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Software company helps firms save on data centers

Doron Kempel worked at EMC before starting SimpliVity.

FayFoto/Boston

Doron Kempel worked at EMC before starting SimpliVity.

There’s real money to be made in virtual computing — the use of software to dramatically multiply the workload that can be handled by a single computer. Westborough-based SimpliVity Inc. is taking the idea further. It aims to save customers money and time by virtualizing not just server computers but entire data centers.

“We reduce your overall cost by three times,” said SimpliVity chief executive Doron Kempel. “If that is important to you, that’s one reason to buy the technology.”

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SimpliVity is finding that its unusual product, OmniCube, is winning converts. The company will announce Monday that it has signed five more customers for its flagship product, a high-powered computer server stuffed with proprietary software. It’s designed to replace a whole stack of separate components that go into a corporate computer enterprise.

In a typical data center, the server, data storage, network switch, data-deduplication system, and other features require separate devices. OmniCube squeezes it all into one box and allows the user to manage all of the various functions with a single software administration tool.

Without having to use multiple software products from different companies, OmniCube users can assign various applications to different servers, shift blocks of data from one branch office to another, or manage data backups for an entire company.

“We have automated all of the functionality,” Kempel said. “You don’t focus on the underlying plumbing. You focus on your applications.”

Kempel built a successful career at EMC Corp. before cofounding Diligent Technologies, a Framingham company that specialized in the arcane art of data de-duplication,which saves money by eliminating multiple copies of the same information. IBM Corp. purchased Diligent in 2008 for $200 million. Kempel launched SimpliVity the following year. The company began selling its flagship product, OmniCube, in August 2012.

The system is designed to scale up easily. As a company expands, it simply adds more OmniCubes, while managing them through the same administration software.

In addition, OmniCube features a real-time de-duplication system. Most de-duplication happens to data when it’s being prepared for long-term storage. OmniCube de-duplicates the “live” data being used by the servers.

“We do it once and forever,” said Kempel, resulting in more efficient processing of the data and quicker transfers over company networks.

SimpliVity built its virtualized data center system around software from VMware Inc., a California subsidiary of EMC and the leading maker of software for virtualizing server computers. Kempel said VMware was the natural choice; it’s a familiar software environment for data center managers.

“We were very excited to see that they’re built on Dell and VMware,” said Josh Dinneen, vice president of sales and marketing at Corporate IT Solutions Inc., a Norwood company that already uses VMware and Dell products for the data centers and cloud computing services it sells to midsize companies.

Dinneen said SimpliVity’s approach to data center virtualization makes it much easier and faster to get its customers up and running in a cloud-based system. And since corporate IT doesn’t get paid until the virtual data center is running, less setup time means more money.

“That hits our bottom line, our top line,” he said. “It makes us more competitive.”

Ashish Nadkarni, research director in storage systems at research firm IDC Corp. in Framingham, said SimpliVity is one of several small companies bringing virtualized data centers to market.

Leading rivals include Nutanix, Pivot3 Inc., and Convergent.io.

“They’re all unknown entities today,” said Nadkarni, but added that their technology is catching on with companies looking for simple ways to expand and manage their data. “You take the data center construct and you look at how complicated it has become,” said Nadkarni. “It’s a tipping point where you need to do something about it.”

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at bray@globe.com.
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