Tuesday, January 17, 2023

48th edition of The IT Press Tour in California again

The IT Press Tour is back in California for the 48th edition the week of January 23rd. This tour will be dedicated to Kubernetes and DevOps and we'll meet 7 companies and/or project:

  • Amberflo.io, a young actor dedicated to metering and billing,
  • CloudFabrix, a fast growing AIOps company,
  • HYCU, a leader in SaaS backup that plan to announce a new product with us,
  • Rakuten Symphony, formerly Robin.io, a reference in cloud native platform and storage,
  • Solo.io, the active player in Service Mesh and API control,
  • Sysdig, the established leader in open source security for microservices,
  • and Velero, the open source project to backup, migrate and provide DR for Kubernetes-based workload.

I invite you to follow us on Twitter with #ITPT and @ITPressTour, my twitter handle and @CDP_FST and journalists' respective handle.


Monday, December 19, 2022

NGX is cooking something around scalable NVMe storage

We spoke recently about NGX Storage and its classic portfolio but during the recent IT Press Tour, Pradeep Ganesan, product management lead for the company, unveiled the future plan for the company, a scale-out NVMe block storage software.

They jumped into the wagon to deliver a scalable disaggregated block storage fueled by end-to-end NVMe. The architecture reminds me what some vendors are doing as they leverage the any-to-any connection between access nodes and storage nodes. They’re using Intel SPDK so everything is running in user space.

The architecture has 2 layers, the first is the back-end storage where the storage node with physical NVMe devices reside exposing native block interfaces via InfiniBand and RoCE connectivity. The second is the controller layer or access nodes, connected to the back-end that expose logical storage entities to clients machines, connected with RDMA/TCP. The beauty of this model is the independent scalability between the controller and storage nodes able to offer a multipath for clients. The technique used here is based on sharding with volumes controlled by the access nodes working in a stateless mode.

In terms of data protection, the development team implements replication within the logical array.

The engineering team develops a write anywhere data placement layer based on a log-structured model and everything is parallelized. Thus they optimize how blocks are written on final NVMe medias having a positive effect on the endurance. The goal is to deliver a sub-millisecond latency system with a throughput of 9GB/s per controller or access node and of course enable NVMe-oF. The first release planned for February 2023 will scale to a few 10s of PB but the ultimate goal is multiple of 100s of PB.

This project is very ambitious and plays against famous names such Kioxia Kumoscale, Lightbits Labs or ones from usual suspects. And we also remember stories that hit the wall like Excelero, acquired for a penny by Nvidia, E8 Storage, swallowed by AWS, or Exten Technologies disappeared inside OVHcloud. They also have in mind some other pioneers we met in the past like Apeiron or Mangstor morphed into Exten. More info soon as the product should be launched in February 2023.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Some hesitations for Qumulo

Qumulo just announced a new strategy around Scale Anywhere. I already noticed that Kiran Bhageshpur, arrived a few months ago as CTO, took the lead on all product oriented activities replacing Ben Gitenstein, former VP of Product Management, who moved to AWS.

This new strategy iteration focus on the run at any place - on-premises and cloud - on any hardware beyond historical partner of Qumulo that finally limited its expansion, with intelligent fast data movement across these locations exposing NFS, SMB and soon S3, I mean Qumulo S3 engine and not MinIO one like it was in the past with the gateway flavor. All these access methods point to the same data. The company extends the cluster to more than 200 nodes and we the current density, I’d like to know who is running 200+ Qumulo nodes cluster. The engineering team has updated its SMB support to offer SMB Change Notify and SMB Multichannel. Interesting stuff but it gaves me the feeling that Qumulo is now behind a few others players and wasted some time and its advance.

Many of us heard some negatives things about Qumulo these last few weeks even months with real difficulties to maintain its Cloud momentum. Sales are clearly impacted and we all remembered the lay-off of 20% of its workforce confirming tough times.

I hope Qumulo won’t change each year its strategy like it was the case for Igneous. With The IT Press Tour crew, we met 4 times Igneous - Dec. 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 - and each time Kiran pitched us a different story and new directions. Guess what, Igneous ceased its operations, disappeared and some IP assets got swallowed for a penny by Rubrik.

