Jul 29, 2015

Datrium is now out of stealth

Datrium (www.datrium.com) is out of stealth just a few weeks before VMworld and they will be a sponsor there. I wrote an early post 2 years ago in July 2013 (in french sorry) that anticipated a few things. The company, backed by NEA, Lightspeed Ventures Partners and famous individuals such Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Edouard Bugnion, Frank Slootman and Kai Li, and launched in 2012 by former executives from Data Domain (Brian Biles and Hugo Patterson), EMC (Sazzala Reddy), VMware (Boris Weissman and Ganesh Venkitachalam) and NetApp, shows a strong DNA in virtualization and Storage. Coupled together, we can expect great things, honestly when you disrupt the storage industry with dedup and associated log structured file system, plus deep ESX hypervisor knowledge with key engineers from VMware, the result should be good, at least very interesting with lot of promises. Let's dig a bit to discover what Datrium brings to the market.
Datrium just announced their product, DVX, which is different from storage array and hyper-converged servers. DVX approach introduced an interesting logical architecture with 2 components working closely together: stateless servers and a back-end appliance, all operating the DiESL software:
  • Stateless servers or DVX hosts are classic servers (2 x86 cpus core minimum and 5GB RAM) running VMware 5.5 Update 2. These servers provide local storage and act as a cache and must offer 2.5GB of RAM per TB of SSD. The maximum SSD capacity per server is 8TB for 8 SSDs maximum. Users can plug their own SSD as soon as the HW is validated by VMware meaning listed on the HCL. These systems operate local data services such as data deduplication, caching, RAID...
  • Netshelf is the back-end appliance used for data durability, it is connected to all stateless servers via a 10Gb networks and a proprietary protocol. This system is a 2U server and embeds HDD storage for a total of 29TB useable, in fact with 2-6x data reduction factor, virtual volume can store up to 58-175TB of data. Netshelf provides NVRAM for fast-writes and an active/passive mode for HA.
  • DiESL - Distributed Execution, Shared Logs - is the core software of DVX. It's a distributed file system invented by Datrium that spans the Netshelf appliance and DVX hosts.
Externally DVX is seen and exposed as a NFS Datastore, still the easiest way to integrate VMs, and managed via vCenter plugin. Scalability evolves in 2 dimensions: capacity and performance and one doesn't dictate the other. DVX includes 1 Netshelf appliance and an unlimited number of stateless server license, unlimited on the paper of course.

Datrium DVX is a new storage approach exposed as a scalable file storage based on a multi-tier model mixing SSD and HDD for virtual environment with intelligent data services. It represents an new iteration in many various new solutions and players that we've seen for many quarters now. We'll see and meet them at VMworld in a few weeks and I will comment again soon the solution.

Jul 16, 2015

outpace.IO to bring second life for AoE

outpace.IO (www.outpace.io) just emerged from stealth mode to promote Ethernet Storage based on ATA over Ethernet aka AoE. For sure everyone remember Coraid, the pioneer in that space, with a technology invented by Brantley Coile and for the french side, Alyseo the french early adopter and distributor of their solutions. Alyseo was and is still a real believer in AoE. Brantley Coile also restarted some activities around AoE and you can visit his web site - EtherDrive.com - about it and read my post last may. Yacine Kheddache and his long time colleagues are still strong believer in AoE and how the technology can solve several IT challenges. This is one of the reason, outpace.IO was launched to restart a new AoE wave.
In fact, Coraid had a very hot period, super fast growth and real customer base - around 1700 customers - really satisfied by the offering. This was under the leadership of Kevin Brown who transformed the company as a strong alternative storage player. But things have changed, investors made some management changes and the wall was hit rapidly unable to deliver the new vision to finally close doors early 2015.
utpace.IO, launched by former Alyseo people and a few others key people strong in AoE space, is now on a mission to promote actively AoE with 3 products:
  • A series correspond to a classic Ethernet Disk Array exposed with an AoE connection available for Linux environment (Coraid AoE was based on Plan 9),
  • F series as a FPGA based implementation to reduce footprint and boost performance, perfect for vertical industry and
  • Z series an OpenZFS file storage solution built on Ethernet Disk Array.
outpace.IO pushes actively a whole storage architecture based on AoE for block and file as shown in the image below. There is a good opportunity to catch many of the past customers of Coraid, develop new use cases and extend the standard. At the same time, the company promoted OpenAoE as the core group to validate specification and standard direction. Good luck guys.

