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NextIO Takes "Meta-Cloud" Approach
Senior VP Mike Heumann Addresses Questions Following Cloud Expo

I was intrigued by NextIO, an Austin-based company exhibiting at the recent Cloud Expo that seems to be taking a "meta-cloud" approach that decouples I/O from cloud servers. Virtualizing the virtualized, or something like that.

Had a brief conversation with some of the folks during a poolside lunch (temps in the low 60s made this just feasible), then followed up with some questions after the show. Here is what NextIO Senior VP Mike Heumann (pictured) told me:

When did the company start, and what was its original vision?

The company was incorporated in 2003. The original - and current - vision is focused on simplifying I/O in the datacenter. We do this by splitting I/O resources out from the server, allowing them to be provisioned and managed separately.

Your Maestro solution seems to be a "cloud within the cloud" or "meta-cloud" solution, as it addresses resource deployment and usage issues from the rack level. Is this a fair way to describe it?

Absolutely, and the rack level is exactly where our solution focuses.

So I would assume there are utilization increases and potential cost savings here. But how important is increased flexibility, scalability, and agility to your customers?

Our value proposition has three components:

First, CAPEX Savings. By using our technology users realize an immediate savings on acquisition cost vs the conventional approach of utilizing top-of-rack switches for Ethernet and Fibre Channel. We have found that if a user has at least six I/O wires exiting his server, he can save up to 40% by utilizing our approach. We also allow users to go to smaller servers, since they don't need the large number of I/O slots provided by 3U and 4U servers.

Second, there are OPEX Savings, including here power and cooling through smaller servers, fewer TOR switches and adapters, simplified cabling, lower "real estate" costs, ie, a smaller footprint per server.

Then finally, flexibility and agility. Here is where vNET provides significant competitive advantages, in our view. By allowing server I/O to be "provisioned on the fly," users can take on changing workloads more effectively.

The earliest users to take advantage of this are those in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) space, but there is also great value in this for retail customers - imagine an Amazon being able to reprovision back-office servers to support web traffic during the holidays, for example.

What is the scope of your customers' datacenters? What is the range in size of your customers' deployments?
We are just entering the point where customers are deploying our products in production. Some of our customers and top prospects in the MSP space - Rackspace, BlueChip, etc. -- are quite large, having hundreds of server racks.

That said, we've helped customers with only a few racks as well, such as when they are undergoing consolidation, or are deploying new technology such as 10GbE.

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About Roger Strukhoff
Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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