Server virtualization has been transforming the data center for the past 10 years by enabling better utilization of server hardware components. However, one piece of technology that hasn't adapted to the virtualization market quite as fast has been storage.
As virtualization and server components have advanced in feature, function, and deployment rate, slower storage technology has become the bottleneck in many cases. What hasn't slowed down for virtualization shops is the cost of connecting storage to virtualized environments.
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Kieran Harty, who led all desktop and server research and product development at VMware from 1999 to 2006, saw the challenges of storage and virtualization firsthand. Harty quickly realized that storage was often the major barrier to broader virtualization deployments and noted storage performance is one of the reasons that IT organizations have been reluctant to put mission-critical applications on virtual machines. That's one reason for VM stall and why, on average, less than 30 percent of servers end up being virtualized.
Harty, who left VMware in 2006, unveiled his new startup, a company called Tintri where he is now founder and CEO. Tintri (Gaelic for "lightning") has emerged from stealth mode after completing two funding rounds with the main venture capital backers, NEA and Lightspeed, which have invested $17 million into the 35-person company. The team brings a unique perspective with strong backgrounds in both virtualization coming from VMware and Citrix as well as storage with backgrounds at Data Domain and NetApp.
Rather than building yet another storage device, Tintri announced it was developing a new storage system aimed squarely at handling the storage issues that have been plaguing virtualized environments. It took the company more than two years in stealth mode to build this technology. The group has come up with is an appliance that can handle hundreds of virtual machines and their storage needs all in a single device, yet appears as simple as a direct-attached storage array.