DDN scoops up Tintri biz remains

DDN has emerged the winner from a six-round auction that sees it buying the bankrupt Tintri business for $60m. This is a big win for Tintri creditors and customers, and secures DDN’s entry into the enterprise virtual array market.

Tintri went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2018, months after a disastrous IPO.  The company had established an early lead with VMware support with which it addressed VMware virtual machine storage using VMware abstractions rather than traditional block storage ideas such as LUNs. It developed disk and hybrid flash/disk arrays that were easier for VMware admin staff to manage than traditional SAN arrays.

But competing array makers  caught up using VMware’s own Virtual Volume (VVOL) ideas, and then also surged past Tintri technology with their all-flash arrays and better cloud support. Companion startups Tegile and Nimble were acquired by Western Digital and HPE respectively, leaving Tintri isolated in the market.

DDN, a maker of HPC storage systems for academia, the public sector and enterprises, signalled its asset acquisition intentions early and has now prevailed over other unknown bidders.

Tintri had a $97m revenue run rate in its fiscal 2017 so DDN’s $60m price is by no means fire sale level. It is starting service and support for Tintri’s customers this week, and Tintri will be run as a ‘Tintri by DDN’ division within DDN. We don’t know yet who will lead this division.

The pre-Chapter 11 Tintri execs were co-founder and CTO Kieran Harty, co-founder and Chief Architect Mark Gritter, and EVP Operations Doug Kahn. One or more or all might be in place.

DDN will staff the Tintri global engineering, support, field technical, sales and marketing teams with 100 planned new hires before year end. Co-founder and president Paul Bloch said: “We started hiring ex-Tintri team members weeks before knowing the outcome of the Tintri auction and made large investments in what became a very successful VMworld trade show in August. We thought that something as great as Tintri had to be preserved for its customers no matter what.”

A new product roadmap will be announced within 90 days, with DDN wanting to expand the product portfolio in areas such as predictive analytics, virtualized environment acceleration and efficient provisioning, database enhancements, NVMe support and storage platform expansion.

DDN Co-founder and CEO Alex Bouzari.

DDN Co-founder and CEO Alex Bouzari issued a quote: “The acquisition of Tintri strengthens and expands DDN’s position as a leading storage provider for on premise and hybrid cloud environments.” He said Tintri has “analytics with predictive, efficient and intuitive insight for virtualised environments and databases.”

Tintri has, according to DDN, software for “server virtualization, DevOps and VDI. Capabilities include 10X speed up of VM migration, cloning and refresh of terabyte-sized databases within seconds, storage vMotion enablement with zero load on the host, and handling of thousands of VMs in a single datastore.”

It says the entire Tintri product line is immediately available for purchase from Tintri by DDN, including the EC6000 and T1000 all-flash arrays and the hybrid flash T800 series. Unified management is provided through Tintri Global Center and real-time and predictive analytics is provided via Tintri Analytics.


Now the hard work begins, with Tintri a corpse found to be still breathing moments before burial. DDN will pour money into the business, of course, but will, as we’re sure it does, have a clear idea of what went wrong before and an oversight and management system in place to prevent it happening again.

We should get a sight of the product roadmap, hopefully, in early December and that should provide indications of Tintri’s hardware and software future.