December 17, 2018

Hammerspace, the new adventure of David Flynn

Launched recently, Hammerspace is the new home of David Flynn, previously founder and CEO then CTO of Fusion-io and Primary Data, both companies we met several times with the IT Press Tour crew.

Fusion-io as a public company was acquired by Sandisk in 2014 for $1.1B. It helped David Flynn to acquire Tonian assets to launch Primary Data around data management software but the story ended differently and from an outside point of view let's say suddenly stopped.

Now Hammerspace, currently with 30 employees, is like an extension of Primary Data with all good stuff retained, I mean people and code, to address same data deluge challenge in the unstructured world. It is clearly a statement made by the company claiming to develop the meta data engine during 5 years. For the shot cut as well, the company is located in the same building in Los Altos, just the suite is different. Any superstition here?

The product is a software layer that orchestrates and virtualizes unstructured data wherever they reside, on-premises or in the cloud - private or public - or stored on file servers, NAS or even object stores. This approach is not about storage virtualization but data virtualization presenting a virtual global namespace.

The mission is officially "Access unstructured data anywhere, on -demand". The solution is multi-cloud hybrid, multi data center and provides finally a superb data controller via metadata mastery. The team articulates a few use cases around data agility, multi cloud data management, cloud burst and application data mobility. The product is offered as a software appliance or cloud service and charged as a pay as you go subscription.

David Flynn has insisted on the data catalog, the global search and index, data governance and of course the metadata management, crucial for such solution. The product supports the 3 cloud providers - AWS, Azure and GCP - and of course classic on-premises file serves, NAS and object stores like WDC, Hitachi Vantara, Dell EMC, NetApp, Cloudian and IBM. As metadata is the fundamental piece here, accessing and manipulating them in a super fast and reliable way is a must and product architects picked RocksDB to support the concept.

With one of the NFS champion in-house, the product leverages NFS v4.2 for in path optimization and works as an asymmetric file store in Linux environments and via the DSX engine for Windows, Mac and ESX. Lots of actions are made without any impact on the application even with open files.

Hammerspace develops as well a Cloud Data Profiler to understand how cloud is consumed, analyze associated cost and discover "dark data".

This example above illustrates the beauty of Tonian, Primary Data and now Hammerspace thanks to pNFS philosophy where data are distributed across multiple back-end data servers delivering high throughput.

Hammerspace brings to the table an universal approach via real simplicity, performance and transparency, try it, you will love it.

December 13, 2018

Datera has a new CEO

Datera, emerging leader in block software-defined storage, announced recently that Guy Churchward is the new CEO of the company. Marc Fleischmann, founder and now previous CEO, moved to president and stays as board member. According to the company site, no chairman is listed on the board of directors page and executives bios. It's a surprise, it happens a few weeks after Churchward joined as a board member then as executive chairman. What is the rational and motivation behind this move?

Churchward has an interesting track record with times spent at storage companies abut also outside that space. His most recent adventure has failed as DataTorrent finally went no where after he led the company for 16 months, which was a real surprise as big data and stream processing are pretty hot. DataTorrent product was based on Apache Apex but we realize that it exists a real complex Apache stream processing initiatives with Kafka, Apex, Flink, Kinesis, Spark or Storm, probably too many projects weakening that ecossytem.

We met Datera last June during the #27th edition of The IT Press Tour and we understood that the company has started an acceleration for 2019.

December 12, 2018

December 7, 2018

Panasas unveils PanFS8

Second meeting with Panasas for The IT Press Tour following last year session with the new director announcement, this year the company detailed with us the recent product unveiled at SC18 a few weeks ago in Dallas.

The company has made a clear step towards commodity hardware with portable software to reduce cost, facilitate integration and finally boost performance as well.

The new product named ActiveStor Ultra is a new hardware chassis for data storage globally fueled by PanFS8, the last iteration of the parallel file system ported to Linux. Ultra is a 4U chassis with 4 nodes, each node coupled with HDD, SATA and NVMe SSD respectively for large, small files and metadata which is very small data.

The Panasas persistent data layer exposes data via NFS, SMB and DirectFlow, a client side software representing today 95% of the installed base. The parallel effect is only available with DirectFlow as NAS protocols use a single file server instance represented in that case by the director.

ActiveStor Ultra delivers a new level of performance with 75GB/s per rack or 7.5GB/s per 4U chassis with new network capabilities with full InfiniBand and OmniPath. Also the upgrade is fully transparent and PanFS8 with Ultra can coexist with previous generation ActiveStor Prime.

Panasas continues to list Lustre and GPFS/Spectrum Scale but also BeeGFS who rapidly grew since IBM changed the licensing of Spectrum Scale and DDN acquisition of the Whamcloud entity from Intel.

Panasas makes a new iteration towards disaggregated infrastructure with fine granularity. Performance, flexibility and simplicity reach a new level. 2019 in HPC will be interesting with new coming players and new partnerships.

November 26, 2018

SDS and SDN for the IT Press Tour #29

The IT Press Tour, the leading IT event for IT press, has announced participating companies for the 29th edition planned 1st week of December in Silicon Valley.

