February 18, 2019

Full Flash NAS, the battle is on

Dell Technologies announced yesterday a new iteration of their scale-out NAS offering with again a full flash model, the Dell EMC Isilon F810. This model is a 4U chassis grouping 4 nodes, 60 SAS/SATA SSD so 15 per node from 230 to 924TB raw per chassis. The performance per chassis are 250,000 IOPS and 15GB/s. The company claims to deliver 9M IOPS and 540GB/S aggregated throughput for a full cluster. In the Isilon terminology a cluster starts with 4 nodes - here 1 chassis - up to 144 nodes or 36 chassis. This limit exists for years and doesn't represent a real issue with the current density of HDD, SSD and server.

The solution is very rich in term of features but costly making real differences against competition with additional data services such inline data Compression up to 3:1 and deduplication with SmartDedupe, Replication with SyncIQ, Tiering with SmartPools and CloudPools, Compliance with SmartLock and FlexProtect for erasure coding. Many competitors don't even mention these features with a specific name as they bundle them as standards functions.

At the same time, Dell EMC mentions its new gadget, ClarityNow, a data management software acquired last summer from DataFrameworks. In fact, they swallowed the company without any public announcement except a blog post. I wrote about it in August. With that move, Isilon confirms its lack in analytics and having ClarityNow doesn't change anything, the software is just an add-on, even its GUI is still the ugly one DataFrameworks used since the beginning. The support is still the same file servers and object storage and of course now Isilon NAS and ECS family. Two questions remain open: why Dell didn't build its own analytics layer? Why did they pick this toy?

We pick a direct competitor of Isilon, Qumulo, and we detail the configuration with a cluster of 4 nodes. Ok we can extend this approach with same rack unit, capacity or performance comparisons, we let you do that exercise.

Comparison of 4 nodes cluster

ConfigurationIsilon F810 clusterQumulo 92T cluster
4 nodes cluster1 chassis 4U (4 nodes)4 chassis 8U (4 x 2U node)
Storage60 SAS/SATA SSD
(15 per node, from 3.84 to 15.36TB each)
(24 per node, 3.84TB each)
Capacity230 to 924TB raw368TB raw
Performance250,000 IOPS
400,000 IOPS

The battle is on with other players as well such Panasas and Weka and of course specialized flavors based on Spectrum Scale, Lustre or BeeGFS even if some of them have serous limitations.

February 14, 2019

Qumulo introduces Data Migration Service

Qumulo, the leader in high performance NAS for enterprise demanding applications recently unveiled a partnership with Atempo to boost the data movement towards their file storage infrastructure. The Qumlo offering base don Atempo Miria is Data Migration Service aka DMS grouping a software and a practice.

Atempo Miria seems to be the new name of Digital Archive aka ADA and was chosen by Huwaei with a deal announced in October in Shanghai during the Huwaei Connect conference and more recently with DDN shared at SC18 under the name DataFlow. I invite you the ready to check this post.

We checked the web site of Atempo and realize the company is behind the announcement as the product page doesn't mention Miria and Qumulo is absent of the partner page as well.

Qumulo DMS has several interesting characteristics: dedicated HW server(s), jobs parallelism, linear scalability with data movers addition, no downtime, incremental capabilities and security schemas preservation.

The service is available through Qumulo channels. Who will be the next Atempo partners after Huawei, DDN and Qumulo? WekaIO, Panasas...

February 11, 2019

LogicMonitor accelerates with partner program

LogicMonitor, a leading SaaS-based performance monitoring platform player, announced a partner program composed of resellers, systems integrators, MSPs and technology integrators.

Following a great 2018, the company accelerates and plans an real expansion in 2019 in a a $47B IT infrastructure worldwide.

Met last October with The IT Press Tour, the company has impressed the press team with a very comprehensive product. The company so far has more ten 30 press articles following the meeting.

February 7, 2019

Sylabs shakes the palm

During the recent session at RStor last December during the 29th IT Press Tour, we had the privilege to spend time with Gregory Kurtzer, the CEO of Sylabs, an alternative container player. Greg is also the creator of CentOS and Warewulf projects.

Sylabs delivers the dream of every IT admin to run any application anywhere and anywhere means private or public clouds or edfe and event IoT platforms. Even if de facto standards exist such Docker, Sylabs changes the packaging and modify paradigm with Singularity.

Open source with a Community edition, Singularity becomes the container of choice for HPC, EPC/AI (Enterprise Performance Computing) and Cyber Security thanks to an huge installed base, millions of cores running and support of GPUs, key component in scientific and technical computing. The product spans enterprise, research labs, clouds and universities, and it also boosts GPUs enterprise penetration, it is faster than Docker, more simple and above all it is universal.

