Tag Archives: Newcomer

HiveIO seeks to create buzz in HCI market

Newcomer HiveIO Inc. is trying to make it in the already crowded hyper-converged infrastructure market by touting a software-only application that it claims uses AI for resource management.

HiveIO this week released Hive Fabric 7.0, its hyper-converged application. The vendor, based in Hoboken, N.J., has actually been around since 2015 and shipped its first version of Hive Fabric that same year, but has kept a low profile until now. HiveIO’s co-founders Kevin McNamara and Ofer Bezalel came out of JP Morgan Chase’s engineering team. HiveIO CTO McNamara said the goal was to create an infrastructure that consisted of one platform, was simple to use and was inexpensive.

“They thought about a single product, single vendor, hyper-converged fabric out of the box that just deploys and just works and reduces the complexity of the data center,” said HiveIO CEO Dan Newton, who joined HiveIO last April from Rackspace. “Our team comes from an operational background, and we’re focused on making our product operationally very easy, yet very stable. We try to make the technology work for the customers. We don’t want the customers to have to work to make it work.”

Newton said HiveIO has about 400 customers, including those it picked up by acquiring the assets of HCI software vendor Atlantis Computing in July 2017. HiveIO also inherited Atlantis’ OEM deal with Lenovo, which packaged Atlantis’ HCI software on its servers. However, HiveIO has no other hardware partnerships for Hive Fabric.

Newton said the goal is to provide HCI software that can deploy in 20 minutes on three nodes and requires little training to use.

We put the Message Bus into appliances and use machine learning to manage the appliances.
Kevin McNamaraCTO, HiveIO

HiveIO describes Hive Fabric as a “zero-layer, hardware-agnostic” hyper-converged platform that runs on any x86 server or in the cloud. Hive Fabric includes a free kernel-based virtual machine hypervisor, although it can also run with VMware and Microsoft hypervisors. Hive Fabric manages storage, compute, virtualization and networking across HCI clusters through its Message Bus. It includes a REST API and Universal Rest Interface to support third-party and customer applications.

McNamara called the artificial intelligence-driven Hive Fabric Message Bus “unique to the industry.” he said the Message Bus relies on AI and metadata to format data in real-time and provide predictive analytics to prevent potential performance and capacity problems.

“It’s all integrated into the stack,” McNamara said. “We can see everything in the hardware, everything in the stack, everything in the guest server and everything in the application layers. We put the Message Bus into appliances and use machine learning to manage the appliances. You can move workloads across appliances.”

Newton added, “Every piece of data point all comes through the Message Bus.”

HiveIO released Hive Fabric 7.0 this week, simplifying resource management through a Cluster Resource Scheduler (CRS). The CRS uses AI to monitor resource allocation across the cluster, and moves guest virtual machines between servers to improve operational efficiency. Hive Fabric 7.0 also allows customers to run multiple mixed-application workloads.

Hive Fabric 7 from HiveIO
HiveIO’s Hive Fabric 7 management dashboard.

Forrester Research senior analyst Naveen Chhabra said HiveIO will need to prove its AI capabilities to make it in an HCI field that includes at least 15 vendors.

“A number of companies already have proven technology — including Nutanix, Cisco, Dell EMC, VMWare,” Chhabra said. “HiveIO can do the same, but they must deliver at least table stakes technology, and then find out what innovations they can come up with. They talk about the interconnect fabric with artificial intelligence. It’s a transport layer for sending bits and bytes from one node to another. What kind of artificial intelligence does it have? Is it artificial intelligence or just AI washing like you hear from other vendors? And they have to find a strong use case for that artificial intelligence, even if it’s just one use case.”

HiveIO executives claim their early customers’ workloads include general server virtualization, virtual desktops, databases, log analysis and test/dev.

Hive Fabric is sold as a monthly subscription based on the number of physical servers with no restrictions on memory, storage or cores.

HiveIO promises to support Atlantis Computing hyper-converged and virtual desktop infrastructure software through 2022. Newton said HiveIO will offer Atlantis customers an upgrade path to Hive Fabric. He said HiveIO hired some Atlantis employees but is not using its technology in Hive Fabric.

HiveIO has 30 employees in the U.S. and U.K. It has completed two funding rounds and lists El Dorado Ventures, Rally Ventures, Osage Venture Partners and Citrix as investors but does not disclose its total funding.

Baramundi Management Suite

The Baramundi Management Suite (which begins at $25.90 per device) is a relative newcomer to our mobile device management (MDM) review roundup. It’s also notable for the fact that the software comes in the form of a virtual machine (VM) intended for either local installation on a server in your data center or for use in the cloud as a server instance in either Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. While it might be a solid enough MDM competitor for many small to midsize businesses (SMBs), the Baramundi Management Suite suffers from some unneeded complexity as well as a dependence on Microsoft back-office platforms for full functionality. It’s these issues that keep it behind our Editors’ Choice winner VMware AirWatch for now.

