DataCore’s software disaggregates software from the underlying hardware, letting Curvature provide customers with cheaper hardware and maintenance contracts, and freeing customers from the need to have short hardware refresh cycles to be compliant with maintenance contracts that provide software upgrades.
Curvature is deepening its ability to provide storage solutions through a new partnership with software –defined storage vendor DataCore, whose software disaggregates software from the underlying hardware.
Curvature started out life in 1986 as Network Hardware Resale, and for years their main business was reselling used Cisco networking gear, although they also were and remain a reseller of new hardware from multiple manufacturers, and have a large third party maintenance business with support and maintenance contracts. As their portfolio expanded to include servers and storage, the company changed its name to Curvature in 2014. Their ability to resell storage with their own maintenance plans remained problematic however.
“As our business migrated from networking to servers, there were few software constraints with what we did,” said Jeff Zanardi, Curvature’s VP of Business Development. “But it was different with storage. Because of the software licensing around storage, it was really hard for us to legally sell storage solutions in the secondary market.”
Zanardi said this especially problematic because OEM support contracts, which are necessary to get software updates, are a driving force behind overly early upgrades of hardware.
“We believe approximately 50 per cent of OEM upgrades are forced by the requirements of support contracts,” he said. “The useful life of most hardware is longer, especially on networking, where seven years is not uncalled for. Useful life is definitely not three years, as many storage OEMs maintain. Our core belief is not to throw away hardware that still works.”
DataCore, which has been doing software virtualization for storage solutions for 17 years, is able to allow the storage function in software to be disaggregated from underlying hardware. This functionality was exactly what Curvature was looking for, and they determined that DataCore was the best partner to solve their particular problem.
“DataCore provides that storage virtualization software that allows companies to deploy whatever hardware they choose to, and we can provide it, maintain and support it, to build out very strong and cost-effective storage solutions,” Zanardi said. “Both companies are focused on avoiding hardware lock- in, and on leveraging commoditized and preowned hardware where they can. It’s a perfect match.”
He illustrated with a customer case study how the partnership is able to create real cost savings.
“A customer faced with a costly NetApp upgrade to keep their support contract alive came to us to buy storage capacity for HP servers that they already owned. We provided a maintenance contract for all the hardware. DataCore provided software that turned the server into a fully functional storage solution. The combined CAPEX cost was $300,000 compared to the $1.2 million for refreshing the NetApp hardware. It was a massive CAPEX reduction, but it also lowered OPEX because the cost to support the server environment alone was much less. That’s the power of what we bring together as two partners.”
Zanardi said the partnership also allows for some unique maintenance alternatives.
“The DataCore software makes the customer no longer reliant on the storage OEM for support going forward, because the storage functionality that is embedded in the OEM’s feature set now has the DataCore solution running on top of it. They no longer need the support contract which just provides access to the upgrade.”
“Hardware-based storage architectures are no longer sufficient to support the dynamics of application modes today,” said Steve Houck, Chief Operations Officer at DataCore. “We both compete and partner with hyperconverged vendors who are addressing many of these same issues. But we stress to customers the importance of leading with a storage virtualization-first strategy when they talk about architectures. Many clients are not even aware of the massive third party maintenance that Curvature offers.”
The joint Curvature-Datacore solutions are now available from Curvature and its channel partners. Zanardi said they have value both across all verticals and all sizes of companies.
“Any customer that has a storage requirement could take advantage of this,” he said.
“The traditional storage marketplace is primed for a disruptive force,” Zanardi continued. “The underlying hardware is commoditized and as customers realize they have an alternative to disaggregate hardware from software, we expect more questions if this is right for them. This is on the verge of becoming more and more mainstream.”