October 11, 2018

Snowflake leads the pack by far...

Snowflake, the emerging leader in cloud data warehouse, just announced a new monumental VC round of $450M that pushes the bar to a total of $928.9M at a pre-money valuation of $3.5B coming from $1.7B post-money last January. It means that the company boosted almost $2B its valuation in 9 months. And the current post-money is obviously almost $4B that doubles that 2018 valuation increment! Led by Sequoia Capital, joined by Meritech Capital as new all existing investors joined this round realizing that the opportunity is fantastic and the hope of high return important. Referring to my last post about Snowflake, I said that nothing will happen below 10x the total investment so I'm pretty confortable to say below $10B, go home.

From left to right: Thierry Cruanes Founder Architect, Bob Muglia CEO,
Benoît Dageville Co-founder & CTO and Marcin Zukoswki Co-founder (Credit Snowflake)
We had the privilege to meet and visit Snowflake at their San Mateo HQ during the last IT Press Tour in June and all the press team were impressed by the team, the product, the vision and globally by the maturity of the strategy.

Snowflake plays in a new category, the Cloud Data Warehouse, having built a new highly scalable database for analytics, like Amazon Redshift, acquired from ParAccel before Actian bought the company in 2013 or GCP BigQuery. It is the only ISV in the leader quadrant, the 2 others are cloud service providers. Some competition come from more classic approaches as well and we wonder what will the Cloudera/Hortonworks merge bring on the table. Microsoft tries to offer something named Azure SQL Datawarehouse but with very limited success.

Fueled by this last round, the coming strategy includes multi-cloud and we expect sooner and later a release on GCP, in other words this population can't be ignored, sales geo expansion, this is pretty classic, and engineering growth, in USA and Berlin, this is interesting to notice in order to continue to lead and drive that market segment.

The Snowflake story is fantastic and it's always good to shake the palm and disrupt the market to offer new approaches for users. Congrats. We hope to meet Snowflake again for a future edition as things are going super fast.
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October 10, 2018

Dell Tech. invests in CNEX Labs

Strong in storage with EMC, Dell Technologies continues to invest in storage technologies especially ones related to network storage devices and controllers.

This time, Dell Tech. Capital is just consistent with its past investment as the company already participated to the A round and even let it. Today CNEX Labs receives $23M in series D for a total of $85.7M according to Crunchbase. CNEX develops SSD controllers to leverage multiple NAND and especially boost performance, energy and QoS of high-volume SSD. It helps to optimize SSD farms to different workloads with just software parameters.

As Dell plays a key role in hyperscaler model, this investment makes perfect sense. M12, Microsoft Venture - who led Series C - Sierra Ventures, Walden Venture Investments, Brightstone Venture Capital and a few others. It will be interesting to see where it will go...
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October 3, 2018

CTERA Networks received additional $30M

CTERA Networks, leader in secured file services for enterprise, just announced a Series D of funding with $30M received from Red Dot Capital Partners, who led the round, Singtel Innov8 and al existing ones like Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cisco, Venrock, Vintage Investment Partners and Viola Group. The total investment received by CTERA climbs to $100M. The success of CTERA is the effect of the adoption of the cloud and distributed enterprise storage based on Software-Defined Storage philosophy. Congrats.

We have met 2 times CTERA with The IT Press Tour, last visit was in Tel-Aviv in November 2016 and previously in March 2012 and we realized the progress. It's time to meet them again.
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September 27, 2018

Scaleway unveils an object storage service

Scaleway, a cloud division of Online, itself a subsidiary of Iliad group, pre-announces the release and the availability of its object storage on its platform named Scaleway Object Storage.

According to a Scaleway blog post published September 4th, 2018, we understand that Scaleway already had an objet storage service they decommissioned to finally replace by this new one. We hope the product is not based on a french product considered as a toy by the industry.

We don't get any real info about the product except it seems to be a standard solution without any differentiators. It supports the de-facto standard interface S3 with a subset of the API. Scaleway operates different data centers and the object storage product is currently available in the AMS1 meaning the data center deployed in Amsterdam region. Interesting approach is the unlimited, unmetered and free of charge HTTP requests except a limit of 100 HTTP requests per second for write and read to a bucket. 10 buckets per user can be created and up to 1TB of capacity is available per bucket. The documentation doesn't mention anything about the data protection mechanism, nothing on the consistency philosophy chosen for the product therefore topology is not covered. Two other limitations I mean usages not recommended are the CDN and file system gateway. We'll get more info, at least we hope, when the product will be fully available.


