Aug 15, 2016

A new boss for Pure Storage in France

Pure Storage (www.purestorage.com | NYSE:PSTG), has decided to recruit a new country manager and Laurent Martini was chosen. He will join the company very soon to continue the momentum started a few quarters ago. With 15 years at Veritas then Symantec then Veritas again and recently Managing Director of France, Laurent will be for sure a great asset for Pure Storage in France. As Pure Storage has a strong Veritas DNA, this choice confirms links, roots and needs. Congratulations for the company and Laurent.

Aug 3, 2016

IT Press Tour #20 - Special Israel Edition

The IT Press Tour (www.itpresstour.com) is ready for a new evolution and a tour in Israel invited by many storage vendors to visit the country and R&D centers to feel the power of innovation especially in Storage. Next November, the IT Press Tour team will visit and meet a few data storage and services companies to better understand their technologies and market approaches. 3 of them are completely new with even no detailed web page such Weka.io, I revealed NooBaa in a recent Top News on StorageNewsletter and published one of the first article about Iguaz.io. The other companies are super strong with key leadership position on the market - CTera Networks is a reference in Cloud based | connected- storage, Kaminario is a All-Flash Array top choice and Reduxio Systems, more recent, wishes to change the storage approach with a new primary storage offering with key data protection capabilities. We add a confidential name unable to mention it right now, so please come back to the tour home page in a few weeks close to the event to discover who will be behind.

Jul 13, 2016

E8 Storage to lead the new NVMf wave

E8 Storage (www.e8storage.com), future leader of the new generation of storage arrays based on NVMe over fabrics, aka NVMf, recently participated to the IT Press Tour end of June and Zivan Ori, CEO and co-founder, based in Israel has made the trip to meet the press team. For references, I already wrote 2 times about E8 Storage and I invite to read May and early July posts.
First let me refresh minds with company info. E8 has less than 2 years of existence, funded in November 2014, having raised so far 2 rounds for a total of $18M from Accel - where we did the meeting in Palo Alto - , Vertex and Magma. The company splits responsibilities between Tel-Aviv for R&D and Santa Clara for Product, Marketing and Management. Zivan Ori came from IBM XIV and previously from Stratoscale with a strong background in software engineering and security. Alex Friedman, CTO and co-founder, came from XIV as well and Valentin Ossman, VP Product Management, came from PMC-Sierra, who co-present the session with Zivan.
To illustrate the shift in the demand for a new storage array approach, Zivan uses the famous RPC - Reliability, Performance and Cost - model also known as the 3P - Protection, Performance and Price. The RPC model was used to position local SSD, AFA, NVMf/JBOD and rack scale HW with also market needs and we realize that all these approaches has limited answers and don't solve all problems.
E8 insists on 2 dimensions - IOPS and TCO - of the solution and the slide #13 illustrates the result against AFA such XtremIO or Pure Storage and PCIe SSD. In 2 words: 10x performance and half the TCO. Wow super promising. Even the product was not available at the time of the presentation, it will be launched in less than one month at Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, specifications and characteristics were of course shared with us, here is an overview with this slide.


In addition, NVMe provides several advantages:
  • Low latency,
  • High Bandwidth and high IOPS,
  • Reduced CPU loads,
  • Device consolidation with high components density
We understand that E8 will shake the industry established position very soon now and the battle is on among the few new players such Apeiron, Mangstor, DSSD, Excelero and even AFA leader like Kaminario. Interesting again that this new storage development comes again from new and small dedicated actors not big ones that are just followers, again...

Jul 12, 2016

New release for StorPool

StorPool (www.storpool.com), a block SDS gem I discovered a few years ago and who has participated to the IT Press Tour in June 2014, just announced its last product release. Release after release, StorPool makes progress optimizing CPU consumption, increasing IOPS here by 30% and now able to support capacity beyond 1PB. The key thing about such product is how a user can integrate and use it. StorPool understands for a long time that the ecosystem is one of the key of the adoption and with that release, CloudStack is added alongside OpenStack, OnApp, LVM (hopefully) and LXC and Docker. Also among various new features, the SDS engine is now capable to manage 20,000 volumes and snapshots per cluster, a single volume can reach 30TB and larger ones can be created with LVM and performance got boosted. I just need to comment that there is no mention of throughput (GB/s) and no release number is associated with this new flavor of the product.