Eleven companies will participate with famous names, some are new on the market, some are well established, here is the full list:
  • CloudGenix, leader in SD-WAN,
  • DDN Storage, largest private storage provider,
  • Hammerspace, innovator in metadata management,
  • Igneous, disruptor in data protection for large unstructured data environment,
  • Minio, fstest growing object storage company,
  • Panasas, established high performance file storage vendor,
  • Pica8, key driver of the SDN segment,
  • Quantum, reference in secondary storage,
  • RStor, emerging player in enterprise performance computing,
  • Rubrik, cloud data management key player,
  • and Vexata, fast storage for hogh demanding applications.
Super week in perspective, dense with hot technologies and projects, great leaders and executives, the tour will shake the market again. I invite you to follow us with @ITPressTour, #ITPT, various publications and reporters Twitter handles.

November 15, 2018

Strong team for Hammerspace

Hammerspace, the new story of David Flynn dedicated to unstructured data management, has recruited past colleagues and new people to boost time to market.

Among past Primary Data members, we found Douglas Fallstrom as VP Product and Operations and Trond Myklebust as CTO. Mark Glasgow joined also as VP Sales, he spent time at SolidFire and Micron among others.

The team is also supported by Brendan Wolfe, the VP of Marketing, with a serious mission to promote and boost visibility of the company. Everything is ready to take-off soon.

We'll meet Hammerspace during the next IT Press Tour first week of December.

November 13, 2018

November 9, 2018

Yellowfin introduces a new dimension

Yellowfin, a leader in BI, just announced 2 new extensions named Signals and Stories to its flagship platform.

The idea is to extend the Yellowfin BI Suite with 2 key elements that offer the most accuracy insights to the business for business leaders and managers who continue to be frustrated by the current approach. Data consumers consume insights via dashboards that are still limited and don't provide the full value of their data. Time is a fundamental dimension and advanced filters to select only what matter.

The first extension is Signals that accelerate time to value by providing changes in trends immediately and finally go beyond what a "classic" dashboard can offer. They're time-series slices, to discover deviations but not alerts or thresholds with 6 patterns: spikes/troughs, change in trend direction, step changes, new/low attributes, change in volatility and change in aggregate. Yellowfin uses industry best-practice and proven algorithms, learns from users interactions and leverage its metadata layer. This new service reduces significantly the pipeline of actions from the data preparation to the signal display and offers live results on live data across data sets. It seems that the classic approach are more asynchronous.

The second extension is Stories is the natural companion of Signals as it gives context to facts and infos detected. It also works for Tableau and Qlik and finally allows cross-vendor storytelling embedded into reports.

Clearly Yellowfin has introduced 2 key extensions to its Suite that create a gap with other players. Yellowfin Suite is one of the most mature analytics solution of the market providing data discovery and preparation, dashboard, now Signals and Stories to finally offer a very comprehensive automated analysis storytelling and collaboration approach. 2019 will be very interesting for analytics and real time insights.

November 8, 2018

Peter Godman left Qumulo

Qumulo, one of the few File Storage gem, just lost its CTO and founding CEO Peter Godman. Even if it seems to be planned it's a surprise for the outside world as the company is doing well and product continues to penetrate the market at a rapid pace with multiple key successes. As of today, his LinkedIn page and company leadership page continue to show him as CTO but its departure was confirmed by Bill Ritcher, CEO of the company. An other departure a few months ago, Ken Cheney who has led the business development effort. Hum, something is happening there or some strategy divergence exist or just personal projects?

November 7, 2018

GPU databases are hot

Kinetica is our second meeting with The IT Press Tour in that rapid growth data segment following MapD, now OmniSci, a few months ago. It started around 2010 at GISFederal with the first ever GPU database named GPUdb designed by Nima Negahban and Amit Vij to help US Army track terrorist threats. Currently GISFederal web site redirects you to Kinetica site. Then USPS picked GPUdb to boost routes optimization and increase accuracy. We can called this period the research and proof of concept phase with the first adoption and validation.

The second phase, more commercial of course and worldwide, is associated to Kinetica. The structure was born early 2016 with seed founding from Ray Lane, former Oracle executives. One year later, the company raised a series A of $50M and Paul Appleby joined as CEO to immediately put senior DNA at the exec level. The entity was incorporated for the long run and has already more than 100 employees. Since 2018, market adoption has accelerated in many verticals.

Kinetica argues, we all agree, that data is the new oil fueling the business. Good examples are smart applications, IoT, social media, medical, AI driven insights... So having the right engine to compute a vast amount of data is critical. Key fundamentals elements are:
  • GPU to process things in parallel,
  • In-memory to boost response time,
  • distributed to offer scalability,
  • streaming, ingest and on-the-fly analytics,
  • SQL-style query capability to facilitate adoption and applications integration with finance, retail, healthcare, telecom or energy vertical use cases.

The company is ready to address 2019 challenges, among them real-time use cases, IoT demanding environments and AI as a key business differentiator.