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September 25, 2018

Veritas adds cognitive elements to its object storage

Veritas Technologies, the leader in data management, has changed the name of its object storage solution from Cloud Object Storage to Cognitive Object Storage without posting any press release. A bit strange: if the change is important it's worth a visibility effort like a PR, not doing any announcement invites me to think this is a small change but it seems not, so why?

If you wish to understand where the product comes from, I invite you to read the post I wrote in September 2017 which is the only long article available on the market about Veritas Cloud Object Storage.

The company promotes this new approach based on 4 key functions that leverage the Integrated Cognitive Engine (ICE):
  1. Action on Ingest capability to learn info at the time they are imported in the system building new index and creating tad with metadata.
  2. Workflow capability that invite the user to construct processes and models between data and applications.
  3. Access data service exposing various industry protocols such S3 of course, a REST API, HDFS, Kafka, Thrift, MQTT, a Java SDK and a JDBC connector and
  4. Enrich data post-ingest with custom metadata.
Veritas doesn't communicate on the market adoption of its COS which is still a bit confidential. It confirms that object storage has real difficulties to live alone and pure player companies suffer from that, some of them even try to pivot...
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September 20, 2018

Clustrix swallowed by MariaDB

Clustrix, one of the pioneer of clustered database, is acquired by MariaDB. The latter already acquired MammothDB a few months ago. Clustrix, long time promoter of a MySQL compatible scale-out database, had serious difficulties for several years missing the opportunity to be acquired by a giant or grow itself like a few other emerging database players especially in the NoSQL/NewSQL domain. We have met Clustrix during the very first edition of The IT Press Tour in June 2010.
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September 18, 2018

Datrium raises a new round

Datrium, leader in HCI, announced recently a new VC round, an oversubscribed series D at $60M, for a total of $170M. This financial round was let by Samsung Catalyst Fund with participation from Icon Ventures, NEA and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

With Tim Page as CEO arrived before the summer, the enterprise entered a new era ready to shake the market and boost market adoption. We met the team with The IT Press Tour at the Levi's stadium in June for a memorable moment and all the press group was impressed by the maturity of the technologies and the senior team leading Datrium.


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September 17, 2018

What a program for The IT Press Tour #28

The IT Press Tour, the leading IT event for IT press, has unveiled a few days ago participating companies for the 28th edition scheduled mid-October in San Francisco.

Nine companies will joins us with 7 new and 2 who come back respectively for the second time for Platfom.sh and third time for Sysdig. All seven others are new participants, here is the full list:
  • Aera Technology, AI/ML for enterprise management,
  • H2O.ai, open source data science and machine learning platform,
  • Kinetica, GPU database,
  • LogicMonitor, SaaS-based performance monitoring,
  • Mabl, ML-driven test automotion service,
  • Odaseva, Salesforce data management and GDPR,
  • Platform.sh, Continuous deployment cloud hosting PaaS,
  • Sysdig, Container and microservices monitoring and security, and
  • Yellowfin, BI and Analytics platform.
The week will be dense with hot topics and great speakers and leaders, the tour will rock again. I invite you to follow us with @ITPressTour, #ITPT, various publications and reporters Twitter handles.
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September 13, 2018

Versity unveils new file system

I was a big fan of QFS and SAM-QFS and was surprised that the LSC acquisition by SUN in 2001 finally did not deliver the promises. The fact that the team, especially Harriet Coverston, who developed LSC's product started a new story - Versity Software - was a good indicator that the story was not ended and an evolution is possible at the same time.

I wrote an early post in June 2013 about Versity and its new Storage Manager, sorry at that time, this post was in French. A few months later this post and still in 2013, Cray and Versity announced (sorry still in French) a reseller agreement before SC show in Denver and the super computer leader has distributed since that VSM under the name Tiered Adaptive Storage or TAS. Surprisingly, TAS is no more visible on Cray web site except if you do a search.

