August 29, 2019

Lightbits Labs extends vSAN

Lightbits Labs, a emerging leader in NVMe/TCP, continues to increase its visibility as the company was actively present at the Micron booth during the recent VMworld 2019 conference. The opportunity to pitch several times the extension of vSAN with its external shared SSD storage array SuperSSD or just with any SSD array powered by LightOS was just good. The trigger here resides in the need to grow the storage on some nodes or globally, some may have reached their limit, or wishing a shared storage for more scalability and still using vSAN. For readers who wish to learn more about Lightbits please refer to my different posts: March 2019 and April 2019.

Micron is one the Lightbits investors with Dell Technologies Capital and Cisco. It's interesting to see that Micron had an agreement in the past with Excelero, an other NVMe software player, promoting a joint solution named SolidScale based on NVMesh announced in May 2017. Micron has stopped this solution a few months later in October 2017 and Micron SolidScale disappeared (micron.com/solidscale still redirects you to a 404 error page). At the same time, a marketing voice from Excelero said that "SolidScale has not been killed" but for almost 2 years, the product is lost somewhere in a dark tunnel having difficulties to find the exit as it never reappeared. Or it's a lie, I let you choose...

Back to the session title, it's a clever idea even if the theme of the session mixing words like converged and disaggregated is always strange, not only for me. You get the idea here with the photo below.



The second presence was directly at the VMware innovation zone.

Lightbits Labs also announced its 2nd generation of LightField acceleration card with increased performance and reduce size to fit in 1U servers.

The IT Press Tour #34 in March 2020 in Israel will be the perfect opportunity to meet and visit Lightbits Labs R&D center.
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August 26, 2019

Zadara offers NVMe-based storage

Zadara, the hubrid cloud storage provider, adds a NVMe flavor to its block storage-as-a-service offering helping the adoption of such solutions and masking the price entry point.

In addition, the company refreshes its object storage service still based on OpenStack Swift.

Zadara confirms its unique position in the market being a rare player delivering a complete - block, file and object - storage-as-a-service for both on-premises and cloud.
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August 23, 2019

A newcomer Stellus Technologies

The web site is very limited but at least it exists and we can read on it the following statement: "Stellus Technologies is a stealth company focused on solid state storage system technology for next-generation software-defined data centers."

The origin of the company came from Samsung Electronics who wished to build some next generation storage systems but not internally. The company is based in San Jose, CA with offices in Irvine, CA and Pune, India.

We understand the company leverages Ceph, Elasticsearch, RocksDB, ZeroMQ and consensus algorithms like RAFT and Paxos to build a scalable storage system with leading NVMe, RDMA/RoCE and NAND/Flash technologies. We'd like to learn more and understand differences with other Ceph-based appliance storage like SoftIron.

Spectra Logic on a blog post about M&E Storage mentions them for primary file storage with Qumulo, Pure Storage and Alcestor aka MooseFS.


Update: Since I published this article, Stellus removed the video included above (the page is now empty check https://www.filmless.com/project/stellus/ but Google still refers it if you search 'stellus technologies' you'll find 2 empty pointers) and asked Spectra Logic to remove any mentioned of Stellus in the post I mentioned. StorageNewsletter mentioned the company already in May 2016.
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August 22, 2019

H2O.ai raised again

H2O.ai, pioneer in open-source machine learning for the enterprise, continues its growth with now a new VC round of $72.5M for it series D. The total reaches now $147M illustrating the role and positon of the company led by the charismatic Sri Ambati.

The mission to democratize AI for H2O.ai continues with Driverless AI with now a tripled installed base. With this new round, the company will expand geo presence, sales and marketing of course, and innovation to maintain its leadership.

At the same time, a new iteration of Driverless AI is announced with the ground-breaking recipe creation as the company promotes, model administration and collaboration, and 100 open-source recipes that can be customized and extended to be included to customers specific needs. Finally H2Oa.i provides AI to do and accelerate AI.

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August 15, 2019

Lightbits Labs signs with ICC

International Computer Concepts (ICC) and Lightbits Labs announced during recent FMS conference a reseller agreement. ICC embeds and resells LightOS with its new STRATA SSD appliance. You can find more information on Lightbits Labs on these 2 posts: March 2019 and April 2019.

The array exists in 4 models:
  • 1U 1 node with 10 NVMe SDD named SR-114,
  • 1U 1 node with 10 NVMe SSD plus SmartNIC named SR-112,
  • 1U 2 nodes with 14 NVMe rulers/node named SR-117 and finally
  • 2U 1 node with 24 NVMe SSD named SR-214, this one is similar to SuperSSD.
In term of capacity, it starts at 32TB and ends at 96TB and LightField is optional.

We'll see how this storage appliance will be marketed and receive by the market on various vertical ones.

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August 12, 2019

A Recap of Flash Memory Summit 2019

Flash Memory Summit 2019 aka FMS, taking place last 5-8 August in Santa Clara, CA, was again an interesting conference delivering a good mix of keynotes and sessions coupled with an attractive expo presenting essentially components except a few software exceptions.

There was 130 exhibitors and sponsors with approximately 6,000 attendees according to the organizer, so pretty stable compared with last year figures. We noticed that 80% of visitors are vendors attendees giving the event an image of industry event by and for the industry as an annual market rendez-vous.