Similar Products

On the plus side, the MDM function is just one part of the bigger picture in the Baramundi Management Suite. Similar to Microsoft Intune, the Baramundi Management Suite also handles some desktop management chores for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X-based desktops, up to the installation of a new operating system (OS). The downside here is that full functionality requires integration with an external Microsoft Active Directory (AD) domain and a Microsoft Exchange Server for sending email notifications. The first is something we encounter often, but the second has become something of a limitation now that many SMBs are going with hosted email services such as Google G Suite instead of an in-house email server. Our trial system didn’t have access to either of these platforms so we were unable to test all of the features, including the sending of email messages for device enrollment. Additionally, on the MDM side, Windows-based devices also required AD support, which means that shops without AD and Microsoft Exchange will only be able to manage Android and Apple devices with the Baramundi Management Suite.

Installation and Device Enrollment

Installing the Baramundi Management Suite consists of provisioning a VM, which was accomplished by the company for our test instance in the Microsoft Azure public cloud. The same could be accomplished in AWS should you choose to go that route. Connecting to the system uses a remote desktop session to connect you into a Windows Server environment. The one advantage to a VM approach is the consistency of deployment for the management infrastructure across multiple cloud services and on-premises, which means you’ve got easy access to redundancy and scalability should you need it.

To enroll either an Android or iOS device, you simply download the Baramundi Mobile Agent application from the appropriate store and follow the in-app instructions. Baramundi provides a Quick Response Code (QR code) that contains the server and account information so you don’t have to type this in. The agent includes a QR scanning capability, which removes the need for any additional apps. On iOS, the app installs the appropriate certificates to get you securely connected to the server.

We were able to register an iOS phone, a Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphone, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 device. The Baramundi Management Suite does support the Samsung Knox platform and the ability to block (black list) or allow (white list) specific apps. Only those apps which have been white-listed will be allowed should a user choose to install them. We did find some limitations to this capability depending on the version of Knox you’re using but it shouldn’t be an issue with updated phones.

Management Interface

Opening the Baramundi Management Suite console presents a dashboard that shows the status of Windows devices. The dashboard for mobile devices shows compliance status and rules violations. The Compliance Overview block includes clickable links to take you to another section of the management interface with more detailed information. The graphics displayed are static, meaning you can’t click an image and drill down for further details like you can in other products like VMware AirWatch and SOTI MobiControl. You also can’t modify the dashboard screens.

Like most of the other products in this roundup, the Baramundi Management Suite uses the concept of device profiles to configure specific settings. One difference from products such as and SOTI MobiControl is that the Baramundi Management Suite uses the concept of a universal profile to apply the same basic settings to all platforms. Creating a profile consists of settings collected into groupings they call “building blocks.” For example, one building block addresses restrictions on hardware such as the camera. Other building blocks include settings for Wi-Fi access points and virtual private network (VPN) credentials.

Once a profile has been created, it must be deployed by using a job. Jobs perform a number of different actions, including installing or uninstalling an app or profile; locking, unlocking, or wiping a device; and compiling a hardware or software inventory. Performing an action such as a device lock or wipe requires several steps, including creating a job to accomplish the task and then deploying it to a specific device. This seems more cumbersome for mobile devices than simply right-clicking and choosing “Lock Device” as in other systems such as SOTI MobiControl.

Viewing individual devices lets you see pertinent information about the device and perform specific tasks such as assign a job or edit the owner details. A Device Actions menu item on the page only let you deactivate the device. To do anything else requires creating a job. Creating a new job happens under the Jobs section. The Baramundi Management Suite includes a number of standard jobs to do things such as take a hardware and software inventory or distribute an app. Initiating a device wipe requires a number of steps to first create the job and then assign it to a specific device. This amount of effort would become quite tedious for most administrators after the first few device wipe requests.

Reporting was one strong area for the Baramundi Management Suite. A long list of pre-defined reports gives you access to most of the pertinent information. Creating new reports requires a full version of Crystal Reports which is an additional cost but does offer a robust report building tool. On the downside, the Baramundi Management Suite interface was not as intuitive as other products, like and SOTI MobiControl. It’s also missing features such as geofencing, geolocation, or mobile expense management (MEM). The geolocation feature is a significant one when an employee loses his or her device.

Pricing

The base price for a single Baramundi Management Suite device is $25.90 plus a yearly maintenance cost between $3.50 and $5.50 depending on contract length. While that sounds like a lot, it actually puts the Baramundi Management Suite among the cheapest of all the products we tested, along with AppTec360 Enterprise Mobility Management.