Designed with security, mobility and performance in mind, Singularity has 2 differences:
  1. the presence of a runtime engine with OCI compatibility and work it Kubernetes, Mesos, Kubeflow and Nomad.
  2. the container format, aka Singularity Image Format or SIF, with only 1 signed, immutable and encrypted file.
The security is also a key advantage in favor of Singularity if you compare with Docker. There is no root owned demon process and containers don't run as root.

As AI, Data Analytics and HPC become more and more common within the enterprise, meaning that players like Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, HPE, Dell or NVidia leverage pSingularity to be platform agnostic, minimize risk and reach larger audience.

In addition to the Singularity Community edition, the company has developed different flavors: SingularityPRO, Singularity Cloud and Singularity Enterprise. The Pro offers subscription, licensing, professional services and support. The Cloud flavor, in alpha today with plan to be GA in February, provides a container library, build services, keystore and a devops platform that ties all these pieces together. The Enterprise edition groups the PRO and the Cloud to run on-premises.

Sylabs plans to offer also SyOS, a thin micro-OS appliance to secure and control containers on any x86, ARM and GPU platforms, and DCM aka Distributed Container Management for on-prem, cloud edge and IoT deployments. Both of them should be released soon probably in February or March.

A real good surprise met a few weeks ago and we'll follow closely this story and it is very compelling and shakes market established positions.


January 30, 2019

New reference in SD-WAN with CloudGenix

We all remember WAFS (Wide Aera File Services) and WAN Optimization and Acceleration promoted by several vendors who morphed now to Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) the ultimate networking solutions for remote offices. It seems to be a new area of growth for network players.

We had the privilege to meet and visit CloudGenix, one of the leaders of the segment, last December during the 29th edition of The IT Press Tour and we were impressed by the team, the company and the solution. It was funny to realize that Orange was in the same building just a few meters from us in an other meeting room discussing the SD-WAN opportunity.

With rapid growth and adoption of cloud, enterprises need a way to securely access remote resources, especially applications. They expect the solution to be simple, efficient, reliable, cost effective, secured of course and compatible with all kind of networks. Today enterprises distributed by nature suffer from traditional network connectivity based on MPLS with internet connection from the data center limiting the user experience with poor quality of services. Thus there is a clear divergence between WAN and Cloud and the necessity to build a new approach around a Cloud Generation SD-WAN is now a must. CloudGenix plays a key role here.

CloudGenix AppFabric is a key component of the solution coupled with ION - Instant On Networks - devices, delivering a secure VPN across all IONs.

According to IDC, the market for SD-WAN is estimated to $4.5B in 2022 with 40% CAGR between 2017 and 2022.

CloudGenix received $65M for its Series C announced during the session but since that we didn't find any info on classic investment sites. The total seems to be now $122M.

2019 will be interesting on this market segment and we even anticipate some M&A and IPOs. We'll see for CloudGenix but as a real gem, it could be a pretty good target.

January 28, 2019

White box networking reality with Pica8

Pica8 was one of the good surprise of the December IT Press Tour as the company suffers from lack of visibility. We realized that they have great success without lots of press presence.

Funded 10 years ago in 2009, Pica8 mission is to offer a comprehensive enterprise networking switch solution running on commodity hardware. The market also names this approach a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) transforming a classic x86 system to an advanced switch. Thus, the company was the first to sell in 2012 a disaggregated product running on (Debian) Linux on white box what is called a network operating system (NOS). So far the company has sold its solution to 1000+ customers over 40+ countries representing more than 3000 licenses.

This model confirms again that innovation comes from small company against gorillas who don't have any need to change their approach leading the market segment. This category is estimated to $4.1B according to Dell'Oro Group study, representing only the software portion, the hardware is aligned on the same value for a total of $8.2B.

Enterprises wish to move towards Open Enterprise Networking to reduce CapEx and OpEx, to avoid vendor lock-in selecting their preferred platform even on commodity hardware surfing on the SDN wave, to control obsolescence and finally to adopt full automation for configuration, provisioning, and monitoring. But as established vendors are in place, this alternative must be solid, fast, reliable and secured so the barrier to entry is far to be obvious and immediately means that only a few players can offer that like Pica8. Large corporations also required high-level global support meaning that the business model is essentially OEM with leading ODM platforms such HPE, Dell or QCT.

