July 29, 2015

Datrium is now out of stealth

Datrium (www.datrium.com) is out of stealth just a few weeks before VMworld and they will be a sponsor there. I wrote an early post 2 years ago in July 2013 (in french sorry) that anticipated a few things. The company, backed by NEA, Lightspeed Ventures Partners and famous individuals such Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Edouard Bugnion, Frank Slootman and Kai Li, and launched in 2012 by former executives from Data Domain (Brian Biles and Hugo Patterson), EMC (Sazzala Reddy), VMware (Boris Weissman and Ganesh Venkitachalam) and NetApp, shows a strong DNA in virtualization and Storage. Coupled together, we can expect great things, honestly when you disrupt the storage industry with dedup and associated log structured file system, plus deep ESX hypervisor knowledge with key engineers from VMware, the result should be good, at least very interesting with lot of promises. Let's dig a bit to discover what Datrium brings to the market.
Datrium just announced their product, DVX, which is different from storage array and hyper-converged servers. DVX approach introduced an interesting logical architecture with 2 components working closely together: stateless servers and a back-end appliance, all operating the DiESL software:
  • Stateless servers or DVX hosts are classic servers (2 x86 cpus core minimum and 5GB RAM) running VMware 5.5 Update 2. These servers provide local storage and act as a cache and must offer 2.5GB of RAM per TB of SSD. The maximum SSD capacity per server is 8TB for 8 SSDs maximum. Users can plug their own SSD as soon as the HW is validated by VMware meaning listed on the HCL. These systems operate local data services such as data deduplication, caching, RAID...
  • Netshelf is the back-end appliance used for data durability, it is connected to all stateless servers via a 10Gb networks and a proprietary protocol. This system is a 2U server and embeds HDD storage for a total of 29TB useable, in fact with 2-6x data reduction factor, virtual volume can store up to 58-175TB of data. Netshelf provides NVRAM for fast-writes and an active/passive mode for HA.
  • DiESL - Distributed Execution, Shared Logs - is the core software of DVX. It's a distributed file system invented by Datrium that spans the Netshelf appliance and DVX hosts.
Externally DVX is seen and exposed as a NFS Datastore, still the easiest way to integrate VMs, and managed via vCenter plugin. Scalability evolves in 2 dimensions: capacity and performance and one doesn't dictate the other. DVX includes 1 Netshelf appliance and an unlimited number of stateless server license, unlimited on the paper of course.


Datrium DVX is a new storage approach exposed as a scalable file storage based on a multi-tier model mixing SSD and HDD for virtual environment with intelligent data services. It represents an new iteration in many various new solutions and players that we've seen for many quarters now. We'll see and meet them at VMworld in a few weeks and I will comment again soon the solution.
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