* Posts by cloudguy

17 posts • joined 24 Apr 2013

Cloudian's better at Amazon S3 than anyone else, apparently

cloudguy

Local cloud storage is the future...

Well, Mr. Ash from Cloudian is not bragging, he is just explaining the features already available in Cloudian's HyperStore software defined storage software. Every object-based storage software vendor supports at least the basic AWS S3 functions, but S3 is not their native API.

Cloudian made three "bets" with their HyperStore object-based storage software architecture. 1) Cassandra, which Cloudian extends for use as its metadata storage service, has numerous real-world use cases and is well tested and supported. Apple is reported to have 70K Cassandra servers. 2) Native support for AWS S3. AWS has the largest "ecosystem" of applications and solutions written to use S3. Cloudian's compliance with all of the S3 API functions means any S3 application or solution will work with Cloudian HyperStore. 3) Hybrid cloud storage would become a requirement for enterprise customers creating their own local storage clouds. Cloudian can tier data from HyperStore clusters to AWS S3 or Glacier, which by the way, actually have different sets of API functions.

Cloudian has been approached by other object-based storage software vendors interested in licensing Cloudian's native AWS S3 compliant service. Cloudian has chosen not to do it, because it is a key to their success in the capacity storage market.

In terms of actual customers...Cleversafe has about 150, Scality has between 50 and 100 and SwiftStack has just over 50. So for Cloudian to "bust a move" and achieve as many new customers as all three of these combined, it will need to on-board about 250 new customers. This is a significant challenge and it will be interesting to see if Cloudian can do it in conjunction with their reseller partner channel.

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SwiftStack CPO: 'If you take a filesystem and bolt on an object API'... it's upside down

cloudguy

Kinetic represents change...

Well, if you listen to Mr. James Hughes whose team developed Kinetic, you will see that it eliminates storage servers and the need for a POSIX-compatible file system. The Kinetic key/value API plus Ethernet on the Kinetic HDDs is the innovation. The response from the object-based storage sofware vendors has been mixed. Mr. Joe Arnold from SwiftStack sees great promise in the Kinetic framework. Caringo has looked at it and said...meh, SWARM is better. Cloudian was of the opinion that it would need to implement a "split-brain" design in their software stack to use it. Scality was interested in seeing how it might be made to work with RING. Cleversafe (IBM) joined the Linux Foundation's Kinetic Open Storage Project, but not sure what they are actually doing with it. Not sure what Amplidata (WD) thought about it, but WD also belongs to the Kinetic Open Storage Project. HGST (WD) was also experimenting with their own Ethernet HDD that ran Debian, but this is not what Seagate is doing with Kinetic. Given that there has barely have two years of third-party development effort related to Kinetic, it seems premature to declare Kinetic a success or failure as an object-based storage architecture. Time will tell, even though Mr. Arnold is bullish on Kinetic.

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EMC mess sends New Zealand University TITSUP for two days

cloudguy

Wait for the post mortem...

Well, the lack of facts at hand makes it anyone's guess as to exactly what happened. That said, storage networks have a lot of moving parts and a failure in the networking part could easily disable access to the storage part. If the outage was due to a planned upgrade or maintenance, then there should have been a roll-back procedure in order to recover. While you cannot rule out human error, you expect that the people involved in operating and managing the storage network are adequately trained and experienced. The vendors involved along with the university will likely issue a "post mortem" when the facts surrounding the outage are understood. Then the guilty can be charged.

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We pick storage brains: Has object storage endgame started?

cloudguy

Re: More than one Ceph distro

Well, the commercial entities "sponsoring" various open source software projects do get bought. Red Hat bought InkTank, which was the commercial sponsor established for Ceph, and Red Hat bought Qumranet, which was the commercial sponsor for KVM. Novell was once the the commercial sponsor or owner of SUSE. Yes, it is all open source and you are free to download and use it, fork it, etc. That said, commercial sponsors make money by charging for "enterprise" features and support not provided in the "subscription" release of the project. The project community generally handles the support function through forums.

