June 20, 2016

Versity Software, a confidential leader

Versity Software (www.versity.com), an innovative data management ISV founded in 2011, was a good surprise of the last IT Press Tour edition. I already wrote a few weeks ago a short post about Versity's presentation delivered during the MSST 2016 conference. I know the 2 founders - Bruce Gilpin, CEO, and Harriet Coverston, CTO - for some times and always consider seriously what they built and developed. Bruce Gilpin was our host for that session.

First the description of the company changed a bit since I saw a presentation from Versity last month, instead of "the only independent pure play HSM software company", the message is now "the only pure play data archiving software company", which is clearly broader as HSM really means specific things, has limitations and doesn't have always a good critic around it. The first comment is that the segment exists for decades with established leaders and the market has changed a bit the approach with the so famous ILM wave 10 years ago aggregating HSM, Tiering, Migration and Archiving together glued to the application.
For Versity the value resides in software, Bruce Gilpin promotes the open source as the long term run is critical for archive. The companion to that is of course commodity hardware with the need to really scale by unifying and aggregating resources horizontally. The other key differentiator in favor of Versity that provides a real value to users is the subscription model with no minimal contractual term with a protection and ability to read data for ever even if the contracts is ended. The long term investment protection for archive with Versity is also offered as VSM - Versity Storage Manager - uses an open source GNU TAR format. In term of business, Versity has signed a strategic deal with Cay that offers the product as TAS - Tiered Adaptive Storage -, the HPC leader has made a investment in the company in 2013. Recently, Versity signed with a key vertical player - Ovation Data Systems - for a Data Lifecycle solution based on VSM. The company continues to target vertical use cases such Finance, Oil and Gas, M&E or Healthcare/Medical and Genomics.

VSM was available in April 2014 with the 1.0 release. VSM is a proprietary software product constructed around SAM-QFS core technology thanks to the CDDL license model chosen by Sun Microsystem a long time ago. VSM software retains the same command set and administration methods used for SAM-QFS file system administration. The product has 2 modules, a kernel one with the Versity Shared File System, and a user land one with the Application Archive Manager layer with the policy engine, the media management and the tiered storage service. The new iteration of the product is the announcement of the object storage back-end via the de-facto standard Amazon S3 API run in production at Ovation Data Systems in Houston. This was a market need to adress new capabilities and avoid tape limitations such: fast to 1st byte, fast without the need of a fast and costly network and remote access. The idea is clearly the mix of the 2 worlds with Posix for applications and cloud object storage for secondary data entities glued by Versity. As Cloudian is the best S3 object storage, coupling the 2 solutions should provide a real comprehensive solution to the market. Think about that.

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