Jul 11, 2016

Versity develops a new Scale-Out File System

Versity Software (www.versity.com), innovator in data archiving software, announced during the last IT Press Tour a new project and initiative with the design of a Scale-Out File System. With a strong DNA in file system with 2 successful products - QFS and SAM-FS during the LSC time - Harriet Coverston, CTO and co-founder of Versity, has designed a new solution to address new storage challenges. The 2 challenges met are related to the scaling of Posix file systems and the scaling of archiving applications and the solution imagined by Harriet seems to be a new open source file system. The solution developed for 8 months will be beta in 4 months and GA before the end of 2016 with a new name and real launch. A good idea for the December IT Press Tour for sure.

Jul 5, 2016

Kaminario will accelerate very soon

Kaminario (www.kaminario.com), ambassador of the full Flash Data Center, organized a super session at Sequoia Capital during the last IT Press Tour, and unveiled several interesting initiatives and products features. Dani Golan, founder and CEO, and Shachar Fienblit, CTO, have managed a very good session.
Kaminario, known as a leader of the All Flash Array segment, is also synonymous of high performance with historically one of the fastest array available on the market, perfect for high demanding environment such trading floor, "real-time" database, online ticketing system for airlines...
Founded in 2010, the company combines several key attributes to accelerate market success. Among them, the exec team has a strong dna and the technology built, supported by dozens of patents, is well recognized and respected by the competition. And last point, important to notice, the VCs who backed the company are super strong ones, globally Kaminario has raised $153M. The current track record is impressive with several key metrics and ratio in green light such revenue growth, partners numbers, customers satisfaction and employee. We understand that the company is in an important investment phase thanks to a new marketing positioning and effort to be consider not only for high demanding environments but also for general storage needs with large flash market adoption. Kaminario clearly wants a piece of that growing cake. The sales model also is simplified with a 100% channel focus easy to decrypt and to avoid any conflict in the sales cycle. As of today the company has 200 partners with a clear guarantee of the best margin of the market.
The mission of Kaminario is still the same but a bit different, instead of doing the fastest storage array, the company goal os to deliver the best storage array, again aligned with the wish to be consider more global for almost use cases. To facilitate Kaminario consideration for more large use cases, the company positions itself now with 2 key dimensions: Predictability and Agility in various ares such cost, management, performance, scalability and innovation. The design choice made with K2 as a Software-Defined Architecture helps to integrate new components pretty fast such new processing engine, new devices or new interfaces. Kaminario also does not recommend a specific topology and for some use cases scale-up if the right choice and for other the scale-out is a better one. K2 can be configured in these 2 modes and of course a mixed of the 2 to scale in both dimensions.
Dani Golan, Founder and CEO, explaining some key K2 advantages
We feel a new wave at Kaminario with a desire to accelerate in the next few months. I will cover that future directions with a report on Shachar Fienblit's section of the presentation in a few days, especially on 3D NAND and NVMe.


Jul 1, 2016

E8 Storage promotes NVMe over fabrics

E8 Storage (www.e8storage.com), innovator in low latency storage, has driven and delivered an interesting SNIA tutorial "High Availability for Centralized NVMe" during the last DSI conference mid June. Zivan Ori, CEO and co-founder of E8 Storage, did a tough exercice to cover a topic and not to do any promotion for its own product that play in this segment, aligned with SNIA rules to present a neutral tutorial. The idea of this talk was to introduce the need for HA when you consider a centralized NVMe storage array, like in the past SAN storage array, but here with the constraint of the latency, that changes the solution.

