July 22, 2020

IMT launches SoDA

Integrated Media Technologies, aka IMT, well known in the media & entertainment industry, starts a new company iteration with the expansion of it software business.

At the same time, the firm unveils its first software product named SoDA. This product is a data mover targeting unstructured data transfers to and from public clouds. As of today SoDA supports AWS S3 and any source with NFS, SMB and on-prem S3. The product can be used also for on-prem migration between NAS.

As a software solution, IMT picks 2 deployments models with a virtual appliance and 2 physical appliances. These 2 hardware models are available today in 1U with model S100 and 3 x 1U for model S300. More information is available on cloudsoda.io.

The pricing model is based on a monthly subscription with a minimum of 12 months whatever is the volume managed.

We see already several products in that category and I invite the reader to check a few articles I wrote about this especially this one published in StorageNewsletter.

With more than 800 customers, IMT is ready to add SoDA to its installed base, real up-sell opportunities.

July 17, 2020

Qumulo confirms its unicorn status

Qumulo, a leader in file storage, continues its market conquest at a rapid pace. The firm just announced a new VC round - Series E - of $125M at a valuation of more than $1.2B thus confirming its unicorn status.

Coldago Research has published its new bi-annual study end of June and obviously Qumulo belongs to it for a few editions already.

The total raided is impressive at $351M coming from past investors Highland Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Kleiner Perkins and new investors like Amity Ventures.

It confirms once again a real battle between Pure Storage with FlashBlade, VAST Data, Dell EMC with PowerScale and Weka.IO.

July 16, 2020

Qumulo recruits a new CMO

Qumulo, one of the leader in file storage, has finally chosen to replace Peter Zaballos, past CMO who left one year ago.

Qumulo has demonstrated a pretty good growth and visibility in the meantime confirming that other people on the product marketing side are key for that market adoption.

The executive team has picked Adriana Gil Miner, who has demonstrated strong accomplishments especially at Tableau, now a Salesforce company. We'll see if it will fit with Qumulo... as Peter Zaballos stayed less than 18 months. With a track record outside of storage, she has to learn rapidly key elements of the storage market and industry and unique Qumulo DNA...

July 7, 2020

Michael Cornwell is back to Pure Storage

We don't know the reason and the motivation, personal or professional, but Michael Cornwell is back to Pure Storage after 11 months as CTO of Qumulo. The Qumulo leadership page doesn't referenced any longer his profile and Michael updated his LinkedIn profile earlier today with the Field CTO for Americas position at Pure Storage. Before Qumulo, Michael spent 21 months at Microsoft and before more than 8 years at Pure Storage for different positions. It's a surprise.

July 3, 2020

CloudSphere = HyperGrid + iQuate

CloudSphere, a new arrival in the cloud management space, is the result of multiple iterations of GridStore with additions of other companies in the meantime.

GridStore was founded in 2009 and raised $44.5M in 4 rounds to provide a scale-out NAS for SMB based on Windows OS. It was the original mission and pretty interesting project in fact. Time was tough as the company never found its landing zone.

Around 2015 the team tried a new positioning in the HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI) segment as the new hot and hope zone for many vendors. But it never took off. The product, named HCA for HyperConverged Appliance, combines Windows 2012 R2, the GridStore vController, some hardware and run as a VM in Microsoft Hyper-V.

But again, this strategy hit a wall and the project evolved, once again into a new direction.
In May 2016, HyperGrid was born as the result of the merger between GrisStore and DCHQ. In fact, DCHQ was absorbed by GridStore in that process. HyperGrid changed again to offer HCI-as-a-Service with its product named HyperCloud.

...and the story continued again, "HyperConfidentiality" instead of HyperConverged and guess what, a few weeks ago, a new merger happened.

CloudSphere was born as the result of the addition of HyperGrid and iQuate. What a story...

By the way, Manoj Nair, HyperGrid founder, is now general manager of Metallic, the SaaS backup business of Commvault. He left HyperGrid at the birth of CloudSphere but he's still a board member.

This journey reminds me an other long story with many iterations... Overland.

June 30, 2020

Sandia Labs uses SoftIron

SoftIron, the promoter of Ceph-based Software-Defined Storage, announced that Sandia National Laboratories adopts HyperDrive.

The Vanguard program selects Ceph to offer file and object storage for its ARM-based Stria HPC cluster. This cluster supports the Astra Supercomputer as a development system preparing software releases and codes to be used on the Petascale Astra system.

SoftIron designs, develops and builds HyperDrive as a storage appliance tailored for demanding environment with optimized components at a very efficient cost.

SoftIron with HyperDrive contribute to make Ceph a serious and strong solution beyond the hype of open source and its with availability and adoption. It helps Ceph to support critical environments with a robust design.

Sandia Labs choice is a true validation of SoftIron decision to embed Ceph in a appliance for factor with an ARM-based operating environment. Being open-source helps adoption but also creates lots of frustration as hardware is not always aligned with the real use, thus being often below in term of performance and availability needs.

Definitively SoftIron is a player to watch in 2020.

June 29, 2020

Pavilion signs with Sony Innovation Studios

Pavilion Data Systems, the emerging leader in high performance unified storage, continues sits market penetration as its adoption seems to accelerate. It confirms the maturity of the product and its capabilities with an interesting features set.