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cloudguy

Object-based storage here to stay

Well, a nice report from Mr. Nicolas on the dynamics of the object-based storage software vendor market. The incumbent IT vendors have pulled out their checkbooks to make acquisitions in order to fill the object-based storage "holes" in their storage product lines. The remaining venture-funded object-based storage software vendors will either get bought or go public, if they can. Interesting that Mr. Nicolas did not mention that Scality is aiming for an IPO in 2017. Amplidata and Cleversafe both use only erasure coding to protect data, and they have a litigious history with each filing suit against the other. Cleversafe has on the order of 350 patents, which could have made them more attractive to IBM in addition to having the CIA as a customer. Dell has a deal with Scality, which will likely end. Dell also had a three-year deal with Caringo that ended. HP has deals with both Cleversafe and Scality, although I suspect the deal with Cleversafe will be kicked to the side. Red Hat likes to collect open source software projects, so its acquisitions of Gluster and Ceph (InkTank) are not surprising. Gluster is not really object-based storage, and Ceph doesn't really excel as an object based storage software, but it can also be used for file and block storage. Swift does have scalability issues, although the 3.0 release of SwiftStack looks like it is making some progress on the feature and functionality side. Basho's Riak and Riak CS are geared more toward the developer market as opposed to the enterprise data center storage market. Riak CS is somewhat unusual in that it stores both the object data and the metadata in Riak. Caringo is one of the older object-based storage software vendors that seems to score a steady stream of customers, most recently BT. Cloudian has focused on delivering a packaged software and appliances that can be deployed by service providers or enterprise customers in public or private storage clusters. Cloudian also uses a native S3 API, which is fully compatible with the AWS S3 API and can tier data to either AWS S3 or Glacier. The object-based storage software vendor market is undergoing change, but it is hard to see any of them becoming "losers" in the market.

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Could Scality gain scale from IBM buying Cleversafe?

cloudguy

Cleversafe and Scality...shift happens

Cleversafe fills an obvious hole in IBM's storage portfolio. It had no OBS software, and GPFS is not an object store. IBM was also not getting anywhere fast with Swift. Cleversafe has 300+ patents on aspects of OBS. The CIA is suspected of being a Cleversafe customer. IBM has long experience in being a loyal provider of IT services and systems to the US federal government, so the CIA can REST easy.

Scality has OEM deals with Dell and HP. If Dell acquires EMC it will inherit the obsolete Centera OBS product, which is being phased out, and the aging Atmos OBS product. Scality may get pushed aside at Dell in all the churn. It is unclear how well Scality is doing with its HP deal one year later. Scality had to make the installation of RING 5 much easier in order to avoid having to do professional service engagements to install RING for HP's channel partners.

Mr. Lecat gets a few things wrong in his comments about Cloudian. Cloudian's native API is S3...no translations are needed from S3 to some other API, which makes Cloudian fast and efficient The benefit of Cloudian using S3 as its native API means that any AWS S3 solution will work with Cloudian. So S3 your data center with Cloudian and enjoy private to public hybrid storage that supports tiering to AWS S3 or Glacier. Don't think Scality can do that.

Cloudian does not lock customers into using its branded Supermicro servers and QCT JBOD storage. Cloudian offers HyperStore Software for installation on storage servers from Dell, Lenovo, QCT and Supermicro. Cloudian also offers HyperStore Appliances with software pre-installed for quick setup and rapid deployment...something that Scality RING has never been known for.

As for Cloudian not being good at supporting legacy NFS and CIFS access methods to its OBS, expect to see an announcement regarding this real soon now.

Mr. Lecat is obviously hoping that Scality can keep its "top dog" billing in the OBS market until it can make its IPO in 2017. A lot can happen between now and then...shift happens.

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IBM gobbles storage upstart Cleversafe

cloudguy

How Clever is IBM?

