This is the first episode of Juku.beats (recorded during SolidFire’s analysts meeting on 25/Feb/2015).

I’m with Jeramiah Dooley (Cloud architect at SolidFire) and we talk about:
– ElementX ( A new option for hyper-scale customers to buy SolidFire Element OS and install it on their hardware)
– SolidFire and OpenStack
– ActiveIQ (a cloud-based analytics tool included with support contracts)

(I know there is a lot of space for improvements, recording, editing and publishing a podcast is not so easy after all… but I’m learning ūüėČ )

The transcript of the interview follows:

Enrico:Welcome to the next episode of Juku Beats. I am Enrico Signoretti and I am here with Jeramiah Dooly, [inaudible 00:00:07]. Hi, Jeramiah.

Jeramiah:Hi, how are you?

Enrico:I’m very good. I’m very glad to be here at the SolidFire analysts meeting. I have three questions for you, you know how the audio blog works so I go straight to the questions.

Jeramiah:Excellent.

Enrico:The first one is about Element X, something that you launched today. It’s a very different model of selling your platform.

Jeramiah:Yes.

Enrico:Can you help us understand better?

Jeramiah:Sure, what we did with Element X was we decoupled the hardware that is normally included with a SolidFire appliance with the Element OS software that sits on top of it. For today, where that’s being targeted at is going to be at he hyperscale customers who have significant buying power and who have significant inventory management power on the hardware that they’re deploying into vast-scaled environments. This gives them the ability to maintain their hardware purchasing process but then layer the … get that hardware qualified with SolidFire and have the Element OS laid on top of it.

Where it’s interesting is that there’s no Element X version of Element OS. It’s all the same software, so Element X nodes and traditional solid-fire nodes that have been based on the same hardware platform that we’ve used for the last two, two-and-a-half years, all of them will inter-operate. It provides the same features, the same functionality, the same redundancy, the same data availability. It’s the same storage ray. We’re just being more flexible about how customers can leverage it with the hardware that may already be in place or that they’re already using as part of their hyperscale environments.

Enrico:Good. It sounds like a great move. Also, it’s kind of a consequence of the adoption that I’m seeing from your customer base about OpenStack. You have lot of big [inaudible 00:02:06] installations, so looking at the number of customers that you have in production with Openstack, I’m just curious to know if it’s Openstack that helps you in some way or it’s the other way around.

Are you the best platform for OpenStack in production today and why?

Jeramiah:To the first part of your question, we’re seeing … We showed the stats between 2013 and 2014 and we see the Enterprise OpenStack adoption really starting to accelerate, right? We’ve heard from both customers and partners here as part of the Analysts Day around how they’re building practices and how they’re building environments that are leveraging OpenStack.

To some extent, it’s a good validation of the investment that we’ve made into the Openstack platform and into the community. We look at Openstack really as should be with most open-source projects. There’s a very symbiotic relationship. We were very early participants in splitting cinder out of the core Novacode, being able to actually allow external storage to be presented in and so we like to think that from a community and ecosystem standpoint, we have been really good for OpenStack and we’re a phenomenal block platform.

Being able to do both the scalability, as well as the QOS, really matches up directly to what OpenStack needs and so where we help OpenStack is in being the best possible block platform that we can and being contributing and vibrant members of the community.

Where Openstack helps us is the way they deploy instances and the way that we inter-operate really starts to show the power of what the system can do, not just from a provisioning and from an individual disk standpoint but also from how do we inter-operate with object storage from how do we replicate, how do we do snapshots. All of these things in an OpenStack context work really well.

I would like to think that as good as we try to be for the OpenStack community, OpenStack as a platform really displays some of the best things that there are about the SolidFire storage system.

Enrico:Good and I have this last question about the active IQ.

Jeramiah:Yes.

Enrico:Analytics, cloud-based analytics …

Jeramiah:Cloud-based analytics.

Enrico:[inaudible 00:04:34] have to get a lot of information from your customer base, how they use the systems and the evolution of the work load, so what [inaudible 00:04:44] size you get from … ?

Jeramiah:So active IQ is pretty exciting for us and realistically, I think that active IQ is going to be, or cloud-based analytics like active IQ are going to become much more of the norm, particularly on the storage side of things.

We’ve seen Nimble in particular do a phenomenal job of leveraging their ability to monitor their customers and their customer systems as a way to really help inform the rest of the business.

From a SolidFire standpoint, what it gives us is a tremendous amount of telemetry around how customers are using the boxes. Some of that is very tactical. Customers who are experiencing issues, we can open tickets directly. Customers who are getting low on inventory, we can contact them and resolve that.

Where it really starts to be interesting is using it strategically, because we can see very granular things like how big are volumes on average, what sort of QOS settings are customers using on average, how many volumes are being provisioned off of in a ray. We can see average block size across both entire clusters but also individual volumes, so we have this tremendous amount of data that we can feed back to the product into the engineering teams to say when you created this feature, you expected it to be used in a certain way and here’s the data that either supports that, we did good, continue to do more of it, or here’s data to say customers are using that in a way that we didn’t anticipate.

Being able to go back and bring real objective data on how customers are using the platforms really helps SolidFire as a company, while at the same time being a great tool for customers to use to be able to do historical trending, to be able to see capacity over time, to be able to generate alerts off of their environments and then be able to directly tie into the ticket creation process from a support standpoint. I think that active IQ will be one of those things that really starts to flex its muscle and show customers how valuable it can be here as we go into 2015.

Enrico:Thank you very much.

Jeramiah:Of course, thank you …

Jeramiah:Absolutely, thank you.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by SolidFire and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or edited by any other person than the Juku team.