Pica8 sells 2 flavors Enterprise Edition and SDN Edition. Both rely on Pica8 PicaOS and support PicaPilot but only the enterprise edition includes CrossFlow. CrossFlow offers a double control plane on every port with L2/L3 and OpenFlow. PicaPilot provides data-center to campus orchestration, configuration and management illustrating the seamless integration and the zero-impact of the distance and complexity of networks topologies.

Pica8 leads a new wave of enterprise networking with real, efficient and proven SDN solutions. 2019 will be interesting to see with partnership such Dell.

January 24, 2019

RStor for a new cloud approach

We had the opportunity to visit RStor during the recent IT Press Tour as we discovered the company not very visible for the moment. RStor emerged from stealth in May 2018.

The company was founded by Giovanni Coglitore in 2017. Some of you may remember Optical Archive, the previous company founded as well by Giovanni and later acquired by Sony America in 2017. He was at Facebook where he ran labs and the hardware team developing the Open Compute approach. Before he cofounded Rackable Systems known to have acquired Silicon Graphics and then renamed itself SGI as the name was so famous and respected.

The genesis of RStor is the result of the current cloud model in term of price but also due to its lack of flexibility when volumes of data become important. This data gravity is a key aspect of cloud lock-in and not in favor of users clearly. But honestly cloud service providers - the big 3 AWS, GCP and Azure - don't have any desire to change that, the battle is on the first client capture. For one or two years now with these cloud alternatives, users realize they need a cloud agnostic approach or a multi-cloud model including on-premise as well.

As all companies founded by Giovanni, we understand that RStor goal is to shake the cloud landscape once again. And the idea is to offer a new philosophy to users above the cloud with compute, storage and connect capabilities.

In a nutshell, on-premises storage is securely connected to public cloud providers zones avoiding cloud vendor lock-in and investment protection. RStor has worked on 4 critical elements: Containers, Network, Storage and Compute. For the network layer, the company has developed a new connectivity mechanism to provide super fast secure links to AWS, GCP and Azure. They also imagine a radical new data storage service with intelligent data placement key in the distributed environment between on-premises and public cloud providers. All these approaches maintains Giovanni philosophy to use commodity hardware with partnerships with Equinix and CoreSite, two important data centers players. They also leverage new services such Sylabs Singularity to be fully agnostic, light and compatible at every level.

2019 will be interesting as we'll follow closely RStor evolution as they raise the bar for data center expectations and shake "classic" methods. The battle is not over...

January 22, 2019

Alation just raised $50M

Alation, a leader in data cataloging, just announced a new VC round of $50M - Series C - from Sapphire Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and existing investors Costanoa Ventures, DCVC (Data Collective), Harmony Partners, and Icon Ventures. It brings the money raised globally at $82M. It's interesting to see Salesforce in this list, does it anticipate any move, we'll see.

Following an incredible year with triple-digit revenue growth a more 100 production sites, the company will continue to add machine learning into their data catalog solution.

We'll learn more in March when the IT Press Tour crew will meet for the second time Alation and understand the second wave fueled by this new VC round.

January 18, 2019

LogicMonitor jumps into Kubernetes monitoring

Kubernetes has won the container orchestration battle and 2018 was a confirmation of that. LogicMonitor, a SaaS-based performance monitoring leader met recently by The IT Press Tour, just unveiled an extension to support this massive adoption.

The LogicMonitor solution is already in production and delivers real IT advantages thanks to the absence of agent on every node, the automatic addition and removal of cluster resources from monitoring, a comprehensive performance and health metrics for the cluster but also the application level and finally reports on under utilized resources - CPU and memory.

Strategic for LogicMonitor, this new iteration represents a key move for the company. IT monitoring becomes more and more fundamental as the environment is every year more complex. It is also an interesting market friction as the category unveils lots of announcements from at least a dozen of players.

The second recent info is related to Service Insight defining service to monitor by grouping logically resources thus delivering a real end to end experience close to quality of experience.

Clearly a domain to watch in 2019 by the IT Press Tour crew with LogicMonitor among others.

January 15, 2019

Dell has chosen Pica8

Dell and Pica8 entered into strategic partnership and Pica8 has ported PicaOS to Dell EMC N3K-Series - 24 and 48 ports - but also on the N3132PX-ON 2.5G/5G multigig switch. It follows the announcement in June 2018 with the support of the 48 ports N3048EP-ON PoE. Pica8 PicaOS Enterprise Edition NOS for Dell EMC N3000E-ON is priced at $860 for 24 ports for a perpetual license.

And more recently in December, Pica8 announced the support of the S4100-Series of aggregation switches 10G Ethernet switches.

Obviously, we see real integration between the 2 companies and as Pica8 was founded 10 years ago, why not thinking about an exit.