot3's advanced policy-based Quality of Service engine, organizations can consolidate performance- and latency-sensitive applications onto HCI with flash that is 450 percent faster than SATA SSD and 119 percent faster than SAS SSD, the company said.

Key Business Features

Acuity features include:

--pre-defined performance and user-defined data protection policies to meet SLAs in a mixed workload environment;

--automatic workload prioritization and real-time multi-tier data placement;

--self-management with a customizable performance dashboard for ongoing management decisions based on extensive application insight; and

--a policy scheduler allowing administrators to easily schedule performance and data protection policy changes based on cyclical business processes that change application requirements.

Acuity comes with a set of data services that help drive efficiency in the data center, including Pivot3's patented erasure coding, which delivers up to 82 percent usable storage capacity, the company said.

Additional data services include snapshots and clones, application-integrated data protection, data reduction and integrations with VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter. Acuity runs on a broad set of HCI nodes; all nodes offer flexibility in capacity, CPU, RAM and graphics cards to meet specific use-case requirements.

Pivot3 has more than 2,400 customers in 54 countries and 18,000 hyperconverged deployments in multiple industries, such as health care, government, transportation, security, entertainment, education, gaming and retail.

For more information on the Acuity HCI software platform, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...