June 25, 2019

New dense appliances for Qumulo

Qumulo, one of the NAS market leader, announced today several new appliance models and software enhancements.

Three new models are introduced confirming a real trend towards dense nodes with NVMe drives. The Performance model P-184T receives double the capacity of the existing one with 184TB in 2U now with 24 drives of 7.68TB delivering 225GB/s with 4 x 100GbE ports, the hybrid C-168T has now 12 x 14TB HDDs coupled with 4 x 960GB SSD in 1U with 2 x 25GbE ports dedicated for mixed workloads and the active archive K-168T mimics the hybrid new storage update using 2 x 10GbE networking ports.. New software enhancements also boost performance by 40%, it is available to currents models with a simple OS upgrade.

Qumulo also updates the analytics engine for capacity consumed by storage, snapshots and metadata. Following the XPP introduction a few weeks ago, a security activity audit is added to understand information about file operations and activities.

Qumulo confirms its leadership with a very comprehensive solutions for cloud and on-premises workloads and demanding file environments in performance and capacity. The advantage to have designed an internal distributed file system creates a real gap with other NAS vendors. Next few months we should see a real acceleration and potentially an IPO.

June 17, 2019

A few good deals to secure

Cloudera last trading value was around $5 Friday, Nutanix touched $25 and Pure Storage landed on $15... to list a few bargains. Even MapR closed to a shutdown belongs to this list failing to raise a new VC round.

Cloudera would be great at IBM to increase Hadoop and services portfolio around Big Data and even HPE always looking for good deals after SimpliVity, Blue Data and Nimble Storage.

Who else? Hum I see some commercial object storage vendors who tried to survive and swim in a red ocean with too many players and reduced opportunity especially for pure players. As S3 eats everything, Minio became ubiquitous and the Tsunami I announced already a few years ago for S3 and open source object storage is confirmed. Les start a countdown for others, I don't see any future for several commercial others...

June 7, 2019

WekaIO breaks a new record

Benchmark results are key when you address technical computing and especially HPC. It exists essentially 2 flavors of benchmark: the ones to beat records and most of the time at a very high price and only a few entities can afford them and ones on users' hardware to beat performance thresholds on more common deployments.

We met WekaIO at their new HQ 3 days ago with The IT Press Tour and we got a very good session as usual following the visit we did at their R&D center in Tel-Aviv in November 2016, almost 3 years ago, the company has made lots of progress.

WekaIO has chosen to publish regularly various performance benchmarks on different hardware platform like SPECsfs and more recently did the STAC-M3 Antuco and Kanaga test on the FrostByte and Relion systems made by Penguin Computing.

This test uses the Kx time-series distributed database kdb+ 3.6 deployed across 7 Relion servers with data stored on FrostByte storage with 9 NVMe SSD per 1U server, Mellanox router and adapters with WekaIO MatrixFS 3.2.2 as displayed below. The result is impressive with 37.5GB/s and 2.5M 4K IOPS.

MatrixFS has a new design addressing limitations of "classic" distributed file system such Lustre and Spectrum Scale. It is what we called a Symmetric Parallel Distributed File System: Symmetric means that metadata service is delivered by any server in the cluster, Parallel implies that clients distributes/chunks/splits/stripes file data among multiple data servers thanks to the agent loaded on each client system and Distributed refers to the file system layout existing across data servers.

As financial demanding applications require high performance, financial institutions consider seriously such results that serve as a very good vehicle to boost WekaIO customer adoption.

But there is a mystery and just a miss: WekaIO is listed on the Penguin partners page but the FrostByte product page continues to list BeeGFS, Red Hat Gluster and Ceph and Lustre and no WekaIO as I wrote last year. Bizarre.


June 4, 2019

The unstructured data catalog from Data Dynamics

A good surprise of the IT Press Tour this week comes from Data Dynamics who markets StorageX, the famous Network File Virtualization product born at NuView then acquired by Brocade in 2006 for $60M.

Data Dynamics continues to penetrate enterprise landscape with 26 Fortune 100 companies, 6 of 12 world's largest banks and operating 350PB+ over 17 years of technology market presence. It means that the technology is reliable, proven, well adopted and span multiple technology waves and refreshes. We realize that StorageX lasts longer than the storage it manages and for a simple reason data lifecycle is longer that the hardware device where it resides.

We had the privilege to meet Piyush Mehta, CEO of Data Dynamics, now owner of StorageX since 2012, and got an interesting update on the product and future directions.

About the product, StorageX is one of the most comprehensive file data controller based on a very advanced metadata engine. However it suffers from a lack of visibility on the market.

It operates as a global file directory service for on-premises file servers and NAS like DNS plays for Internet. The slide above illustrates the features set of the product around the analysis of the unstructured data environment.