Overall, we liked the Baramundi Management Suite, though we did find that it offers only the basic functionality that we’d expect out of an MDM product. However, it does manage that at a very low cost. Still, it doesn’t fully compare with the capabilities found in the other products in this roundup, notably our Editors’ Choice winner VMware AirWatch. Simple administrative functions, such as wiping a device, require far too many steps when compared to all of the other products in our roundup. Plus, its reliance on Microsoft for full functionality makes life hard on companies that have opted for different cloud-based back-office platforms.

Aparavi takes three-piece approach to cloud data protection

Newcomer Aparavi jumped into the cloud data protection field today, following in the footsteps of Cohesity and Rubrik in trying to buck established backup vendors.

Rather than an appliance-based approach, Aparavi launched a software-as-a-service platform aimed at a lower end of the cloud data management market than enterprise-focused Rubrik and Cohesity. But like Rubrik, Cohesity and larger data protection vendors, such as Veritas and Commvault, Aparavi wants to store, protect and manage secondary data across on-premises platforms, private clouds and public clouds.

Aparavi hops into ‘hot market’

Aparavi’s leadership team comes from NovaStor, which moved into online backup for small companies nearly a decade ago.

Jonathan Calmes, Aparavi’s vice president of business development, said it’s not enough to just move backup data into a public cloud. Organizations also need to manage the data after it’s in the cloud. While Rubrik and Cohesity can help enterprises do that, he said, that capability does not exist for smaller organizations.

Today, data is hosted on servers in private clouds, public clouds and on premises. Data is fragmented in many locations. This is the new normal.
Jonathan Calmesvice president of business development, Aparavi

“The world has changed enough, but current products out there have not,” he said. “Cohesity and Rubrik are focused so far up market that they leave a large amount of the market unaddressed. Today, data is hosted on servers in private clouds, public clouds and on premises. Data is fragmented in many locations. This is the new normal.”

Calmes said Aparavi pricing starts at $999 per year for 3 TB of protected source data, with 1 TB free forever. He said with new clouds such as Wasabi focused on lower pricing than Amazon, Google and Microsoft, customers will demand lower-priced data retention, as well.

Still, Aparavi will need a compelling platform to avoid getting squeezed between established cloud data management leaders and the next-generation products of Cohesity and Rubrik.

Steven Hill, senior storage analyst for 451 Research, said Aparavi has picked the right market. Now, it has to show it has the right approach.

“It’s the hot market now,” Hill said of cloud data management. “The industry is evolving away from traditional backup and recovery to a combination of backup and multicloud availability. But the trick is how to go about it.

“The million-dollar question is, how are their policies being applied, and how much control do they give you in tuning the system to your environment? Are they inventing a better mousetrap, or just a different-colored mousetrap?”

Aparavi dashboard
The Aparavi dashboard tracks files protected on premises and in public and private clouds.

The Aparavi approach

Aparavi’s three-piece “mousetrap” consists of a web-hosted platform, an on-premises software appliance and client software. Aparavi can host the platform, or it can be located at a hosted cloud, any Amazon Simple Storage Service-compliant object storage or a customer’s disk target. Calmes said he expects most customers to choose Aparavi as the host. The platform handles the communication for the architecture, orchestrating reporting, alerts and provisioning.

The virtual appliance serves as the relationship manager, using file deduplication and byte-level incremental technology to only move changed data. It also handles data streaming to improve performance.

The client software runs on a protected file server, acting as a temporary recovery location for quick restores. It is also the AES-256 encryption source, so data is not exposed in transit or at rest.

Calmes said Aparavi’s point-in-time recovery software can recover data from any cloud or on-premises storage, migrate it to a different cloud or on-premises site, and rebuild it based on the time and date it was last protected. Aparavi software takes snapshots as frequently as every 15 minutes, and it can keep those snaps local for quick recovery.

Calmes said the product can move data between clouds without interruption, and it has an open data format, so third-party tools can read data without using Aparavi.

Aparavi’s platform supports Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Wasabi, IBM Bluemix, Scality and Cloudian cloud storage.

Besides the 3 TB plan, Aparavi offers annual subscription plans of 10 TB for $2,500 and 25 TB for $4,500. That does not include public cloud subscriptions. Although formally launched with limited availability today, the platform won’t be generally available until January.

Aparavi, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., has $3 million in funding from a private investor on a $30 million valuation. Calmes said the startup has 15 employees, mostly engineers.

Aparavi chairman Adrian Knapp, CTO Rod Christensen and Calmes all come from NovaStor.