January 18, 2021

Data Dynamics just announced StorageX 8.4

Data Dynamics, leader in unstructured data management for the enterprise, just introduced StorageX 8.4. This release enhanced the data mobility and integration with the cloud and make disperse environments completely seamless.

Reference in the domain for more than a decade, StorageX promotes itself as an unified unstructured data management platform for the enterprise. This categorization is key as we often articulate solutions in 3 groups: tool, product and platform:

  • Tool is easy but is limited to one task or process and used for limited usage and limited time. The problem is the multiplication of tools to address large needs especially in the enterprise where demand is pretty wide. This generates IT complexity, increase of cost and potential divergence of data.
  • Product is more comprehensive but still limited to a set of usages. Beyond the generic term of product, this category represents a more wide functions coverage within the enterprise but the business doesn't rely on it.
  • Platform is fundamental as it means the enterprise builds IT processes on that platform being used everyday all the time. As a platform, it runs large set of features and consolidates multiple use cases.
As an enterprise, IT subscribes to several clouds but needs to align data management processes across them and across data centers. This harmonization become a key metric to control costs and maintain high SLA. Thus, StorageX has added a key capability to copy/replicate objects across clouds and maintain data persistency and distribution.

Data Dynamics has really accelerated for a few quarters confirming once again that StorageX is one of more comprehensive solution. Let's watch them closely in 2021.


January 4, 2021

Robin.IO strengthens positions

Robin.IO, a leader in Kubernetes-based storage, wishes to accelerate its adoption especially as Portworx got acquired by Pure Storage, Kasten by Veeam and before DataCore invested in MayaData. Robin needs to be more visible as some exit paths could appear.

Robin CNS and more globally the storage and data management products have been recognized by a few key facts: IDC recognition, new advisory board seats with Jai Menon and Henri Richard and finally Red Hat and Google Anthos Marketplace. 2021 is now in a good starting positions.


December 30, 2020

December 28, 2020

Anthos now supports Robin.IO

Robin.IO, a leader in Kubernetes-based storage and data management solution, has been validated by Google Anthos for bare metal environments. It represents a big news and achievement for Robin.IO that confirms to be Kubernetes engine agnostic.

Google announced early this month the availability of Anthos for bare metal with a list of validated partners. It marks also the fundamental addition of environments without any hypervisor layer being the perfect layer to glue various operating platforms. It translates immediately these bare metal environments in the global Anthos initiative and offer them to benefit from this new giant leap in IT management approach. Anthos confirms its breakthrough and more generally the long term strategy of Google started many years with this vision. Just brilliant.

Robin Cloud Native Storage aka CNS is available on Google Cloud Marketplace. Confidential by its name but well respected for its technology and product, Robin tried an initiative to boost its adoption and market recognition. They created a FREE for ever solution full features just limited to 5 nodes and 5TB. Small configuration, this toy environment is perfect to test Robin CNS functionalities, stress the solution and potentially adopt it for larger configurations.


December 24, 2020

December 23, 2020

StorCentric targets the midrange segment

StorCentric, the humbrella storage company, has recently acquired Violin Systems, known for years as Violin Memory. As many of you know the story of Violin is pretty famous being one of pioneers of full flash array segment addressing the top of the storage pyramid. At that time, Kaminario and TMS were the 2 other companions. Today StorCentric owns 5 brands: Nexsan, Drobo, Vexata, Violin and Retrospect.

But things have changed and Violin evolved from a high-end positioning to a mid-range one before that move. StorCentric continues this and adds Violin to the Nexsan category. The shift was big as today Violin relies on standard x86 servers with storage software, so very similar to other approaches at a macro level. That delivers a real rich portfolio against usual competition. The challenge for StorCentric would be to consolidate software and use common elements across the product line. There is some directions to add some file access methods to Violin to become an unified product like Unity but this time as a full flash one.

On the software side, beyond data management, the company insists on security and especially ransomware to prevent business impact leveraging Retrospect intelligence.

Being always ready for a bargain, Mihir Shah and his team, plans more acquisitions to continue to build a serious comprehensive storage portfolio. Historically very block storage oriented except with Drobo and Nexsan Unity, the team has a clear software strategy both in terms of Software-Defined Storage and also in more general data management aspect of it. To support this, the firm has released a few weeks ago Data Mobility Suite aka DMS for all kinds of data movements especially in heterogeneous storage environments. But we see also some directions with the wish to acquired some technology in data analytics for data and storage management and an object storage engine.

Back to DMS, the idea is to provide a generic copy and replication engine among StorCentric products but also between with other products. Four use cases are covered here: data migration with the need to reduce cost or refresh systems, data replication to enhance disaster recovery and potentially business continuity, data synchronization across various storage entities and finally multi-site collaboration. A story to illustrate how to leverage an universal copy engine with different use cases. We'll monitor the adoption of DMS as supported cloud providers are interesting even if some of are completely obsolete.

The recent session during The IT Press Tour confirmed some developments around NVMe over Fabric and the preferred transport layer is TCP and the wish to add an S3 access method as well.


December 21, 2020

December 16, 2020

iXsystems unveiled TrueCommand Cloud

iXsystems, the famous open source storage software company, continues to expand its product lines at a rapid pace. Very well known and adopted for its TrueNAS brand and products, the company has introduced TrueCommand in June 2019 during The IT Press Tour #31 and it marked a real management desire and strategy.

