Today Infinio will announce that Scott Davis, VMware's former CTO for end user computing, will join them as CTO. Though Scott was most recently known as VMware's CTO for end user computing, his history is in the storage space. (He was a cofounder and CTO of Virtual Iron which was bought by Oracle in 2005.) Scott's always been a storage guy, even in his various roles at VMware. (Remember the video interview I did with him where he said a "desktop is just a file?" :) So it's great that he's getting back into the storage space.
Infinio is a software company with a drop-in distributed read cache that speeds up existing storage for VDI environments. (We did an in-depth podcast with Peter Smith, Infinio's VP of Product Management a few months ago.) Infinio's Accelerator has one of the coolest features I've ever seen in enterprise software: not only is it simple to install—it's simple to remove.
Seriously, you download it and click next next next and Boom! You're accelerating your VDI storage. If you don't like it, just remove it, and Boom! It's gone. It doesn't break anything. You don't have to copy or move or migrate anything. It doesn't change anything on your primary storage. There's nothing to learn. You just install a virtual appliance on each VDI host and you're done.
Infinio's core technology identifies blocks of data that are duplicated in multiple places and caches them in memory on each host. It only stores each block once, even if multiple machines are sharing it. (And it bases the cache on the content of the blocks, so even if you have fully persistent desktops, you still can have multiple users sharing whatever blocks they have in common.
Infinio's current accelerator product works with vSphere and NAS storage, but their core IP is around the identification of duplicated content, so they talk about all sorts of things they can do like accelerating writes (they're read-only today), data encryption, etc. They also plan to broaden their platform support (beyond vSphere), to broaden their use cases (beyond VDI), and to broaden the types of storage they support (beyond NAS). So really they have a lot on their plate!
Infinio calls themselves a "storage services company" rather than a storage company. (To me they sound like those BASF commercials. "We don't make the storage. We make it faster.")
By the way I asked Infinio what happened to their current CTO? I mean I assume they had one? So how does Scott fit in?
Turns out Infinio's previous CTO was Vishal Misra, a professor and the former vice chair of the computer science department at Columbia University. He came up with the idea for Infinio based on his research, and now that the company is up and running he's going to focus on academia (while retaining the "chief scientist" role at Infinio). Scott's coming in to fill the day-to-day CTO role for things like product direction, industry speaking, and interviews with pissant bloggers.
It looks like Scott joining Infinio was a good deal for both parties, and I really like Infinio's approach to storage acceleration, so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next!
(Oh, one final note: On the podcast with them I made an off-handed comment where I said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we found the oldest, shittiest NAS we could get our hands on and made a video of us trying to make it usable by accelerating it with Infinio?" Well we're doing that! Gabe is flying out in two weeks and we're going to head down to the Weirdstuff Warehouse computer scrapyard to see what we can find! We'll keep you posted!