June 4, 2019

The unstructured data catalog from Data Dynamics

A good surprise of the IT Press Tour this week comes from Data Dynamics who markets StorageX, the famous Network File Virtualization product born at NuView then acquired by Brocade in 2006 for $60M.

Data Dynamics continues to penetrate enterprise landscape with 26 Fortune 100 companies, 6 of 12 world's largest banks and operating 350PB+ over 17 years of technology market presence. It means that the technology is reliable, proven, well adopted and span multiple technology waves and refreshes. We realize that StorageX lasts longer than the storage it manages and for a simple reason data lifecycle is longer that the hardware device where it resides.

We had the privilege to meet Piyush Mehta, CEO of Data Dynamics, now owner of StorageX since 2012, and got an interesting update on the product and future directions.

About the product, StorageX is one of the most comprehensive file data controller based on a very advanced metadata engine. However it suffers from a lack of visibility on the market.

It operates as a global file directory service for on-premises file servers and NAS like DNS plays for Internet. The slide above illustrates the features set of the product around the analysis of the unstructured data environment.

StorageX leverages a SQL database for several years, StorageX integrates now Elastic search and NoSQL engine when analytics and archives modules are enabled, for storing meta data collected and the tagging that drives categorization and intelligence into the data. This information can be accessed via StorageX UI, API or directly via Elastic.

In term of deployments, StorageX serve receives data from UDE - Universal Data Engine - collectors running on-premises. As a pure software, StorageX doesn't require agents, gateway or stubs.

With the 8.1 release, several new features were introduced:
  • Analyze: optimized file scan and analytics powered by Elasticsearch plus the capability to perform query search to create custom datasets for effective data analytics and reporting,
  • Move: support added for Microsoft Azure Blog meaning that StorageX adds object storage target,
  • Manage: Integration added for 3rd-party monitoring tools plus enabled data grooming for Cassandra,
  • Modernize: New API functions for business workflow integrations.
StorageX is also a key solution chosen and selected for the delivered proven ROI. The image below shows an example that illustrates perfectly generated savings.

The pricing model for all StorageX modules is based or capacity per year per account in addition to a StorageX engine fee.

We expect StorageX 9.0 soon with some interesting new features and product architecture. First in term of architecture, Piyush Mehta told us that the product will be redesigned with microservices for the core and edge i.e the data collectors. AI will be also included and security extended. The last addition will see content analysis to complement metadata knowledge, enhance policy engine and align with some compliance requirements. Very good session, hope to meet Data Dynamics for a future IT Press Tour to see progress.


June 3, 2019

DataCore ready for a new era

We met a few times DataCore several years ago at heir HQ in Fort Lauderdale and the company seemed to manage pretty well its installed base but had some difficulties to go beyond its storage virtualization comfort zone.

The meeting early today during The IT Press Tour was the opportunity to meet the new team, at least part of it, especially Dave Zabrowski, CEO, Gerardo Dada, CMO and Steven Hunt, Product Management.

But a sad event has changed completely DataCore. The death of Ziya Aral, Founder and CTO, and technical hero of the company, early 2017 was a shock and served as a real trigger for the company to imagine a new future wishing to leverage its strong recognized expertise for two decades. Ziya co-founded DataCore in 1998 with his close friend George Teixeira, now chairman of the company.

After several months of shaking heads, the new DataCore landed on earth again. As you may have seen for severals months, the company name is the same but the logo, mission, strategy and management have changed under the leadership of Dave Zabrowski, arrived in April 2018.

The company has made a serious exercise to study end-users and partners needs especially their customers to understand their expectations and above all consider them. First, a clear cloud strategy is missing as DataCore is an on-premise player so the public flavor was out of their scope. Does it mean they will announce something, we'll see. Considering this domain, the pricing strategy will require an change to match the now common practice which is a subscription model.

The second direction could be to leverage the SANsymphony SDS software and start an HCI offering. This needs a hypervisor choice and other software adherence.

We then expect of course a new iteration for SANsymphony and what about what a few others developed overtime like Nimble Storage InfoSight, Kaminario Clarity, NetApp OnCommand Insight or Pure Storage Pure1. I mean a SaaS Analytics an Insights platform to understand end-users' storage environment getting more and more complex and large. We'll see but we heard that DataCore have some plans on these few product directions.

May 27, 2019

The IT Press Tour #31 will hit earth soon

The IT Press Tour, the leading IT event for IT press, has recently unveiled participating companies for the 31st edition planned the week June 3rd in Silicon Valley.

Eleven companies will join the press crew, some of them are well established and we already met them and some participate for the first time:
  • Atempo, leader in data protection,
  • Data Dynamics, growing player in metadata management,
  • DataCore, pioneer in storage virtualization,
  • HYCU, fast growing actor in cloud data protection,
  • iXsystems, reference in open source-based systems and storage,
  • Kaminario, top vendor in flash storage and composable infrastructure,
  • ObjectiveFS, disruptor in cloud file storage,
  • Publist, emerging player in online file management,
  • Qumulo, famous leader in enterprise NAS,
  • StorONE, innovator in unified SDS,
  • and WekaIO, developer of the world fastest file system.
It will be again a dense week with hot technologies, great leaders and fast growing companies, the tour will shake the market again. I invite you to follow us with @ITPressTour, #ITPT, various publications and reporters Twitter handles.