Zivan Ori, CEO and co-founder, E8 Storage
NVMe drives, introduced in 2014, has very limited deployment models usually embedded in servers or laptops in a DAS classic way. In that case, NVMe drives are super fast with very low latency. Even with some problems and challenges like redundancy and resiliency to name one key point, NVMe is still very interesting especially when you consider sharing drives between servers. But now, when you do that, the remote latency diverges from local one I mean when the drive was locally attached. Second point is about pooling NMVe drives in a shared array with the bandwidth/throughput explosion challenge. The obvious idea would be to connect a NVMe array via a SAN but immediately we found 2 problems with the I/O stack and the storage network. For these reasons the industry has worked, specified and published in June an official specification of NVMe over fabric aka NVMf. The key component here is RDMA available on IB, Ethernet named ROCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) or TCP/IP. But this NVMf approach solves only half of the problem only the latency challenge with remote NVMe drives but not the resiliency and other features represented by the I/O stack. To solve that, 2 choices exist:
  1. implement data services on the host with a sort of very thin storage agent. It allows scale-out offering with a SDS model with features implemented outside the array, the logic is running on the host. But some questions exist such coordination between agents et still the resiliency of the platform. But among the 2 modes, this one is the most scalable of course.
  2. run these in the controller itself that make possible only scale-up products pretty similar to "classic" controller-based storage appliance and as mentioned you scale "behind" the controller.

The page 25 of the presentation below shows a good table that compares the 2 modes. Data Centers are evolving and NVMe and NVMf are a reality with different offerings on the market, each promoting its own value and differentiator. If you wish to read some vendors collateral, go to Apeiron Data Systems, DSSD, E8 Storage, Excelero, Kaminario, Mangstor or Mellanox.

Jun 28, 2016

Backblaze B2 is GA with interesting partners

Backblaze (www.backblaze.com), the famous consumer backup provider, continues to iterate its Cloud offering and now officially announces B2 as GA. The company already participated to 2 IT Press Tour and they were recently invited by OpenIO to jointly announced their partnership covering Hybrid Cloud. First let me summarize what is B2 to then introduce OpenIO integration.
B2 is a Cloud Storage offering like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage or Microsoft Azure at a fraction of the cost i.e $0.005/GB/month. It is easy to use via 3 methods: WebUI with drag and drop, API integration with dedicated product and CLI.


OpenIO is the only Backblaze partner dedicated to enterprise, service providers or cloud providers and the product supports natively now with the 16.07 release the option to migrate data (it's a move) to a new storage tier, cloud based, represented by B2. It means that OpenIO did the job to integrate the B2 API additionally to the tiering logic implemented in the storage policy. OpenIO is deployed on-premise and users can integrate an external cloud tier completely transparently. The namespace is fully maintained by OpenIO, acting as an in-band logic via a specific gateway service, and the application never interacts directly with Backblaze B2.



Interesting for both companies, OpenIO receives a new argument for US presence and penetration and same from Backblaze not yet present in Europe as the only data center is in Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento, in California. But as of today, I'm not convinced that European OpenIO clients will migrate content to California-based B2 center via the internet... With this announcement, Backblaze also supports 4 other partners - CloudBerry Lab, Cyberduck, Dropshare and Synology - as source of traffic for B2 meaning that this a SMB or departemental play. These 5 partners have made some commitment and integration with the B2 API but I'm still don't understand why B2 didn't pick Amazon S3, the only viable cloud storage interface and API.


--
"S3 is the De Facto Cloud Storage Standard serving as the backbone for 90% of today's web companies.
In 2 words, the game is over globally.
--

With S3, immediately and by default users will be able to send traffic to B2, generate revenue and penetrate the market. For further info and even wish to integrate B2, please refer to https://www.backblaze.com/b2/cloud-storage.html page with step-by-step guide, examples or codes.
Is it a try for a few months, is it a choice to control traffic and avoid any overload to the infrastructure ? Still a mystery. But, choosing a specific API late after S3, just new with no market presence is super risky. I let you imagine the success of the solution if only 5% of each installed base from these 5 partners will extend usage with B2... So in 2 words, I wish and expect that Backblaze will move rapidly to S3 to boost the market adoption.

Jun 24, 2016

Noobaa super simple scalable S3 storage for masses

NooBaa (www.noobaa.com), a new storage Israeli ISV, continues its incremental visibility effort on the market. I had the privilege to meet Yuval Dimnik, CEO and co-founder, and Mike Davis, CMO, a few days ago in Palo Alto for a briefing. The first feeling I had was great as they plan to introduce a real new storage animal to the market. Let me summarize what I learned without telling any secret as the web site already exists. First, NooBaa has a strong DNA in storage and networking with many leaders having worked for Exanet, NooBaa's CEO and Guy Margalit, CTO, have worked there. The company, today with approximately 15 people and a HQ in Boston and R&D center in Rehovot in Israel, was founded in 2013 and is backed by JVP and Ourcrowd for an unknown amount, OurCrowd has ingested $934,504. The product they design and develop belongs to the object storage category with key differentiators, it is a full SDS philosophy dedicated to unstructured data.