This increase of visibility seen for several months is the result of the arrival of Amy Love, CMO, who changed Pavilion image, building real marketing practice and establishing a real connection with press and analysts. Clearly Amy has a real impact turning an engineering driven company into a more business oriented one.

When you read Pavilion product spec sheet you understand why users with high demanding storage needs select HFA. In 4U, so in a super dense chassis, the I/O throughput it delivers is super high with 120GB/s and 20M IOPS for less for 100 micro seconds in block mode.

HFA was chosen by Sony Innovation Studios, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to be the storage foundation of its volumetric capture based on Atom View software. This 3-D virtual and mixed environments put the storage layer under heavy stress and only a few vendors can absorb such workloads.

Sony has selected an integrated solution from Alliance Integrated Technology and Pixit Media coupled with HFAs. The capability of HFA, its parallelism design, internal fast switching with 20 controllers and end-to-end NVMe, here wit RoCE links, met performance requirements for GPU-based rendering.

This solution uses IBM Spectrum Scale to offer a parallel file access to the datastore leveraging the parallelism of multiple HFAs in the rendering farm.

Great case studies, more should come soon.

June 26, 2020

Qumulo launches Shift

Qumulo, among the 4 file storage blitzscalers*, unveiled recently a very interesting function that deliver real value to AWS users, and of course invite others now.

Launched during the recent IT Press Tour, Qumulo Shift provides a way to copy file data to AWS S3. Data come from on-prem or cloud Qumulo cluster instances. The idea is simple and very efficient and the Qumulo team wishes to leverage tons of AWS applications.

The image below summarizes the layered model of the architecture and the place of the various data services and core functionalities.

Started on-prem with flash in mind, Qumulo has been extended to cloud with AWS, more recently GCP, and we expect soon Azure and is now a real hybrid cloud file storage offering.

With Shift, the master or reference site is still the Qumulo cluster but now coupled with AWS S3 with this capability to feed AWS applications with file data. It offers a way to offload data processing with a large spectrum of apps. One limitation from AWS S3 with the object size limit of 5TB that doesn't seem to be a blocking point for Qumulo.

"The functionality doesn't address the potential data divergence between clusters and AWS S3, the idea is really to offload processing to AWS" confirms Molly Presley, head of global product marketing at Qumulo.

Ben Gitenstein, Vice President of Products, confirms during the session that the average file size on Qumulo cluster is between 3 to 4TB. We don't yet understand if the service is not available for larger then 5TB files as applications need to consider that case with multiple objects.

This Shift service complements pretty well what Qumulo did with MinIO embedding the gateway flavor of it to an unified and ubiquitous access method to data. Locally, and in the cloud, Qumulo can expose NAS and S3 interfaces on same data, and now purely S3 from AWS. VAST Data offers same data access from NFS, SMB and S3 like Qumulo but Pure Storage can't do that.

This new service will be available in a few days, completely free, just by a software upgrade but of course limited to users under maintenance contract.

*The blitzscaler refers to the Coldago Research Map 2019 for File Storage available here and of course the book from Reid Hoffman "Blitzscaling".

June 24, 2020

StrongBox Data refreshes its product

StrongBox Data Solutions, an emerging leader in unstructured data management, just announced a new version of StrongLink during the recent IT Press Tour.

This new StrongLink iteration adds LTFS support confirming that unstructured data management solutions must include this data instance if you wish to be considered by large corporations and research centers. It confirms the comprehensive capability of the product.

This is a huge differentiator with some other players that completely ignore tape targeting on-prem and cloud only.

The product offers a super set of features and especially includes a wide range of capabilities around metadata management. It invites users to build very optimized file data workflows to enable a horizontal cross platform multi sites storage service fueled by file, object, cloud and tape storage.

Wherever files reside, StrongLink is able to provide access via industry standard file sharing protocols and align value or interest in data with the storage layer in a scalable way.

The product is very intuitive with a pretty simple UI to manipulate data locations, create policies and globally manage the file data farm.

Also the product delivers data protection models with specific policies to remote StrongLink sites, clouds or tape libraries.

Technically the product can be deployed in-band or out-of-band operating on dedicated bare metal servers or installed as VMs. StrongLink moves data to location and avoid tiering concept as there are no stubs, symlinks nor agents. How the product behaves depends also on the deployment mode, for instance, in in-band mode the routing to file data is made by the StrongLink engine itself.

The company is today one of the most advanced product in the data management landscape delivering unique capabilities within one software solution completely hardware agnostic. With today's rapid data growth, it appears that StrongLink is a key product to bridge independent unstructured data silos whatever are the data sources.

June 22, 2020

Where is ClearSky Data? Evaporated

Waiting the Nebulon announcement, I tried to check a few vendors in the cloud-connected on-prem storage ecosystem and discovered that ClearSky Data disappeared.

The web site is not responding and we even discovered that Helen Rubin, co-founder and CEO, is head of Storage Gateway Services at AWS since January 2020. Funny, it seems that again AWS made a silent acquisition like KMesh a few months ago. Some other employees left the company even if we found that Lazarus Vekiarides, CTO and co-founder, is still listed at Clear Sky Data in his LinkedIn page. The ClearSky Data Twitter account disappeared as well same thing for the company LinkedIn profile.