This is one of a series of posts discussing the presenters at Storage Field Day 10, occurring 25th-27th May 2016 in Silicon Valley, at which I am an attending delegate.  See links at the end of this post to other presenting vendors.  Details of the event can be found on the Storage Field Day 10 page at and on the dedicated events page on this site at Storage Field Day 10.

Tintri is another of a number of storage array vendors presenting at SFD10.  The company specialises in VM-aware storage based on the NFS protocol, integrating with both vSphere and Hyper-V environments.  Understanding the components of a VM allows Tintri to apply features such as QoS, thin provisioning, replication and snapshots at the VM rather than LUN or volume level and their solution delivers what the promise of VVOLs should have been.

I’ve been evaluating a Tintri T820 array over the past couple of months and probably the key feature I see is simplicity and ease of use.  The system just works and the integration with vSphere is seamless, allowing me to clone VMs easily from the Tintri interface and have them integrate into vSphere directly.  This ability also extends to management via PowerShell, allowing a high degree of automation into Tintri-based virtual server environments.

Tintri recently announced a new set of products (nine new models to the T5000 range) including a number that can be upgraded in the field with additional capacity.  From memory, I don’t remember this feature being available before.  In addition to this, Tintri has decided to implement scale-out through software rather than hardware.  What this actually means is that existing hardware products will continue to be scale-up devices, but have the capability to be loosely coupled and managed via a single software layer that can orchestrate the migration of VMs between platforms.  This will also include additional analytics capabilities to allow customers to project their demand timeline based on historical growth and anticipate when new hardware needs to be deployed.

Choosing to scale at the management layer is an interesting approach to implementing scale-out and reflects a little on what EMC was trying to achieve with ViPR.  Unfortunately ViPR wasn’t successful because it was originally designed to streamline the provisioning of storage rather than automate the balancing of resources between hardware components.  From Tintri’s perspective, the hardware is already VM-aware and so moving workloads between arrays shouldn’t be that complicated.  In addition, if this (in the future) implements global federated de-duplication (an assumption on my part, rather than roadmap), then this provides the ability to move workloads with the minimum of disruption, a little like hyper-converged solutions such as SimpliVity.  At this stage I think each array is still seen as a separate datastore, so some work is needed in making the migration process more streamlined.

Tintri has always been an interesting storage play, albeit with a focus on server & desktop virtualisation.  I’m sure we’ll hear plenty about the new scale-out features, however I wonder what the long term strategy of the company will be, if containerisation becomes the de facto standard for application deployment.  Perhaps that’s something for discussion off, rather than on-camera.

Further Reading

Tintri has been a previous presenter at Tech Field Day; links can be found below.


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Disclaimer:  I was personally invited to attend Storage Field Day 10, with the event teams covering my travel and accommodation costs.  However I was not compensated for my time.  I am not required to blog on any content; blog posts are not edited or reviewed by the presenters or the respective companies prior to publication.  

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Written by Chris Evans

With 30+ years in IT, Chris has worked on everything from mainframe to open platforms, Windows and more. During that time, he has focused on storage, developed software and even co-founded a music company in the late 1990s. These days it's all about analysis, advice and consultancy.