I will monitor Qumulo as I anticipate some moves and one of these could be an acquisition by HPE. The problem is the price for Qumulo and for HPE, they acquired companies to destroy and kill them… We all several examples in mind.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

NGX Storage ready to shake European storage positions

The recent 47th edition of The IT Press Tour was the perfect opportunity to meet NGX Storage, its CEO Beyhan Caliskan and product management leader Pradeep Ganesan. For most of us, we discovered the company launched in 2015 in Ankara, Turkey, with R&D in Bangalore, India and Vancouver, Canada, with 200 customers in Europe. The business is done exclusively with channels and the team is actively looking for new partners as they prepare something new with a plan to unveil it in February.

In the meantime, I wish to dig a bit in the current product line, that seems to be a NetApp killer, at least this is their target with already many replacements successes.

The firm has designed and developed essentially 2 models of unified storage, the NGX-H and the NGX-AFA.

The NGX-H for Hybrid embeds SSDs and HDDs for a total capacity of 20PB with SAS, SATA or NVMe internal storage connectivity. It is a unified storage system with dual controllers working in active/active mode exposing block with FC and iSCSI, file with NFS and SMB and object with S3. The team has selected Western Digital JBOD chassis connected to 2 access servers. The system runs FreeBSD and uses the NFS kernel module, for SMB it is Samba and for S3, they use MinIO. External network interfaces use 32Gb/s FC HBAs and 100Gb/s Ethernet NICs.

The NGX-AFA develops similar characteristics except it’s a full flash solution with SAS and NVMe connectivity.

On the data service side, the company has made clear choice and the solution is very comprehensive with:

  • Inline data reduction with both compression and deduplication with a zero detection mechanism,
  • Intelligent tiering at multiple levels in the system and all data are always written first to the flash layer,
  • Accumulation write operations for SSDs what they call Random Flash Sequential Disk (RFSD),
  • Data Protection with RAID (level 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60) plus triple parity and 4-way mirrors, snapshot, clone and replication over TCP but erasure coding is not yet available,
  • Non disruptive upgrade both for the software and the hardware,
  • And also encryption with AES-256, WORM and TOE.

To boost I/O operations the engineering team implements wide-striping to maximize the bandwidth and delivers expected throughput.

In terms of deployment, classic local racks exist but also metro cluster with what they call MetroScale Cluster leveraging 4-way mirroring, 2 on each site.

We discovered a very compelling solution, very rich, and we understand the adoption in their region. Now they’re working on a new generation of block storage, we were super happy that Beyhan and Pradeep broke the news for us for the very first time and a few weeks before the product will hit the news and the market. I will write about it in a few days, it deserves a dedicated article.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

An clever content indexing solution from Nuclia

Nuclia, a young Spanish software company based in Barcelona, Spain, has participated for the first time to the recent 47th edition of The IT Press Tour. And it was a great surprise as the solution really rocks. Let’s dig a bit.

First the company, Nuclia was founded in 2019, has around 25 employees, and received so far 5.5 million euros as a seed round from Crane Ventures Partners and Elaia. The founding team already collaborated together in past project like Iskra.cat, Intranetum.com or Onna.com.

The challenge they address is well known and huge so it invites several players to think about how to index the content of a large volume of unstructured data. As we all know indexing metadata is pretty easy, well mastered by plenty of solution, but the real grail is the content. The recent Coldago Map for Unstructured Data Management unveiled 20 players coming from the storage industry but only a very limited number of them know how to deal with content. One of these is Data Dynamics that understood that need very early and decided to acquire the Indian company Infintus Innovations Pvt. Ltd in 2019, 3 years ago.

The problem can be summarized in a few lines:

  • The volume of data explodes especially the unstructured data type, it is true for the number of files, the nature of them and their size,
  • The format of files themselves need the right level of interpretation. Again metadata, extended attributes of files can be extracted via classic file system level tools or API calls but the internal data is another story. And let’s consider the language dimension associated with a large variety of data sources, these create a certain complexity.
  • And keywords have hit a wall, it is not enough to manage content with this approach.
  • So clearly the market requires a new level of solutions that are able to discover all type of file content to enable a new level and more comprehensive knowledge to build a real analytics landscape you can navigate into.

So Nuclia has jumped into this mission with new ideas, talents and expertise. The key decision they made is to offer AI-based search as-a-Service with a very simple way to submit unstructured data to the index engine without any special code to generate. The architecture, shown below, is a multi step process controlled by the Nuclia Desktop, and SDK or a REST API. The other element central and fundamental in Nuclia’s approach is the design of a dedicated database, the famous open source vectorized NucliaDB, as they didn’t find anyone on the market suitable for their need.

