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.

April 24, 2019

Pica8 extends Dell relationship

Pica8, a leader in SDN, today announced that its Linux-based Network Operating System has been ported to new Dell EMC switches product line and be available via Dell EMC Z9264F-ON, S5248F-ON, S4128F-ON and N3024EP-ON. It means that 12 Dell EMC models are now based on Pica8 technology. More info next week at Dell Technologies World conference in Vegas.

April 23, 2019

My Google Cloud Next 2019 Report

Google Cloud Next ‘19 was an amazing conference like AWS re:Invent a few months ago. These cloud players really redefine conferences around multiple topics with tons of news, large expo, long list of training and certification sessions and experts talks in a real casual atmosphere and sunny San Francisco. Definitely something is happening there.

We count more than 230 exhibitors in various domains and the attendees passed 30,000 people according to the organizer. It was also the first event led by Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud entity.

Among all topics covered we noticed some obvious ones like AI, multi-cloud, analytics and big data, open source, security and privacy, collaboration and storage related subjects like online storage and data protection.

The goal for Google is to differentiate from direct competition like AWS or Azure and promote their own development and industry contributions. As said several times, the battle is on between them. And between us, Google is a different animal with several famous applications we all used every day Google Search, YouTube, Maps, Drive or Docs to just name a few.

Among the tons of new stuff unveiled by Google, we make our own selection:
  • Anthos: Introduced last year, Anthos is the new name of Google Cloud Services Platform. It is a Trojan horse to control and manage customers workloads running on GCP of course but also in AWS, Azure or on-premises thanks to Kubernetes, a key contribution of Google to the industry.
  • Storage: Following recent AWS announcement with S3 Glacier Deep Archive, Google reacts with Archive Cold Storage at $0.0012 per GB per month, the difference seems to be in the retrieve data duration. For both of them, the annual cost for a PB is around $12k.
  • Analytics and Big Data: Several angles here with Cloud Data Fusion, in Beta, to aggregate all data in one interface, convenient before you ingest them to BigQuery. BigQuery Data Transfer Service with 100+ applications integration based on Fivetran. A connection to Google Sheets with a new type of infinite spreadsheet. A boost to Google Data Studio to visualize data powered by BigQuery BI Engine, soon open to Looker and Tableau. The company adds AutoML to BigQuery ML and finally a metadata management service called Data Catalog but we don't know if Google picked Alation, Collibra, Datum or Informatica to offer this service.
  • AI: Google wishes to democratize AI so they offer easy access to AI and ML models. The company launched the Beta of AI Platform to build, test and deploy on-premise or in the cloud leveraging AutoML in multiple flavors, it will help to boost AI adoption within the enterprise.
  • Database: The company adds SQLServer to Cloud SQL in addition to MySQL and PostgreSQL.
  • Open source: Google shakes the databases palm again with the integration of seven open sources solutions in the Google cloud console: Confluent, DataStax, Elastic, InfluxData, MongoDB, Neo4j and Redis Labs Enterprise, indicating clearly a different path versus AWS illustrated by Kubernetes, Go or TensorFlow examples. These seven players are leaders in their respective category.
  • G Suite: The assistant is added and a collaboration with Dropbox is unveiled explain why Dropbox had a booth.

Google Cloud Next ’19 was also the opportunity to meet three vendors who announced a back-as-a-service offering available on the marketplace: Actifio, Cohesity and HYCU, beyond their proven data protection comfort zone, I should say:
  • Actifio adds Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to Actifo GO, also available for Azure and AWS, to protect VM, file system, SQLServer and SAP Hana,
  • Cohesity extends their on-premises approach with Data Protect running in GCP named Cloud Backup Service and
  • HYCU with an updated Backup-as-a-Service for GCP to protect Google Cloud SQL in addition to VMs.
And we noticed the presence of Backupify, SpinBackup and Spanning, three key players in SaaS backup for SaaS applications.

For SaaS storage, we saw Dropbox and Skysync but Box was absent.

Among other storage presence, we select some interesting announcements:
  • Portworx now run on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and GKE on-premise,
  • Hammerspace Data-as-a-Service approach is now integrated with Kubernetes and available on the marketplace,
  • With also interesting talks at several booths: AtScale, ClearSky Data, Fivetran,, Hitachi, HPE, IBM, Iguazio, Intel, NetApp, NGINX, Nutanix, LogDNA, Logic Monitor, Looker, Panzura, Red Hat, Suse, Trifacta or YugaByte.
It was really a good conference with a confirmation of the role of Kubernetes everywhere illustrating perfectly the impact of open source and Google contribution. In other words, if you don't support Kubernetes, you're out, if yes, you just continue to play… The conference helps attendees to understand that Google is about innovation, a ball has started to roll.

