"We don't need to deal with different interfaces for every device," Winter said. "If I want to set up storage, all I have to do is load the GUI and manage the storage and then use a different GUI and manage the switch, and then another GUI to mange the VMs."
Power savings, too
Winter envisions the potential for 80% power savings by changing to OmniCubes.
"We own our building, so I see the energy bill every month and say, 'wow,'" Winter said. "The benefits of OmniCube are pretty clear. You're talking about going from all those pieces of equipment to two."
Along with energy savings, Winter said deduplication will help save on storage capacity and backup times. For example, his company now runs 20 copies of Windows Server R2. That means everytime he performs a full backup, the company is storing the same 20 copies of Windows. With deduplication, and a multi-tenant architecture, one version of Windows Server R2 would be shared among clients and only one copy would be saved during backups.
Additionally, if Winter wants to replicate his VMware environment to his disaster recovery site, it means using Veeam Software to replicate 100GB of data, because none of the data is deduplicated or compressed.
The OmniCubes not only deduplicate and compress data, but they have continuous data protection that takes snapshots and moves them to a remote disaster recovery site, where they can be stored as a full backup.
"When I click on the OmniCube tab for VMware, I not only see my local virtual machines, but I also see all the snapshot copies and the copies in my DR site," Winter said.
Taneja said while IT infrastructures as a whole have gone to more open concepts, that hasn't lead to a more consolidated infrastructure. And, while each element of a data center, such as virtualized servers and networked storage systems, has its merits, when viewed in totality, they still end up looking like "a mumbo jumbo of gear."
While large IT organizations can afford to throw money at the problem of managing separate pieces of gear, smaller organizations only have IT generalists who can't hope to cope with a "maze" of equipment.
"Given all this, I think it is time to consolidate compute, networks and storage in a way that simplifies the life of an administrator, especially one in mid-size or smaller companies," Taneja said. "This is what SimpliVity has taken on. It is indeed transformational in nature."
To date, SimpliVity has raised a healthy $18 million in capital from Accel and Charles River Ventures. Part of the reason for SimpliVity's venture funding is its founder's long history in the storage market.
Kempel has worked in the industry for more than a dozen years. He was the CEO of Diligent Technologies, the maker of an in-line de-duplication appliance, before IBM purchased the company in 2008. IBM now uses Diligent's technology in its ProtecTIER data deduplication appliance.
Prior to Diligent, Kempel was the general manager of EMC's Media Solutions Group until he took a job in 2001 as CEO of storage software start-up SANgate Systems. EMC subsequently filed a lawsuit to enforce a non-compete clause against Kempel, and he was forced out.
The OmniCube business case
The business case behind Kempel's new company and its OmniCube is not unique.
Through its so-called Virtual Computing Alliance (VCE), EMC and its VMware subsidiary partnered with Cisco in 2009 and began selling a bundled product called Vblock. Vblock integrates Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) servers and networking switches with EMC storage arrays and VMware vShere hypervisor software for public and private cloud services.