I’m here in the Airport lounge waiting for my flight back home and I’m trying to refocus on the chats that I had this week at the Next Gen Storage Summit.

Some news

HDS impressed me more than any of the others. Especially because they are usually seen as a very traditional vendor. On the contrary, in this particular case, the development of their Object Storage platform ecosystem is becoming consistent and promising. They know their flaws and they are working in the right direction to overcome them.
I’m also pretty sure that their Enterprise DNA helps when it’s time to sit with Enterprise end users and listen to their needs.

iStock_000012120788MediumScality is well positioned too. Also in this case the ecosystem is the key of their strategy. Although the approach is different from HDS, there are some really intriguing aspects of their architecture that make RING really appealing in some situations. The list of customers is constantly growing and some of the integrations under development can really create interesting opportunities for this startup, even though some of them are hardly configurable as “traditional enterprise” solutions.

Also Data Direct Networks, with the announcement of the new WOS360, is in the same identical track and is starting to look at enterprises more seriously. The product looks very robust and gives the impression of a real powerhouse capable of being the base of solid infrastructures. On the other hand, I think that the strategy is still too much HPC/WEB2.0 oriented without taking enough consideration of the actual enterprise needs (fortunately, they are working on it).

There are a lot of updates about Ceph and its roadmap, but the most interesting part to me is the soon to be released set of features for analytics. Usually, these kinds of features are part of a payed “enterprise version” of the product but, in this case, they will be released for free. The idea is to give the functionality for free and collect anonymous usage data from each installation. A great resource for InkTank, enabling the development of best practices and consulting services for their high-end users.

iStock_000000261349SmallNexenta is baking a totally new product: scale-out object store based backend, with some ZFS concepts, but on Linux. In beta version soon. That’s a big shift! I’ve asked for a briefing to be scheduled next week to go in-depth on the technical details, I have high expectations about that. On the flip side are being raised about the, already small, ZFS/Illumos community and its future…

I also got the chance to have a talk with Tegile. I hadn’t been updated for a long time and it was a pleasure to hear about the progress this company has made in the last two years 1000 systems, 600+ (mid sized) customers. Their hybrid storage system has some intriguing characteristics when compared with the competition and they also have some interesting integrations with the hypervisors too. Tegile is also expanding its operations here in EU.

Looks like Fusion-IO is totally lost in a sort of midlife crisis. They now have an expanded product line with solutions like ioControl (a hybrid storage coming from the acquisition of NextGen a while ago) but they are struggling to find a strategy good enough to propose this product while avoiding direct competition with OEMs. I know this isn’t easy for them but the more they wait, the harder it will be to raise revenues again.

Last but not least, SanDisk. This company is building a very interesting set of solutions in the enterprise flash space. The ULLtraDIMM is only the last addition to a product line where you can also find server-side flash acceleration software alongside PCIe and SAS solutions. The thing that I love the most about SanDisk is neither the hardware nor the software though: they really know how flash works (look at this, for example) and they are working with end users to analyze workloads and architectures and build best practices which are available through their channel.

I totally missed a couple of companies, Like Exablox (I was very curious about the news) and Nec (with its HYDRAstor). Sorry about that, maybe next time.

Some thoughts

iStock_000015040874LargeThe Object Storage world is becoming really hot, many vendors are still talking too much about technology and too little about its benefits but it’s clear that it is evolving under many aspects. Although, I saw some aberrant messages like “we manage trillions of files”, while enterprises are much more interested in “we do more with less” or “we slash TCO by XX%!” kind of messages (you know what I mean). There is still some work to be done here.

In all the companies I met, both in Object and Flash fields, software remains the only real differentiator. I’m not speaking only about software companies like Scality or Ceph, but also Hardware makers like SanDisk see the value of their proposal in the software part of their stack.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this meeting by TruthinIT 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 published by any other person than the Juku team.