* a.k.a. We listened, we learned, and made the virtual appliance even better with your help.

Thanks to you, the 1st Generation Axcient Virtual Appliance has been deployed by more than 250 end-customers since we introduced it back in January, making it the most quickly adopted product in Axcient’s history. Along the way, we’ve received a lot of feedback from you – our customers and often passionate advocates – via support tickets, customer calls, and product evaluation feedback sessions. All of this led us to the conclusion that you deserved a next generation virtual appliance that addressed the below needs:

What You Liked…

  • “It works just like my Physical Axcient Appliance.” – The vApp has all the capabilities you would expect from a physical appliance, from local and cloud backups, to local failover and disaster recovery.
  • “I can now use my own hardware instead of purchasing a Physical Appliance.” – The vApp allows you to maximize ROI by utilizing spare compute and storage found at your end-customer sites, instead of racking-and-stacking another box.
  • “It’s really easy to setup and get going.” – Your end-customers can be up and running with Axcient service in a matter of minutes, instead of a multi-day long truck-roll install of physical hardware.

…And What You Wanted Improved

  • “I don’t have 20 TB of space lying around.” – Even though the vApp utilizes VMware Thin Provisioning technology, running out of VM datastore capacity was an ongoing concern, especially when the average customer has < 2TB of space available on their VM datastore.
  • “Can you make it run faster?” – Customers requested that the vApp performance be as good as the Physical Appliance for mission critical operations such as backup, local failover and disaster recovery.
  • “Can I deploy more than 1 vApp at a time on my (vendor X) SAN / NAS?” – MSP customers want to unlock the potential of infrastructure savings by deploying multiple vApps atop the same storage infrastructure, one per end-customer. At the time, this wasn’t always practical (especially when deployed over mid-range NASes) because the 1st Generation vApp was rather I/O intensive (especially random I/O).

We listened carefully to your feedback and quickly iterated our product based on those learnings to bring you our 2nd Generation Axcient vApp.

2nd Generation Axcient vApp – What’s New

The 2nd Generation Axcient vApp for VMware is a complete re-architecture of the product, including:

  • A shiny new Axcient Operating System* which we’ve seen improve overall product performance by up to 25% compared to the 1st Generation vApp.
  • The replacement of 10+ VMDK Software RAID-5 by a 1 VMDK solution, thereby dramatically reducing I/O load (IOPS) on storage subsystems by up to 8X, resulting in up to 50% faster backups, local failover and Disaster Recovery.
  • New form-factor vApps (1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 14 and 20 TB) so you can right-size your vApp to available VM datastore capacity without worrying about running out of space.
  • Support for VMware Hosts running AMD Opteron Processors** in addition to prior support for Intel Xeon Processors. This allows you the ability to minimize your hardware costs by picking a compute solution that best meets your ROI objectives. A nice side-benefit: The same vApp can run on both Intel and AMD. This allows those who have a heterogeneous compute environment to move the vApp between AMD and Intel VMware Hosts with just a point-and-click, allowing you to load-balance your Axcient vApp deployments more efficiently.

How to Get It

The 2nd Generation vApp is available now, timed with the Axcient 6.2 Release, and is available at no extra charge to our 1st Generation vApp customers (yay!), and to our Axcient Free customers, not to mention our ‘traditional’ evaluations. The 2nd Generation steals a march over our competitors, whose 1st generation products are little more than press-releases. We’re proud of the work our team has done – and we hope you’ll like it too!

*Requires Axcient 6.3 (currently in Limited Availability. General Availability: August 2014)

**Requires Axcient 6.3

Venkatesh Iyer is a Senior Product Manager at Axcient. When not thinking up the next cool product idea, he’s totally pumped these days with the announcement of the new Marvel movie featuring Dr. Strange, despite predictions of doom (pun intended) from naysayers.