StorageX leverages a SQL database for several years, StorageX integrates now Elastic search and NoSQL engine when analytics and archives modules are enabled, for storing meta data collected and the tagging that drives categorization and intelligence into the data. This information can be accessed via StorageX UI, API or directly via Elastic.

In term of deployments, StorageX server receives data from UDE - Universal Data Engine - collectors running on-premises. As a pure software, StorageX doesn't require agents, gateway or stubs.

With the 8.1 release, several new features were introduced:
  • Analyze: optimized file scan and analytics powered by Elasticsearch plus the capability to perform query search to create custom datasets for effective data analytics and reporting,
  • Move: support added for Microsoft Azure Blog meaning that StorageX adds object storage target,
  • Manage: Integration added for 3rd-party monitoring tools plus enabled data grooming for Cassandra,
  • Modernize: New API functions for business workflow integrations.
StorageX is also a key solution chosen and selected for the delivered proven ROI. The image below shows an example that illustrates perfectly generated savings.

The pricing model for all StorageX modules is based or capacity per year per account in addition to a StorageX engine fee.

We expect StorageX 9.0 soon with some interesting new features and product architecture. First in term of architecture, Piyush Mehta told us that the product will be redesigned with microservices for the core and edge i.e the data collectors. AI will be also included and security extended. The last addition will see content analysis to complement metadata knowledge, enhance policy engine and align with some compliance requirements. Very good session, hope to meet Data Dynamics for a future IT Press Tour to see progress.


June 3, 2019

DataCore ready for a new era

We met a few times DataCore several years ago at heir HQ in Fort Lauderdale and the company seemed to manage pretty well its installed base but had some difficulties to go beyond its storage virtualization comfort zone.

The meeting early today during The IT Press Tour was the opportunity to meet the new team, at least part of it, especially Dave Zabrowski, CEO, Gerardo Dada, CMO and Steven Hunt, Product Management.

But a sad event has changed completely DataCore. The death of Ziya Aral, Founder and CTO, and technical hero of the company, early 2017 was a shock and served as a real trigger for the company to imagine a new future wishing to leverage its strong recognized expertise for two decades. Ziya co-founded DataCore in 1998 with his close friend George Teixeira, now chairman of the company.

After several months of shaking heads, the new DataCore landed on earth again. As you may have seen for severals months, the company name is the same but the logo, mission, strategy and management have changed under the leadership of Dave Zabrowski, arrived in April 2018.

The company has made a serious exercise to study end-users and partners needs especially their customers to understand their expectations and above all consider them. First, a clear cloud strategy is missing as DataCore is an on-premise player so the public flavor was out of their scope. Does it mean they will announce something, we'll see. Considering this domain, the pricing strategy will require an change to match the now common practice which is a subscription model.

The second direction could be to leverage the SANsymphony SDS software and start an HCI offering. This needs a hypervisor choice and other software adherence.

We then expect of course a new iteration for SANsymphony and what about what a few others developed overtime like Nimble Storage InfoSight, Kaminario Clarity, NetApp OnCommand Insight or Pure Storage Pure1. I mean a SaaS Analytics an Insights platform to understand end-users' storage environment getting more and more complex and large. We'll see but we heard that DataCore have some plans on these few product directions.

May 27, 2019

The IT Press Tour #31 will hit earth soon

The IT Press Tour, the leading IT event for IT press, has recently unveiled participating companies for the 31st edition planned the week June 3rd in Silicon Valley.

Eleven companies will join the press crew, some of them are well established and we already met them and some participate for the first time:
  • Atempo, leader in data protection,
  • Data Dynamics, growing player in metadata management,
  • DataCore, pioneer in storage virtualization,
  • HYCU, fast growing actor in cloud data protection,
  • iXsystems, reference in open source-based systems and storage,
  • Kaminario, top vendor in flash storage and composable infrastructure,
  • ObjectiveFS, disruptor in cloud file storage,
  • Publist, emerging player in online file management,
  • Qumulo, famous leader in enterprise NAS,
  • StorONE, innovator in unified SDS,
  • and WekaIO, developer of the world fastest file system.
It will be again a dense week with hot technologies, great leaders and fast growing companies, the tour will shake the market again. I invite you to follow us with @ITPressTour, #ITPT, various publications and reporters Twitter handles.

May 24, 2019

Snowflake Slootman phase 1

First phase of the executives shuffle at Snowflake following Frank Slootman arrival just started. As I wrote recently for its nomination as CEO replacing Bob Muglia, Slootman already invited two of his old friends and colleagues, the legal and HR positions are now filled by Rob Specker and Shelly Begun respectively. The leadership page is a bit bizarre as 2 co-founders Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski disappear from it. Remember this is just phase 1, more is coming...

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.