NooBaa product is a pure software approach, offering only S3 interface running on any compute resource available anywhere supporting heterogeneous network-driven and shared storage entities. The product offers also deduplication with a sliding window technique, compression, encryption and replication to protect data with by default 3 copies. Erasure coding is on the roadmap. NooBaa uses a asymmetric model with side metadata servers and data servers acting as chunk servers. Metadata servers use MongoDB. The demo the team has made was super efficient having demonstrated how it is easy and fast to deploy, run and operate. Just 15 minutes and we played with the system, ingest some data, stream a video. The pricing has 2 modes: Freemium and then a pay-per-user subscription base on real used capacity (real capacity for one data copy). The product is in Beta mode and should be GA early 2017. Great first feeling with the team and a super promising product, lots of potential and real interesting ideas.

Jun 22, 2016

Cloudian is the real S3 leader

Cloudian (www.cloudian.com), the best On-premise S3 Cloud Storage, did a fantastic presentation yesterday at the IT Press Tour. The business path for the company is pretty impressive with bookings multiplied by 3, no churn at all, 90% win ratio and some recent super deals beating some competitors that move to the marketing side of the market. All these success is the result of a superb recruitment and a precise market strategy, thanks to Paul Turner, John Ash and of course Michael Tso, among others. One of the top recent news is the oem agreement with Lenovo, who finally even with an implicit link with IBM, has chosen Cloudian. The key reason for that is simple: Cloudian is the best S3 product for on-premise cloud storage, with S3 the de-facto market standard. For Lenovo and end-users, standards are fundamental and help for the adoption.

Michael Tso - CEO and co-founder Cloudian
The second advantage of Cloudian versus the competition is the development and positioning of the platform promoting a new SDS acronym i.e Smart Data Storage with 3 dimensions behind it: Smart Storage Operations, Smart Storage Platform and Smart Storage Analytics. HyperStore is a very comprehensive storage platform, available as a software or as an appliance, and from the PAM - Protect Access and Manage - criteria, is among the few best ones.
When Cloudian needs to develop new feature, they adopt a common sense attitude and the company understands for a long time that the differentiator is not only the feature itself but the recognized technology behind it with a time to market dimension. Cassandra and Redis are 2 good examples for that, Cloudian uses the first DB solution for metadata and the second one for user credentials. Among the long list of new features, here is an extract:
  • Now for the metadata search, Cloudian has integrated ElasticSearch within the product and everything is masked for a superb result.
  • Same thing for the Analytics part with the integration of Spark. These 2 examples are also good illustrations of the power of open source at scale.
  • Storage policies at the bucket level.
  • QoS and Secure Storage with alignement with some regulations needs plus Authorization and Authentication methods such ACL...
  • We had the privilege during the session to receive a demo of the product, the GUI is just a beauty, super intuitive and very easy to use. There is also a panel with an hardware view where you can see the physical reality of different components, super useful when there is a failure especially when the cluster is big, very big.
  • Cloudian has also an interesting rolling upgrade method, provides a pro-active disk repair mechanism with Read-On-Repair operation and Smart Redirect during writes. HyperStore offers a Smart Disk Balancing mechanism to optimize the balancing period and address new available resources faster.
  • They also provide a Cloud to Cloud copy i.e HyperStore to HyperStore or HyperStore to AWS.
  • As a true believer of the ecosystem, I was instrumental in the success of some companies with that kind of program I built, Cloudian has made a good demo with CommVault Simpana via S3 and Veeam via NFS, super simple to operate.
  • Now in term of support, Cloudian has introduced a continuous monitoring solution named HyperStore Smart Support, a service pretty similar to Nimble Storage InfoSight that finally serves as a reference for many implementations and vendors. The service seems to be also very comprehensive and is also integrated with Salesforce.
It was a good session, we feel and saw progress made by Cloudian in many aspects: product, operation, sales, strategy... definitely one of the top object storage solutions of the market, no doubt.