Dan's Take

Pivot3 Edge Office, Hyper-converged Systems and the Past

A new spin on an old idea.

Pivot3 just announced Edge Office, a consolidated, hyper-converged server appliance targeting the mid-market and remote office/branch office computing environments. The goal clearly is returning to a much simpler approach to offering computing solutions "on the edge" of the network.

Here's a snippet of how Pivot3 describes Edge Office:

Edge Office Packs are pre-configured to include compute, storage, hyperconverged operating software and support that’s sized to power general small-office use cases … including:

  • Enterprise-class storage: The storage capacity from each node is aggregated into a shared pool for better performance and utilization that’s available to every VM in the cluster.
  • Maximum resource utilization: The Pivot3 vSTAC operating system is highly efficient, consuming under 10 percent of system resources and providing more resources for improved application performance.
  • Advanced fault tolerance: Pivot3’s patented erasure coding protects applications from disk and/or node failure scenarios, with favorable capacity utilization.
  • Edge Office is based on the proven VMware ESXi hypervisor with management through the familiar vCenter Server interface and seamless integration with VMware or VMware eco-system management solutions.
  • Data protection and disaster recovery: The product is validated and compatible with leading data protection and recovery solutions including Veeam, Zerto, VMware and CommVault.

In the past, enterprises would install a local network, network access, a single timesharing workgroup computer with access to that network, and terminals for each individual to allow access to the computing resources available at a remote or branch office.

Fast forward to today, and the computing environment has become far more complex. From an abstract view, similar amounts of work are getting done, but the level of complexity has jumped considerably from those early days.

If we consider what's involved in setting up a computing environment for today's mid-market or ROBO computing environment, we're often talking a far more complex environment that includes:

  • A local network designed to support access from PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets used by staff members. In many cases, multiple devices must be supported for each staff member.
  • Network support that acts as a router, allowing access to the world, a robust firewall and other network management and security functions.
  • PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
  • Individual systems (or VMs) that support individual application components for each application, database services, file services, print services, security services and management services.
  • Storage sufficient for documents, spreadsheets, presentation decks and other office necessities, as well as storage for local databases, application-specific data and so on.

Enterprises today might take a shortcut on some of these by installing a larger "network pipe" and accessing data and processing coming from another data center somewhere on the network. This could include access to one of their own data centers or to a cloud service provider supporting the enterprise's computing functions.

Dan's Take: Pivot3 Use Cases
Pivot3 is trying to gather up the needs of today's computing environments and "leap to the past" by offering a much more simplified computing environment based on their server appliance. If the enterprise has standardized on VMware's virtualization tools, Pivot3's Edge Office would be worthy of examination.

If the enterprise, on the other hand, has chosen Microsoft's Hyper-V, Citrix's XenServer, or either Xen or KVM from the open source community, Pivot3's Edge Office isn't a solution. Since there are many other suppliers offering packaged hyper-converged solutions, I'd have to recommend considering one of these other offerings.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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