Verge.io’s technology creates nested, multi-tenant, virtual datacenters for enterprises and MSPs from hyperconverged infrastructure servers. Back in the HCI glory days before 2018, it was known as Yottabyte and lauded as a potential giant killer. Now this minnow survives as Verge.io, still fighting the software-defined datacenter (SDDC) fight but making less of a wave.
Yottabyte was founded in 2010 by VP of technology Greg Campbell, along with President and CEO Paul E Hodges III, and principal Duane Tursi, all based in Michigan. Campbell drove the vCenter software research and development to create an SDDC layer that sat atop commodity servers fitted out for compute, storage, and software-defined networking, formed them into resource pools, and composed them into an SDDC. The systems could scale out, with storage scaling up as well for archive capacity.
Around that time commentators became enthused about its prospects, not least Trevor Pott in The Register who talked about Infrastructure Endgame machines in 2015, saying: “The end of IT as we know it is upon us. Decades of hype, incremental evolution and bitter disappointment are about to come to an end as the provisioning of IT infrastructure is finally commoditised.”
Pott said of Yottabyte: “The result of years of this R&D is yCenter. It can be a public cloud, a private cloud or a hybrid cloud. Yottabyte has gone through and solved almost all the tough problems first – erasure coded storage, built-in layer 2 and 3 networking extensibility, management UI that doesn’t suck – and is only now thinking about solving the easy ones.”
Alas, HCI didn’t kill off conventional IT infrastructure and its proponents were bought by larger suppliers such as HPE, or crashed and burned. Just Dell, Nutanix, and VMware dominate the field these days, followed at some distance by HPE, Cisco and Scale Computing.
Yottabyte formed a partnership with the University of Michigan in late 2016 to build the Yottabyte Research Cloud for use by academic researchers.
A video talks about the university’s Advanced Computing Research Division using Yottabyte “to provide thousands of secure, compliant virtual data centers that house some of the world’s most advanced medical research data.”
The beauty of the SDDC software was that entire datacenters could be moved with button clicks from one platform to another, or cloned for another bunch of tenants or a department or an MSP customer.
Exec churn and name change
A period of exec churn ensued. Between 2017-2018, Yottabyte was renamed Verge.io with Campbell becoming CTO. Tursi changed from a principal to an advisor in February 2018 and quit that role in March 2019. Michael Aloe was SVP sales and operations from April 2017, becoming COO in 2018, but he’d left by October 2019. Matt Wenzler became CEO in January 2020 but exited September 2021, when Yan Ness took over. Kathy Fox became CFO in July last year and Chris Lehman SVP of sales in December 2021.
Verge.io does not have a history of VC funding. This means it has not had that fierce boardroom presence of investors driving it to refine its product and market positioning. And now the HCI market boom is over. The SDDC concept is dominated by VMware, also Nutanix, and is less x86 centric with GPU servers for AI and large-scale analytics, specific AI processor developments, and DPU/SmartNIC technology for composability.
Against this background, Verge.io now has software that is clean and elegant and easy to use but possibly too capable, in its niche, and too restricted to be of widespread use.
The Verge.io software is a datacenter OS based on a QEMU/KVM hypervisor which can have Linux and Windows guests. This OS can create multiple virtual datacenters, with multi-tenancy, which can be nested, using compute, storage, and network servers from the resource pools. The storage is a vSAN (block) and a NAS (files) using blockchain technology. It is encrypted, supports global deduplication, and has built in snapshotting and recovery.
The storage software supports silent data corruption detection and recovery, multi-site synchronisation, and disaster recovery through site failover. It supports storage tiers for different workloads – NVMe SSDs, SAS and SATA SSDs, and hard disk drives. System management has ML and AI features, and it’s claimed a sysadmin generalist can manage Verge.io virtual datacenters.
The pitch is that “Verge.io is one single, powerful, thin piece of software that replaces many disparate vendors and orchestration challenges. It’s just one SKU, one bill, one dashboard, one API managed by generalist IT staff.” It has pay-per-use consumption billing.
Customers get much reduced capex, more operational efficiencies, and rapid scalability.