What I learned on my field trip to Tegile Systems

Last month, I had the fortunate opportunity to spend a couple of days at Tegile Systems HQ in Newark, CA to get a first hand look a their line of hybrid arrays. I am impressed. This relatively new company has built an affordable, solid product with a key set of differentiators that would be the envy of even the most senior players in the storage market. Here are a few things that I learned on my field trip.

Multiprotocol goodness
Tegile’s Zebi line of arrays can run any combination of iSCSI, Fiber Channel, NFS or CIFS/SMB concurrently from the same array. This is especially attractive to the SMB/midmarket space in which companies don’t have the capital, people or budget to run a bunch of different systems for different use cases. This system is truly unified.

Impressive data reduction rates
Tegile’s architecture is based on the fact that “metadata optimization” (Tegile’s secret sauce, which the company refers to as MASS) improves storage management in a number of ways. The most impressive way they use MASS is to enable de-duplication and compression on a system that has spinning HDDs in it. On the dedupe front, Tegile has the ability to dedupe both the SSD and HDD storage in each array, which can result in massive storage gains. In server and desktop virtualization environments, high-speed data reduction is a wonderful thing, particularly when you consider the uniformity of most VDI scenarios.

All-flash if you need it
As you may know, while I believe that there is a niche market today for all-flash arrays, when it comes to mainstream storage, I’m a big believer in capacity/performance balance offered by hybrid storage arrays. However, as I mentioned, there is a place for all-flash, such as high-end analytics and huge VDI deployments. To that end, Tegile introduced their HA2800 array. It is a 4.4TB all-flash array that looks a lot like any array you’d get from an all-flash player… but there is a catch. Remember I said that Tegile is primarily a hybrid array player? The HA2800 is hybrid too. Customers can optionally connect 72 or 144 1 TB drives behind the HA2800 to provision up to about 500 TB (deduplicated) storage while still maintaining uncompromised flash performance. Not at bad deal at all (as I sit here and drool just thinking about what that would look like in my lab).

A solid team
I love talking tech with vendors and I had great chats with just about everyone in the senior ranks at Tegile, including all four founders of the company. They really know their stuff. They get storage, and I get the sense that they really understand the challenges that CIOs face every day.

Further, in looking at their marketing materials, I didn’t see a lot of fluff or hype… just real information. In talking with some of their sales people, I sensed that they’d be straight up with customers to make sure that they get the right solution. That starts at the top, too; the CEO shared with me a story about how he feels customers deserve to be treated (an easily verifiable story, by the way), and it’s clear that, while Tegile wants to become NetApp 2.0, they want to do so in a way that respects the customer. If you’re in the market for storage, make sure that you give Tegile a once over.

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