Jul 13, 2015

Delphix raised a new round

Delphix (www.delphix.com), leader in structured data governance what the company named Data-as-a-Service, just announced a new VC round at $75M for a total of almost $120M from Fidelity Management and Research, Credit Suisse, The Kraft Group and existing investors such Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Icon Ventures. This new round boosts the market valuation for Delphix and breaks the $1B barrier. The company is now on the path for an IPO next year, no doubt.
The new round marks a new dimension for the company with an aggressive growth plan in all geos for sales and marketing. Recently Delphix appeared in the leader portion of the Gartner Magic Quadrant about Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement.

Jul 10, 2015

Basho uses CRDTs

Basho Technologies (www.basho.com), leader in NoSQL, made an interesting comment during the last IT Press Tour about CRDT - Conflict-free Replicated Data Type - introduced by March Shapiro several years ago. The company introduced with KV 2.0 a new set of data types inspired by CRDTs: flags, registers, counters, sets and maps. This demonstrates the leading position of Basho in distributed development and environment.

Jul 9, 2015

NexGen Storage leads the SME pack

NexGen Storage (www.nexgenstorage.com), an innovator in mid-range storage array, continues to move quickly with several announcements in recent months. Met recently during the 15th IT Press Tour, NexGen introduced some interesting new features for its N5 hybrid flash array.
NexGen was spun-off from SanDisk a few months ago but took advantage of this period at Fusion-io then at SanDisk to double the R&D team, introduce 3 major software release and grow the installed base with several hundreds of customers. Wow.
Before touching the new capabilities, let me summarize briefly what NexGen offers. The vendor designs, builds and sells through channels hybrid disk array based on PCIe Flash and HDDs for the SMB/SME market. NexGen N5 arrays exist in 4 configurations as the following table describes.

One of the top features that defines NexGen is the QoS function, very granular, that dynamically maintain speed, reduce latency and give priority to some workloads. In fact, the idea is to provide a mechanism to efficiently place data on storage based on their value and of course linked to applications' needs. And to protect these arrays, snapshot and replication can be scheduled to strengthen the data storage farm.
With the new ioControl 3.5, NexGen introduces a new capability, the VM-level QoS designed for vSphere Virtual Volumes and PCIe Flash. the New QoS also eliminates the use of Storage vMotion. A new management console is also unveiled - QoS Manager - integrated to VMware vSphere GUI as a plug-in. The new QoS model is clearly a key feature in a VM environment. At the same time, the software is ready for the next wave with the introduction and support of NVMe instead of SAS/SATA interface.

NexGen is back with a clear and comprehensive features set, we'll see during VMworld some demos about these new capabilities.

Jul 7, 2015

Basho, a scalable data platform

Basho Technologies (www.basho.com), an innovator in distributed database, participated recently to the IT Press Tour last June and made a very good refresh of their portfolio and company history and background. Founded in 2008 and inventor of Riak, a distributed database, Basho leverages the large market adoption to address different needs with variety of Riak. In EMEA, the expansion is driven from London and 40% of total company bookings come from Europe. Riak KV is the famous NoSQL database and Riak S2 for Simple Storage, renamed from Cloud Storage, is the object storage offering built on KV. Basho has more than 200 customers worldwide. With a new team on board for several months now, we feel a new wave at Basho with new initiatives and product development. Same root as other distributed database approaches, all came from internal development made by internet giants that didn't dedicate VC money to buy expensive Oracle DB and didn't find any commercial products that matched their demanding needs. Scalability was and is one of the top difficult attribute to deliver. The capability to scale horizontally the data structure is for several years a de-facto standard with the capability to anticipate failures with proactive mechanisms: the resiliency of the whole system is a key attribute.
In term of product, Basho, like a few other players, uses a ring topology aka as a master less or symmetric architecture. With a ring scalability and high availability are immediately solved. For data protection as Riak KV is a distributed DB, the replication with 3 copies is used to ensure maximum durability of data. The ring model offers a near-linear scalability able to deliver a predictable response time and workloads as nodes number increases. The other good point for Basho is the open development environment with various APIs and Clients in multiple languages. Riak S2 is the new name of Cloud Storage, built on KV, with the capability to split files in 1MB chunks. Each S2 nodes streams chunks to KV nodes.
Recently, Basho made a new iteration with the introduction of the Basho Data Platform with clear services models and instances with Riak KV and S2 but also a new one to be introduced in the future. The services instances will be things such Spark, Solr or Redis and the storage instances are KV or S2. Between these 2 layers, Riak Core Services offer multiple features such replication and synchronization, message routing, cluster management or logging. The idea behind the data platform is to offer a base layer with advanced services for enterprise data applications.