April 15, 2019

Mark Gritter left DDN therefore Tintri

Mark Gritter, founder and chief architect at Tintri, we met with The IT Press Tour in March 2012, left the company after 11 years to join Hashicorp. He joined recently DDN he didn't mention in his departure message after the storage giant swallowed and saved the company asset, installed base and IP following Tintri IPO disaster, business and financial difficulties. He will become Vault Advisor for the Hashicorp Vault project.

April 11, 2019

My NAB Report

NAB (National American Broadcaster) Show was, once again, a gigantic expo with around 100,000 attendees representing 160+ countries and 1600+ exhibitors.

As said in the past, Media and Entertainment is a large market segment for the storage industry. More and more greedy in capacity, now in-cloud media processing and operations, distribution and live streaming, networks bandwidth, complex media workflow, sophisticated editing and image/video processing, frequent movie production plus recent development in VR, drones and even IoT applications, all these illustrate the key role of storage in that industry.

Following 2018, Oracle and HPE have seriously decided to have a serious presence demonstrating solutions, I let you check the photos below.

On the other hand, CiscoIBM and Dell had decent booths promoting intelligent comprehensive workflows respectively with IBM Spectrum Scale and Dell EMC Isilon. IBM has insisted a lot on solutions around Watson and Aspera. We also anticipate some news soon about IBM Cloud Object Storage.

We navigated in AWS, Google and Microsoft booths, growing their footprint every year with in-cloud media management and processing. We met Ron Bianchini, former CEO and founder of Avere Systems, at the show confirming the perfect fit of its NAS accelerator in such projects. Don't forget that Pixar is an Avere customer for many years now, swapping their back-end filers almost for every movie in production but keeping their first-tier Avere NAS. Other cloud storage vendors were there like Backblaze for B2 and Wasabi announcing their Media Innovation Cloud Alliance. We met Acembly on Wasabi booth speaking about a interesting cloud data management approach.

The event confirms the file storage adoption with different technologies, essentially divided in two categories:
  • The classic NAS approach with NetApp, Pure Storage, Qumulo and MediaKind. The latter is the spin-off from Ericsson Media business Unit illustrating the return of Fabrix Systems under the name Video Storage and Processing Platform,
  • and the SAN file sharing heritage what we call today asymmetric [parallel for some of them] distributed file system with the need to install a piece of software (agent, driver…) on clients as the file system exist between consumer i.e clients and producers i.e servers. It’s the case for Acelstor with MooseFS, Avid with Nexis, DDN, Dynamic Drive Pool aka DDP, EditShare, Facilis with HUB, Harmonic with MediaGrid, ScaleLogic, Quantum with StorNext, Quobyte, Rohde & Schwarz with SpycerNode based on IBM Spectrum Scale or Tiger Technology.
Secondary storage was also present in different flavors, tape vendors like Spectra Logic, Qualstar, we even visited the LTO consortium booth, data management specialists such Komprise, Atempo, StorageDNA or XenData, secondary disk solutions like Disk Archive, Nexsan, StorByte or Seagate promoting TapeArk solutions and many server vendors and object vendors like Caringo, Cloudian, DDN, Masstech, Object Matrix, Pure Storage or WDC but now also Qumulo with the Minio announcement.

We noticed the presence of Atempo with its new visual identity promoting Miria and its data migration service already adopted by Huawei, DDN and more recently Qumulo. Mellanox was also there with a small booth showing their Ethernet Media Fabric model.

Among the tons of announcements, we made our selection:
  • Avid Nexis | Cloudspaces: extension for Nexis to park media on Azure cloud,
  • Facilis: new platform named HUB replacing TerraBlock still with the famous recognized file system and cloud object storage with Wasabi and Azure with XenData integration,
  • Quantum: new F-Series - FS2000 - 2U 24 dual-ported NVMe SSD storage array,
  • Qumulo: new denser and faster C-72T appliance, Cross-Protocol Permissions and S3 based on Minio,
  • and Western Digital with new G-Technology portable drive.
Once again this is one of the top 3 storage events organized every year with SuperComputing and I let you select the third...