Last week, the team has made an new TrueCommand iteration and unveiled version 2.0 during a new edition of the press tour, #37 this time, with some cloud capabilities. The product is named TrueCommand Cloud and controls any TrueNAS flavor - Core, Enterprise or Scale - running on-premises  as a VM or a Docker container or in the cloud in AWS. Features got extended supporting more TrueNAS features with a self-service portal and security built-in.


December 14, 2020

MinIO morphs from on-premise S3 storage to hybrid cloud

MinIO, the leader in object storage, joined The IT Press Tour for the 6th time since their creation as they started to participate in December 2015 and never missed a winter edition since that.

More than 15M instances of MinIO run on the planet much more than any object storage can promote with just a dozen of references. This is the power of open source and I invite you to listen to the French podcast we record a few days ago about open source and its role in storage.

As said multiple times, MinIO Tsunami is here.
The company has made a real shift to modern applications infrastructure fueling Kubernetes-based environments and seen as a key component. Players like VMware recognized this MinIO role. Historically considered as the preferred choice for on-premise S3 storage, MinIO promotes itself for a few quarters as the storage component for a successful hybrid cloud environment. As said, the team has been recognized by VMware as a key partner for its adoption connected via its vSAN Data Persistence platform. The name vSAN here is terrible as a SAN is historically associated with block devices. MinIO is finally synonym of S3 for VMware like S3 for EC2 in AWS.

The second string progress from MinIO is the UI with the console. You can download it from here.

To accelerate its enterprise adoption the company leverages Subnet for commercial, contract, billing and support. When software and service reach $1.2M, a site license is started and is no more charged, fee stops finally. Just to precise this fee is a per year amount started at 10PB for standard level or 5PB for enterprise level.

The next topic MinIO chose to present was around resiliency to strengthen its users considerations for data persistence. The offers today:
  • server to server bucket replication in active/active or active/passive mode,
  • object locking to be beyond WORM,
  • and object lifecycle management with transparent tiering.
Strong as an object storage product, adopted by tons of partners as their S3 engine like Cisco, Datera, Humio, iXsystems, MapR now owned by HPE, McKesson, Nutanix, Pavilion Data Systems, Pivotal, Portworx, Qumulo, Robin.IO, Splunk and Ugloo to name a few, MinIO is also critical for VMware, Ezmeral (Ez what?) and soon OpenShift and goes beyond its original on-premise mission. It is available almost everywhere and I invite you to try on your machine, even your Raspberry Pi, on your server or in the cloud like AWS, Azure or GCP.

MinIO has become the universal storage service wherever you elect and run your applications.

So the question for 2021 is who will acquire the company? Dell, HPE, IBM, Red Hat or VMware or even one of the cloud giants. But I think no discussion can start below $500M (!!) which represents a 20+ multiple from its $23.3M VC money.


December 10, 2020

DDN confirms the convergence of HPC and enterprise storage

DDN, the largest private storage vendor, just participated for the 5th time to The IT Press Tour. Each time the team shared secure interesting news about the company and its products lines. As you know DDN operates with 2 business units addressing the technical and scientific world with its "At Scale" line essentially what we know as HPC. And the second one targeting the enterprise with Tintri brand with historically Tintri, Nexenta and Tegile IntelliFlash products acquired in 2018 and 2019 for the 2 latter.

Recognized as the obvious leader in HPC storage, DDN shipped 10+EB since its inception which means a lot and delivers approximately $600M annual revenue confirming as well its unicorn status.

The company has been also elected as a leader in the annual file storage Map 2020 by Coldago Research. You can access the report here.

Let's dig first in the "At Scale" business. The first key strategic decision taken a few years ago now is the abandon of IBM Spectrum Scale or GPFS in favor of Lustre, the open source distributed file storage software. DDN has acquired Whamcloud in 2018, the Intel business unit dedicated to HPC file Storage absorbed by Intel in 2012. In 2018, DDN sold probably 50/50 between Lustre-based storage named ExaScaler and GPFS-based named GRIDScaler but in 2020, 4 ExaScalers are sold vs. 1 other product representing the rest of the HPC product line. This is just impressive. During the recent months the product team has delivered a set of key things paramount for DDN market success: A3I, dataFlow and of course ExaScaler 5th generation.

AI is closer to HPC than we think and it triggers some needs in I/O, capacity and bandwidth requirements. It explains why ExaScaler is a good fit but also why some additions were added to the product:

  • Global snapshot, a key feature super tough to achieve in a large distributed storage with many data servers,
  • NAS and S3 protocols from the same namespace,
  • Mixed storage media with intelligent data placement,
  • Plus multi-tenancy and security features.

DDN occupies a unique position in the market explaining why its collaboration with Nvidia shows strong integration.

DDN ExaScaler supports real multi-cloud experiences being available on-remise but also on AWS, Azure and GCP. Dashboards, GUI, realtime monitoring and analytics made its product really compelling this year illustrated by a good traction.

At the same time, Exa5 is positioned as the unstructured product if choice with a very comprehensive in the file and object side from an access method perspective.

This convergence I affirmed for several years now is what DDN finally promoted as well. Enterprises needs HPC and HPC considers enterprise techniques as well, being reciprocally beneficial.

DDN also develops a new multi-cloud data services infrastructure that should be available in June when The IT Press tour will visit again DDN in California. Perfect for us.