May 24, 2019

Snowflake Slootman phase 1

First phase of the executives shuffle at Snowflake following Frank Slootman arrival just started. As I wrote recently for its nomination as CEO replacing Bob Muglia, Slootman already invited two of his old friends and colleagues, the legal and HR positions are now filled by Rob Specker and Shelly Begun respectively. The leadership page is a bit bizarre as 2 co-founders Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski disappear from it. Remember this is just phase 1, more is coming...

May 20, 2019

RStor opens European office

RStor, emerging multicloud platform vendor, just announced a new business extension with an European sales bureau in Genoa, Italy.

The company is a pretty unique IT player developing an interesting approach to enable IT services such compute, storage and network above the cloud. We met RStor team during the December IT Press Tour and we were impressed by the vision of the company.

The idea of RSor Cloud Services is to offer a convergence between public clouds and on-premises classic approaches by leveraging Equinix IBX data centers in US and Europe.

We understand the existence of a connection between RStor's CEO Giovanni Coglitore, also a few others, and the city. This office will be managed by Luca Gibelli who worked as Skylable and ClamAV. We'll see how things will go and extend during the new few quarters.

May 10, 2019

NAB Awards 2019

The recent NAB Show was a good edition as already stated in my recent report. The event has made a new awards series in different categories. In the storage one, we noticed these few ones, other are anecdotic:
  • EditShare for EFS Auditing. EFS is the ADFS* designed and built by EditShare.
  • Facilis for its new product line Hub Shared Storage. Facilis is also a developer of a proprietary ADFS.
  • Ardis for its DDP failover scale-out capability for also its ADFS again.
  • Rhode & Schwarz for the R&S Spycer Node an ADFS as well, this time based on IBM Spectrum Scale.
  • and Quantum for its new full NVMe block storage array.
It confirms that ADFS is a dominant file storage approach in Media & Entertainment.

* ADFS means Asymmetric Distributed File System.

May 2, 2019

Snowflake swaps its CEO, good or bad sign?

Snowflake, a leader in Cloud Data Warehouse, has just announced a new CEO replacing Bob Muglia with Frank Slootman who becomes also chairman.

This is a real surprise, Bob Muglia was CEO for five years. and under his leadership, the company had a hyper-growth and he secured from investors with his team more than $900M for a valuation today around $5B.

Bob Muglia, now past CEO of Snowflake, during an IT Press Tour session in June 2018
As many of us know, Frank Slootman is associated with two adventures beyond old ones, first Data Domain acquired by EMC in 2009 for $2.4B and ServiceNow with a successful $210M IPO in 2012. He has named his personal investment firm Invisible Hand, what a name with multiple meanings. Now he has to stop sailing around the world...

Apart insiders, no visible sign could be identified confirming the sudden info. The press release is associated with a board of directors message and both of them are pretty short and of course thank Bob Muglia. The now previous CEO speaks about the next level in the board of directors note. It happens one month before the very first Snowflake end-user conference scheduled early June.

But this moves invites us to wonder what is the rationale behind this important leader change. Does it illustrate a strategic divergence with IPO for some people, acquisition for others or a private independent journey for the last? For ones who wish to start to discuss, don't approach the team with less than $10B.

The other key question is who need Snowflake as a vendor? Google has BigQuery, AWS Redshift, Microsoft is behind with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Oracle and IBM suffer on this segment and Teradata has tough time moving from on-premise to cloud and a few others are anecdotic.

We hope this move won't weaken Snowflake as this event will mean change within the company, we'll see in the next quarters. We can expect Frank Slootman to invite again his band to join Snowflake as he did at ServiceNow following DD and Borland.

April 29, 2019

New fast storage array for Quantum

Quantum, a leader in secondary and capacity storage, announced recently the F-Series a new full NVMe storage array for intensive Media and Entertainment workload.

This first iteration is the F-2000 server which is fully redundant in active/active mode supporting 24 NVMe dual-ported drives in a 2U format from 46 to 184TB and it starts at $307k i.e around $6.6k/TB.

It is designed to work closely with StorNext, one of the leaders of file-based storage in the M7E industry.

This new F-Series NVMe storage arrays received two industry awards during the recent 2019 NAB Show: Best New Storage Technology winner in the 2019 NAB Show Product of the Year Awards and also received the ProductionHUB Award of Excellence.

April 26, 2019

Product Announcements during next Dell Technologies World

First day of Dell Technologies World 2019 and we have made our own selection among the news unveiled next week.

