ROBO HCIAs erupt from Atlantis. Thankfully it's not Rise of the Machines

It's hyper-converged all-flash appliances. Phew!


Software biz Atlantis has announced a pint-size hyper-converged appliance for remote and branch offices.

Atlantis’ HyperScale CX-4 software is a two-node design integrating compute, all-flash storage, networking and virtualisation.

It is available on Dell’s PowerEdge FX2 servers, which feature blade servers and integrated 10GbitE switching.

The idea is that ROBOs run what are micro-data centres, and integrated systems are better for them as they need less local management resources.

It’s not a new idea, but what is new is basing the ROBO system on a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA). Typically these are four node (server) systems.

Atlantis has cut that down the middle to produce a more affordable ROBO HCIA box set. Its product has 48 compute cores (FC630 Server with two Intel Xeon E5-2680v3 CPUs and 24 cores per node) and 4TB of effective storage capacity* inside a 2U enclosure**. That comes from either three 800GB SSDs or four of them.

It claims this product “provides the lowest entry point cost for any hyper-converged appliance.” There is “a simplified deployment process that pre-configures networking for each remote appliance to connect to [a] central Atlantis Manager virtual appliance.”

There are 4-node HyperScale CX-12 and CX-24 models which have 12TB and 24TB of effective capacity respectively. Atlantis launched these in May last year, using SuperMicro servers. Cisco, HP and Lenovo servers were also supported via an architecture reference design.

Dell_FX2-hyper_converged_4_node_server_appliance

Dell FX2 hyper-converged platform

Management is a big problem with ROBO kit, and here Atlantis is providing central management and 24/7 support.

Reducing cost is a focus of Atlantis’ marketing, with the company claiming customers will see “drastic savings in ROBO infrastructure and operations costs.” It claims this is “ the most affordable hyper-converged appliance on the market and includes data protection, high-availability and disaster recovery capabilities at no additional cost.”

CEO Chetan Venkatesh said: “Prior to this offering, it would be unheard of for a ROBO environment to be equipped with an all-flash hyper-converged appliance because of the cost.”

The cost is still relatively substantial, unless you are a mid-market or above business; these are all-flash systems, after all. And there is a potential problem: 4TB is not a lot of capacity, and means that there will need to be a data transfer pipe to the central data centre for capacity data.

Pick up a Dell/CX-4/CX-12/CX-24 pdf marketing brief here and 10page spec-sheet here.

The HyperScale CX-4, CX-12 and CX-24 appliances are available now on Dell FX2 servers through Dell’s channel in the USA, Europe and the Middle East; not globally, and they ship direct to customers. You can also choose to have Cisco, HP, Lenovo and SuperMicro hardware. ®

*This is effective capacity after data reduction and Atlantis says this is guaranteed.

**It seems odd that a micro datacentre consists of a 2U system needing a rack frame to house it. Is the rest of the rack empty? If not what else is in it? Assume it’s a half size rack and you still have some 18U of space going to waste, unless there is other equipment you need to house.

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