They started to make noise during the MSST 2016 (now in English) conference and we met Versity Software in June 2016 for the 19th edition of The IT Press Tour where Bruce Gilpin announced to us the development of a new file system by his team. For many months I scrutinized Versity to get some info about that development and I can say that the team is ready to announce something very soon even if the initial timeframe was a bit too ambitious. I wrote 2 posts (June and July 2016) about VSM and Versity ideas of a new scale-our file system dedicated to large scale archive.

Versity and the founding team has always that ambition to build the most scalable data archiving software to address actual and coming data management challenges. VSM, described above with various posts, was a proven and well adopted product who suffered from an old design, remember it was under development 20 years ago, but it worked and works very well. Now with the data deluge we live for more than a decade, something new must be offered aligned to these new and coming challenges. The good things are kept but many new things are introduced with VSM 2.0 which mark a new era in that domain.

VSM 2.0 has 2 parts: ScoutFS and ScoutAM plus a module named AFM. ScoutFS belongs to the hyper-scale file system group that recognizes that metadata and data must be segregated. First Scout could be a bizarre named but is really aligned to the Scale-Out philosophy where the name was built. ScoutFS represents the persistent layer implemented in the Linux kernel, it respects POSIX like VSM 1.0 and is developed under the open source GPLv2 license. It is what we called a symmetric distributed file system. Symmetric because there is no dedicated metadata servers, all nodes can serve this role in addition to be also data servers. As a remark, a sub-set of nodes can configured to support metadata and data and the rest only data but we still named this a symmetric approach and by design there is no SPOF. Distributed is related to the pooling of servers - metadata and date - acting together to constitute the file system from a shared block device here. At the time I write this post, I'm not sure if ScoutFS is Parallel as the notion means to split files and write/distribute file chunks to independent data server targets. I understand that this parallel aspect is delivered with the coupling between ScoutFS and ScoutAM. One of the key design constraints was the ability of the file system to support 1 Trillion files, yes, you read correctly, 1 Trillion. Running on Linux like VSM 1.0, ScoutFS is also what the industry named an Software-Defined Storage (or SDS) solution running on commodity servers inviting the users to select their preferred server brands and continue to support the environment for a few decades surviving multiple server lifecycles. The file system is exposed via standard NAS protocols I mean NFS and SMB to facilitate application integration.


Since LSC, the team has continued to glue a top layer to manage archive, provide policies and all the logic associated with the archiving environment, here the file system companion is named ScoutAM for Scout Archive Manager. It delivers multiple function and services such the multi-copy, WORM capability, the GNU TAR format, the support to cloud - AWS, GCP and Azure - and tape in addition to the ScoutFS. As an extension of my remark above on parallelism, ScoutAM adds this feature on top of ScoutFS.


In addition to VSM, Versity provides AFM (Archive Fabric Module) for external file systems analysis and help find files candidates for the migration to the archiving environment. AFM has the capability to transfer and replicate files to VSM.

The solution is sold as a subscription model and you can read the data sheet here.

We expect to learn more during the next SuperComputing show in Dallas mid-November. It will also make sense to meet again the team with The IT Press Tour to have a deep session.
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August 31, 2018

StorONE confirms its performance

StorONE, the emerging multi-protocol SDS player, just announced some performance benchmark results delivering 500,000 IOPS under VMware ESXi and just 2 nodes. The idea was to demonstrate the ratio of performance per drive and illustrate the best price/performance ratio and approach of StorONE S1 software.

This test was run on commodity storage servers aka as 2U24 meaning 2U rack factor and 24 SSDs with several 16Gb Fibre Channel and 40Gb iSCSI initiators. Configuration in HA mode give impressive numbers with 1.7M IOPS for random reads, 15GB/s sequential reads, 7.5GB/s sequential writes - a 50% drop - and 10GB/s for mixed workload of 80/20 reads/writes.

Gal Naor, CEO and founder of StorONE, confirms this efficiency capability illustrating the impressive result per drive: 70,000 IOPS with very low latency. Met 2 times with the IT Press Tour - once in Israel - we're impressed by the approach Gal and his team took and succeed to deliver with an unique design and technology approach.
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