Atlantis Launches ILIO USX – Pooled Storage For Virtualised Servers

Atlantis Highlights

  • Launches USX software for server virtualisation environments beyond its current VDI markets
  • The separation of control and data planes makes USX an SDS approach
  • Aggregates RAM, Flash, DAS, NAS and SAN into a pooled resource
  • Bring the advantages of higher storage utilisation and lower cost – typically missing in virtualised server environments
  • Has reseller agreements with Dell, HP and IBM and is talking to NetApp and EMC
  • Has sold 500k licences to 440 customers – a number with significant VDI deployments
  • Tested on IBM/Lenovo X6 servers with eXFlash, Claims a ‘logical’ Flash capacity extension to 60TB, 3.7 million IOPS and a latency of 0.6 ms


Atlantis – A Head Start In VDI

Atlantis is a software-only storage supplier: it has sold 500k licenses to date, has increased its staff from 45 to 160 in the last year and reports seeing 100% revenue growth every year since it was founded in 2009. Up to this point it has been addressing the VDI market, reducing storage costs through in-memory techniques with Persistent, Diskless and XenApp versions of its ILIO software. It has 440 customers with a number running 10k or more virtual desktops – including JB Morgan Chase’s 100k. It has signed up HP, IBM and Dell to reseller agreements and is also talking to NetApp and EMC. But Atlantis believes that VDI is only 5-8% of the server virtualisation opportunity and is keen to spread its wings.

Unifies RAM, Flash, DAS, NAS And SAN In Virtual Machines

Our research shows that, of the 15 million servers shipped in the year to the end of September 2013, 5 million were virtualised – supporting 25 million virtual machines – verses 10 million, which were physical-only computers (see Figure). The virtualised servers used have changed from mainframe and Unix machines to x86 ones over the period. VMware’s hypervisors have driven widespread adoption, followed by Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen and KVM.
While virtualisation is driving server utilisation up and hardware costs down, customers typically spend more on associated storage to improve IOPS performance. Atlantis aims to reduce this ‘virtualisation tax’ by unifying and changing the way storage is used in virtualised server environments.
Introduced today Its ILIO USX software has a number of interesting features. In particular:

  • Following the principals of Software Defined Storage (SDS) it separates Control and Data Planes
  • In the Data Plane it can pool all types of storage including RAM, Flash, DAS, NAS and SAN, breaking down the typical silos found in most data centres today
  • In the Control Plane it adds management features such as inline dedupe, IO processing, compression, coalescing, thin provisioning, high-availability, auto provisioning and fast cloning
  • Programming through REST APIs
  • It links upwards into Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) orchestration systems, including CloudStack, OpenStack, vCAC, IBM Smart Cloud and BMC CLM
  • It claims to be able to create any storage volume quickly from the pooled storage and organise as file, block or object storage

Atlantis has been working with IBM/Lenovo System X6. By adding its software to the new eXFlash product it claims to be able to extend from a ‘raw’ 19.2TB to a ‘logical’ 60TB flash capacity and to have achieved 3.7 million IOPS (using an Iometer) and 0.6 ms latency. Atlantis will do well if it can associate its software strongly with IBM/Lenovo and other server vendors’ usage of SanDisk/Diablo flash storage. The high-end x86 server at the heart of these systems will be used in SAP HANA and other high-end and in-memory applications.

Some Conclusions – High Availability And Partnerships Will Help Establish USX

Like a number of startups Atlantis promises some big advantages over traditional storage approaches. It harbours ambitions to be ‘the VMware of storage’ by increasing storage utilisation and efficiency in heavily virtualised server environments. Virsto was the last company we featured that wanted to do that – before VMware acquired it of course.
Atlantis’ reseller partnerships with major system companies will help it establish its credentials in a very conservative market. We believe that application silos in the data center are usually there by design, rather than accident – after all you’ll usually get fired if the mission critical application you run falls over. In public Cloud computing higher utilisation from shared resources offers better elasticity and TCO than other forms, but organisations often consider adoption too risky. Atlantis’ High Availability focus will help technically, but it will probably build its business more slowly as a result.
From its technical description this is an impressive product – although a bit hard to grasp all at once. We intend to keep our eye on Atlantis and report on its progress and customers.

3 Responses to “Atlantis Launches ILIO USX – Pooled Storage For Virtualised Servers”

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  1. […] Atlantis launches ILIO USX – pooled storage for virutalized serversby IT Candor […]

  2. […] Defined Storage (SDS) products which will unify things for users – see our recent analysis of Atlantis. EMC is a clear leader of the systems market with a 24.2% share in 2013, while NetApp has grown […]

  3. […] very pleased to see the larger Flex System solutions now include ‘Desktop Virtualization with Atlantis ILIO’ , as well as ‘Microsoft Hyper-V’ and Oracle RAC. It has also included VMware VSAN-Ready […]

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