I know next to nothing about the lawsuit. SimpliVity is very purposefully not saying much about it: their lawyers have rightly told them not to and I have not asked.
What I do know is rather a great deal about their storage system. It is not a "hashed key storage system". Or, to be more precise, describing Simplivity's storage as a "hashed key storage system" is a bit like describing a car as "a door handle with some accessories". It is rather more involved that your typical NoSQL setup (which is basically what a hashed key storage system would be).
When I think "hashed key storage system" I think things like what WinFS was supposed to be: essentially, a database, but with a rich index. SimpliVity's underlying storage is to a database as a database including fully modern HA, DR and incremental forever backups are to a standard paper filing cabinet.
I really don't want to get in to attempting to describe the technical bits here in the comments. There exist no pithy buzzwords that actually capture what SimpliVity is doing. There are no simple hand waves to easily facilitate smirks of dismissal. To explain SimpliVity I really need to marry graphics to words. And I'm doing so. It has been my major project for the past week and will be for this next week.
What SimpliVity is doing with storage is honestly quite clever. It's also tricky enough to really get at first. Most people are tempted to dismiss it as something they already know because that makes it simple and it prevents them from having to admit that there might be something that they don't already know.
Storage experts who are motivated to actually learn - and learn in detail - usually need an hour or so to fully grasp what's going on. Once they do there is quite literally an "aha!" moment where you can see (or hear) the "click" of understanding. This is followed by silence...then usually an "oh shit", as you realize that what SimpliVity has in their storage platform is a couple orders of magnitude more awesome than the simple hyperconvergence they're using it for.
And it absolutely, 100% is worth patent protection (assuming SimpliVity's nerds came up with it first). And this is me saying this. I am Andrew Orlowski's antiparticle. I'm usually the guy crapping all over intellectual property overreach.
I had my "aha" moment about a month ago. I knew more about SimpliVity storage than most, but I got my hour with the brain trust and that really let me grok what's what. I then had the honour of being included in a conference call with a number of storage industry luminaries as they went through the same process and each of them had that very same "aha" moment followed by a "wow".
These are the cynical fucks who pend their lives tearing storage companies to shreds. I didn't exactly think anything wowed them anymore.
So, yeah...there's a little bit more to it than "hashed key storage system". In fact, your broad categorization attempt is exactly why I want to take the time to explain it properly.
We're all so bitter and jaded. So full of ourselves and ready to inflate our sense of self worth by stomping on others. We've become a society of people who define ourselves not by what (or whom) we like...but by what (or whom) we hate.
But here is something cool. It's proper nerdy tech. It's the sort of thing that made me like computers, oh so very long ago. Before the help desking and the printers and the cloudy bullshit and Microsoft Licensing ruined everything.
Sitting in that room at VMworld, scribbling diagrams on a paper easel and finally getting what I can only describe - in the olden sense of the word - as a truly legendary hack...all the bullshit just melted away. The past 20 years of my life, all the stress, all the worry, all the every day frustration and pain...it just vanished.
I was a kid again, and I was truly marveling at the possibility of a technology.
I haven't felt that way since I was first shown Mosaic, and I truly understood what the World Wide Web would mean.
Now: maybe it's true that I'm just a naive so-and-so who doesn't know enough about the world. I usually think that getting dozens briefings on virtually every new technology in every field on the planet has rendered me jaded. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I still have rose coloured glasses.
But this particular storage tech is one that made me feel like me again...even if just for a moment. So for that reason alone, it's worth the time to do pretty pictures and putting real effort into doing it justice.
Maybe - just maybe - I'll convince one other person not to cheaply categorize and dismiss SimpliVity's technology, but instead to delve deep and reach the "aha" moment of their own. If I can "pass it along" to just one person, I'll feel like I've done my job. :)
Long winded, I know. I'm avoiding sleeping. Alas, my rant is done and it off to the facepillow for me...