We are surprised by a few of them reflecting the ambiguous strategy and hesitations illustrating also the erosion of the vendor' on-premises business. Obviously, Dell has to react to the growth of the cloud business led by AWS, GCP and Azure followed by IBM, Oracle and of course China ones like AliCloud. This cloud wave promotes Software-Defined philosophy as it invites users to ignore any hardware locking and pick commodity servers whatever the brand is. We insist her on cloud, storage and data management announcements.

Cloud Platform and Service

This is a real surprise as finally Dell jumps into cloud services with cloud platforms with HCI, CI and other Dell components powered by VMware Cloud Foundation and VxRAIL. To limit the hardware erosion, the last chance for such vendor is to promote hybrid models between on-premises and public cloud instances. The key point here is we saw this marketing message for a few years from hardware vendors promoting this approach forgetting that the final decision is made by users based on their own advantage and needs not vendors' ones. Following AWS Outposts announcements at re:Invent conference in November 2018 and Google Cloud Platform Anthos at recent Google Cloud Next conference, Dell seems to copy that model, at least wishes. The company confirms as well Project Dimension unveiled last August and marketed by the blog post by Kit Colbert, CTO of the Platform Business Unit at VMware. The interesting sentence is the one at the end of the second paragraph in the Background part: "In other words, customers wanted the cloud experience, where infrastructure is delivered as-a-service, but they wanted it on-premises." I think users wish to reduce cost, maintain same level of service and even improve it and services will be a mixed of on-premises and cloud and even many of these services can migrate to the cloud as soon as the service and cost are good enough and deliver gains. And if you read carefully that post and understand Project Dimension, it’s about customize hardware at the factory so again something proprietary and what about all systems already deployed and used by users?

This Data Center as-a-Service is fully managed by Dell really capitalizes on VMware tool sets. We didn’t find any mention of Kubernetes on Dell EMC slides announcing the services, VMware Cloud Foundation web page and the blog post mentioned above. This is pretty amazing as we all know the de-facto status on the market of Kubernetes orchestration solution. But how the company can embrace Kubernetes intelligently having VMware product line in its own basket. Not easy for sure but many enterprises ask for it. Not mentioning Kubernetes when you cover cloud represents a strategy mistake as the vendor goes against an industry clear and now obvious move supported by hundreds of companies and cloud giants. Kubernetes means also cloud independence that is orthogonal with the proprietary world of VMware even if VMware is widely adopted. I told you, the key question is "how could the hardware erosion be limited or reduced?" but the clock is ticking… The good thing for Dell versus other systems vendors is they can resist to the cloud absorption leveraging VMware portfolio that is a real gem and advantage for sure.

Storage Infrastructure

Dell EMC announces at the same time three new product iterations related to Unity, Isilon and a cloud storage service.

For Unity, the company unveils the XT model with better performance, NVMe ready and 5:1 data reduction, it will be available in Q2.

For the Scale-out NAS line, OneFS 8.2 is released with a new max capacity of 58PB, a new hybrid node and the wish to be multi-cloud but as far as we know, Isilon runs only on-premises and coupled with Google Cloud Platform. Does it mean Dell EMC think to make it available for AWS and Azure, they can but it exists already tons of solutions. I invite the reader to check my recent file storage table published when Qumulo announced GCP recently. Dell also made a surprising acquisition in August 2018 with DataFrameworks trying to solve the integrated real-time analytics challenge provided by solutions like Qumulo. This new OneFS release will be available in Q2 as well.

And Dell EMC provides a new data transfer service, Cloud Storage Service, available now in North America and London, to move data from on-premises to cloud supporting PowerMAX, Unity and Isilon.

Data Management

Dell EMC is also famous for the EMC data protection acquisition with Avamar, Legato and Data Domain.

The company announces PowerProtect Software, a self-service SaaS multi-cloud data protection.

PowerProtect X400 is also unveiled, it is a PowerEdge-based appliance coupled with PowerProtect Software with hybrid storage or full flash and optimized dedupe thanks to machine learning.

And finally a new IDPA (Integrated Data Protection Appliance) with the DP440 model, 2U, perfect for SMB, from 8 to 24TB per U, upgradable to 96TB with cloud options for tiering and DR and search capabilities.

All these three products are of course integrated with VMware and will be available in Q2.

And a few others announcements related to Latitude with 7000, 5000 and 3000 series and some interesting ones related to SD-WAN following VeloCloud by VMware end of 2017, DSS 8440 server with NVidia Tensor Core GPUs, VxFlex , VxRail and PowerSwitch S5200-ON.

It's important to mention also two interesting partnership extensions with Big Switch Networks and Pica8. As usual a great conference in perspective for sure, we invite all attendees to enjoy keynotes, sessions and the expo.

April 25, 2019

StorONE signs with Tech Data

StorONE, a emerging leader in Software-Defined Storage (SDS), enters into a new dimension as the company just signed with Tech Data a global distribution for North America.

StorONE is a real SDS solution offering Tech Data to couple it with any storage drives HDD or SSD units and offer open access with file, block and even object.

We'll meet again Gal Naor, CEO and founder, during the June IT Press Tour to learn more the company progress, product developments, use case, success stories and strategic initiatives.