There was not really end-users. It explains why the show is a technology show without some large vendors, systems or storage, on the expo floor. This is the case of HPE, on the sponsor list but no booth, same for Pavilion Data Systems, IBM neither sponsor or exhibitor had a keynote, Dell EMC, Hitachi, NetApp, Kaminario… all absents.

The opposite is true with the presence of specialists such as Broadcom, FADU, Marvell, Mellanox, Microchip, SK Hynix, Toshiba, Viking, and Western Digital, but we still wonder why some companies announced their presence but finally didn’t show up with their own booth like Intel, Micron, Samsung or Seagate.

On the other hands, some players choose to have pods on some partners booth like WekaIO or Pure Storage on Mellanox one, Pliops on Xilinx, Liqid on Phison Electronics, DriveScale on Toshiba or Lightbits Labs on International Computer Concepts to name a few.


Conference organizers published a poster of the flash industry timeline, you can find the entire document here.


As mentioned, the event has a huge conference program with lots of sessions and this year topics were around enterprise storage, controllers, flash and new memory technology, SSD, persistent memory, NVMe, software, computational storage, security, AI/ML, consumer and mobile applications, hyperscale and automotive. Some vendors chose to present a session without being an exhibitor thus limiting their exposure but cost as well.

This event confirms what we know for several years: US drives HDD market with Western Digital and Seagate are trying to play a role with Micron and Intel in the SSD/flash/NVMe landscape controlled by Asian companies such Samsung, SK Hynix, Toshiba to name a few.

But it shows again that SSD/flash/NVMe software is almost exclusively developed and controlled by Israeli people. To illustrate this let’s mention a few examples like Toshiba Kumoscale developed by OCZ people following the OCZ acquisition by Toshiba in 2013, Annapurna Labs acquired by AWS in 2015 and more recently E8 Storage, Plexistor acquired by NetApp in 2017 or even Anobit acquired by Apple in 2012. Excelero, Kaminario, Lightbits Labs, Pliops or ScaleMP can also be listed in that domain.


Keynotes and sessions covered multiple angles such increasing density with new layers, 4 and 5 bits per cell, 4D NAND, PCIe Gen 4 and even future NVMe-oF implementations and directions, zones storage, computational storage among others.

Among the ton of announcements made during FMS, here is a selection of vendors around performance, new memory and storage devices, PCIe, NVMe-oF, storage processor, computational storage, listed by alpha order:
  • Broadcom Announces Industry-First Portfolio of PCIe 4.0 Ethernet Adapters and Fibre Channel HBAs Supporting AMD EPYC 7002 Series Processor
  • Broadcom Announces Availability of Industry’s First Universal NVMe Storage Adapter for Bare Metal and Virtualized Servers
  • ICC Introduces STRATA Storage Appliance with Lightbits Labs’ LightOS Software Inside
  • Marvell Extends NVMe-oF Ethernet SSD Technology Portfolio
  • Marvell Unveils Lowest Power PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Controller Portfolio
  • NGD Systems Becomes First to Demonstrate Azure IoT Edge Using Computational Storage
  • Pliops Demonstrates Storage Processor at Flash Memory Summit
  • ScaleFlux Announces Computational Storage Drive 2000 Series
  • SMART Modular Announces New Enterprise Grade PCIe NVMe and SATA Solid State Drive Products
  • Toshiba Memory Unveils XL-Flash Storage Class Memory Solution Toshiba Memory XFMEXPRESS for Removable NVMe Memory Devices
  • Western Digital Accelerates Software-Defined Workloads with Two New Ultrastar Storage Server Platforms
  • Western Digital Launches Two New Families of NVMe SSDs For Today’s Data Center Workload Evolution
  • Western Digital Unleashes the Fastest NVMe-oF Open Composable Platform for Shared Accelerated Storage
  • Xilinx Expands Alveo Portfolio with Industry’s First Adaptable Compute, Network and Storage Accelerator Card Built for Any Server, Any Cloud
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July 2, 2019

ObjectiveFS continues its independent journey

ObjectiveFS, recent participant to the #31 IT Press Tour, was worth a visit. Discovered in 2014 for again an IT Press Tour, that time the edition #14, ObjectiveFS is really a pioneer and a reference in cloud file services.

I wrote a post (in French) at that time that summarized the philosophy of the product. It demonstrated strong features, real performance and attractive cost model.

The recent product iteration supports S3 signature v4, key performance improvements, 128kB block size instead of 4kB and of course its capacity to export a file system via NFS or SMB.

The company works with serious object storage both commercial or open source like Ceph or Minio.

ObjectiveFS is pretty unique on the market, we find also JuiceFS and some others who pick a commercial path to the market. We even saw an interesting solution got acquired recently following company difficulties as management made huge mistakes for the third time. This segment starts to be hot with 4 - 5 players that need to be followed...
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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.
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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...
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June 12, 2019

iXsystems unveils TrueCommand

iXsystems, a leader in systems and storage based on open source software, just introduced TrueCommand 1.0, a centralized management console for TrueNAS and FreeNAS product line deployed across the globe.


It offers performance monitoring and reporting, fault diagnosis, ZFS aware with specific integration, predictive analytics for capacity and health. By ZFA aware we mean the TrueCommand understands ZFS pools, caches, datasets and snapshots.
The tool is free of charge up to 50 drives not systems and enterprise licenses are available for larger configurations. You need a x86 64-bit CPU, at least 4GB of RAM and 80GB of disk space. TrueCommand is available to download via this link.

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