Jul 3, 2015

Cloud Compute, a new innovation from Avere Systems

Avere Systems (www.averesys.com), pioneer in file storage acceleration, met the IT Press Tour group a few days ago for a deep refresh of their product and market strategy. Ron Bianchini, Founder and CEO, reintroduced the company and we clearly understood the shift the company made some time ago towards the Cloud. Let me rewind a bit the story, historically, the company was founded in 2008 to provide NAS acceleration for already deployed NAS. With AOS 1.0 introduced in 2010, the main idea was to place between NAS clients and installed NAS servers a new device - the Avere filer - to boost IOs. Client side protocols are maintained if needed with NFS and SMB with just NFS between Avere and back-end NAS filers. Filled with Flash/SSD devices, the addition of Avere protects the investment and gives a new life to filers and file servers without the new to change the full stack. Avere named their edge filer FXT and finally introduce a second prefix for back-end NAS devices: Core NAS filers. In 2011 with AOS 2.0, Avere introduced the Global Namespace capability, and in 2013 with AOS 3.0, 2 key features were unveiled: FlashMove and FlashMirror to complete a pretty rich features set. But this is really in March 2014 that Avere jumped into the cloud with the support of AMZN S3, the real beginning of their object storage support as back-end devices, in fact the start of Avere's Cloud Storage story with a gateway approach. In that case, the Core filer is replaced by the object storage solution. Later in October 2014, the company added a key second dimension to the cloud with the Cloud Compute approach, this is available with AOS 4.5.

The Cloud Compute mode gives to Avere a key and unique differentiator, no other vendor, as far as I know, is able to deliver such configuration without any deep application integration. With Avere application integration is reduced to 0 as the client access date with standard file sharing protocols. This is also possible thanks to Avere Virtual FXT able to be deployed in the Cloud to build a very flexible and scalable solution with compute on-prem and/or in the cloud with storage on-prem and/or in the cloud as well. For on-demand and peak workloads, this is just what users expect for a long time. With AOS 4.5 and Clod Compute capability, Avere has a the possibility to disrupt the market.

Jul 1, 2015

Delphix France is launched

Delphix (www.delphix.com), leader in data governance for structured data, just recruited its country manager for France. Jose Martins, now on board, demonstrated his sales leadership during his tenure at Ipanema, BMC with the acquisition of Blade Logic and IBM with Ascential Software. Delphix is now ready to take off rapidly in France with a strong sales DNA leader.

Jun 30, 2015

With WOS 360 v2, DDN maintains leadership

DDN Storage (www.ddn.com), the independent leader in storage for demanding environments, just announced WOS 360 in version 2. During the last IT Press Tour edition, the 15th last week, Alex Bouzari, CEO, and Molly Rector, CMO, spent some time to cover this key announcement for the company. Introduced early 2014, WOS 360 was a tentative to offer a pure software approach for the classic hardware-based object storage solution. WOS is very recognized by the market and fits perfectly in their product line, representing an active data tier for data preservation and remote/geo access. Last year, DDN introduced Global ObjectAssure (GOA), 2 new appliances dedicated to Archive and Performance needs and more recently the availability of a S3 gateway.
Now WOS 360 v2 is a key milestone with:
  • a Capacity appliance with 768TB in 4U thanks to 96x 8TB SMR HDD SATA, 2x 10Gb/s network ports and 8B objects per box,
  • a new OpenStack Swift API support available as gateway or embedded, supporting 5000 users and 5B objects per namespace,
  • a flexible deployment model with gateway for data access but also native implementation at the WOS node level,
  • a new overhead ratio for GOA supporting node, site and/or disks failures for a ratio of 1.5 coming from 1.88 in the previous release. 1.5 ratio is obtained with 2 layers of erasure coding with 5+1 coupled with 8+2. GOA also supports now up to 6 sites.
  • security with full SSL from client to storage node and between WOS nodes.
  • a drastic latency reduction for demanding application such video streaming.
  • an easy of deployment and maintenance to deploy the cluster in just a few minutes.
  • and finally some improvements in the integration between GRIDScaler and WOS.
With that release DDN demonstrates again its leadership in a very competitive market segment, we'll see how competition will react to WOS 360 v2.

Jun 24, 2015

New leader for DB archiving Gartner MQ

Delphix (www.delphix.com), leader in data governance, belongs now to the leader part of the Gartner Magic Quadrant about Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement with Informatica, IBM, Solix and HP. It represents a huge progress and validation of all development made for several years now for Delphix. Congratulations to Delphix team, Jed's promise will be true soon: become the leader in Structured Data Goverance.
Informatica is still well positioned thanks to Applimation technology acquired in 2009, IBM with Princeton Softech in 2007 and HP with OuterBay acquisition as well in 2006 that kicked-off the wave. Same thing for Teradata that appeared here with RainStor solutions, acquisition made late 2014.
2015 is a key year for that segment and we'll anticipate a rapid move of Delphix to the top right. Except Solix, all 3 players have to deal with development inertia...