The service exposes an easy 6 steps workflows with:

  1. Selection of any data source,
  2. with any language for any kind of data,
  3. then an extraction from the source whatever the type text, audio or video,
  4. establish insights which is more than a keyword being a trend or a meta topic if I can say that,
  5. then creates vectors
  6. to insert info as records in the NucliaDB.

And the beauty of this is the Google-like search user experience with just one field to access content.

So far the company has identified and chosen some use cases more vertical ones but not yet data management solutions like the ones mentioned in the last Coldago Map 2022 for Unstructured Data Management.

I invite you to try the solution, I tried it and it delivers very interesting results in a very simple easy experience, so just go to https://nuclia.com/sign-up/.


Thursday, December 08, 2022

Tiger leverages Cloud AI to boost vertical files use cases

Tiger Technology, a leader in cloud file storage for Windows, has participated for the second time to The IT Press Tour, this time organized in Lisbon, Portugal.

The team has launched and promoted with us early this year its On-Premises First hybrid strategy aka OPF. This model simplifies deployments and refers to on-premises sites as the data reference. Then it is coupled with cloud storage entities such Azure and presents a global namespace spanning local and remote data sets.

Recognized expert in Windows and in NTFS particularly, the company flagship product Tiger Bridge consolidates all data as NTFS files on the appliance, potentially used locally or with embedded applications or via SMB.

Strong in M&E, the firm has decided to address a new vertical with healthcare with medical imaging systems.

Tiger leverages the cloud to process specific AI related tasks and discover new information to then add them as extended attributes or metadata to files. These enriched files are then fully available on the gateway exposed as native NTFS files and boost pathologists missions.

The configuration below shows that example.

The second vertical invites me to think that the company will continue in that direction making the product more horizontal so more generic. At the same time, the team prepares a Linux-based appliance flavor to address some environments where Linux is more present and adopted than Windows. Lots of progress for the company that clearly accelerated since out last meeting. I expect some other good news from Tiger.


Thursday, December 01, 2022

47th edition of The IT Press Tour organized in Europe

The IT Press Tour is back in Europe for the 47th edition globally and we'll be in Lisbon, Portugal, for a few days next week. This tour will be dedicated to IT Infrastructure, Data Management and Storage and we'll 6 hot European companies:

  • Atempo, France, the European leader in data protection,
  • Cleondris, Switzerland, developer of key solutions on top of NetApp,
  • Linbit, Austria, the reference in Linux data resiliency,
  • NGX Storage, Turkey, a growing unified storage player,
  • Nuclia, Spain, a emerging actor in content indexing levering AI,
  • and Tiger Technology, Bulgaria, a reference in hybrid cloud file storage.

I invite you to follow us on Twitter with #ITPT and @ITPressTour, my twitter handle and @CDP_FST and journalists' respective handle.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Coldago unveils its new Map 2022 for Unstructured Data Management

Classic every year in autumn for a few years, Coldago Research announced some new studies usually around file and object storage. This time the firm started the campaign with a brand new report dedicated to unstructured data management.

It covers 20 companies studied during the last 12 months and selects companies with solutions for the open systems world. By alpha order these companies are: Arcitecta, Atempo, Cohesity, Commvault, Data Dynamics, Datadobi, Dell, Grau Data, Hitachi Vantara, IBM, iRODS, Komprise, NetApp, Nodeum, PoINT Software & Systems, QStar, Spectra Logic, StarFish, StrongLink and Veritas Technologies.

I invite you to check the report page here.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Recap of the 46th IT Press Tour

The 46th edition of The IT Press Tour mid-October took place in California. It was a dense week meeting next companies for us and also well know ones: AuriStor, Data Dynamics, GRAID, HYCU, N-able, Panzura, Pavilion Data, Protocol Labs, ScaleFlux and Smart IOPS. This is the podcast episode about that edition, it was the 26th tech talk and globally 132th episode of The French Storage Podcast. I invite you to listen to it below, enjoy.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Talk with Jeffrey Altman, CEO and co-founder, AuriStor

AuriStor joined again the recent 47th edition of The IT Press Tour and it was the perfect opportunity to discuss with Jeffrey Altman, CEO and co-founder, to learn more about the genesis of the project, its links with other related technologies such OpenAFS, DFS..., the mission of the company, the product details and use cases, the go-to-market and pricing model but of course future directions. This interview is the 66th in the interview series and globally 131st episode of the French Storage Podcast. Enjoy your listening.