Well, IBM may also have been interested in the 350 patents granted to Cleversafe. Seems like every other month Cleversafe was being awarded a patent. The United States CIA is reputed to be one of Cleversafe's big customers, and an "investment arm" of the CIA participated in one of Cleversafe's funding rounds. Cleversafe's funding rounds also have a very odd character to them in terms of the amounts and timing. Cleversafe and Amplidata share a litigious past with each company filing suits and counter suits against the other. Amplidata was purchased this year by the HGST division of Western Digital. Cleversafe, like Amplidata, only uses erasure coding to protect data. Most other object-based storage software vendors like Caringo, Cloudian, Scality and SwiftStack support both replication and erasure coding. The object-storage market has been slow and steady, which may account for the relatively small amount of M&A activity over the past several years.

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Two-timing HP snubs Scality's RING, organises object threesome

cloudguy

Two might be better than one for HP

Well, Cleversafe relies entirely on erasure coding to store objects and usually only addresses customers needing petabyte scale from the get-go. Scality does both replication and erasure coding, so it would appeal to customers who would not necessarily choose Cleversafe. The part that doesn't compute is HP's Proliant server gear is top shelf and not like the "industry standard" storage servers that object storage providers usually promote to keep the capital costs low(er). It would be interesting to know the cost of a fully-loaded HP Proliant SL4540 G8 or SL4545 G7 and the annual operating and support cost for either Cleversafe dsNet or Scality RING.

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Cloud storage biz, one careful owner, six years on the clock... any takers?

cloudguy

Nirvanix was doomed from the start...

Well, the Nirvanix failed for 3 plausible reasons according to Simon Robinson from 451 Research. To paraphrase his analysis...1) The Nirvanix business model was too capital intensive for what the company was charging and the company eventually burned through its cash. 2) The Nirvanix "Cloud File System" software did not scale-out as well as they were expecting. This eventually became problematic because Nirvanix needed to scale-out to keep growing in order to run with the big dogs. 3) Nirvanix did not evolve beyond its initial storage service offering. This limited the extent to which customers could grow in their use of cloud infrastructure with Nirvanix.

The cautionary tale is customers need to develop an "exit strategy" or have a contingency plan ready when a Nirvanix-like implosion happens. Cloud service providers like Nirvanix are not without blame when they are "working without a safety net" in their business. Cloud service providers should have a capital reserve fund or insurance to wind down their business if it must be shuttered. The "customer-be-damned" attitude doesn't work in the cloud and it will invite government regulation if this type of behavior is repeated. I applaud the efforts being made by Aorta Cloud/Capital to keep Nirvanix operating so customers can have the opportunity to make decisions about what to do regarding their data stored at Nirvanix.

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Fancy facing an Amazon backup beatdown on cold storage spinners?

cloudguy

EVault is not the only one...

Well, Glacier-compatible cold storage is also being developed by SageCloud in Boston, MA. The SageCloud founders Jeff Flowers and David Friend are from Carbonite. They are basing their work on the facebook Open Compute Project. SageCloud completed a $10M funding round this summer bringing their total funding to $13M. The company recently signed an agreement with Avnet's Rorke Global Solutions to assemble the SageCloud hardware. SageCloud will make first customer shipments in January 2014. I received an explanation of their cold storage technology under NDA. I think what they are doing for the cold storage/archival market will be well-received in terms of cost, energy-efficiency and performance.

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Cloud backups: Where's my get out of jail card?

cloudguy

Re: Same 'ol, same 'ol...

What actually constituted a "data center" in the 1970s? Most of what passed for "data centers" back then were IBM mainframe (System 360) time share services. Interactive computing was being offered by DEC, but you generally bought or leased DEC mini-computers and kept them on your own premises. Everything having to do with the actual computation and storage of data was generally installed in "glass rooms" that were temperature and humidity controlled but I don't think they fit the modern definition of a data center. Data storage on rotating magnetic disks or removable "disk packs" was only available for small amounts of data because it was limited in capacity and very expensive. Lots of data was stored on magnetic tapes, which were mounted and read/written when the data was needed. Human beings had to mount and dismount tapes from the tape drives. It all seems quaint by today's standards and it was probably glitchy and unreliable at times too.

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Amplidata: Could storage biz end up inside Intel?

cloudguy

Intel could be the winner in the Amplidata sweepstakes

Well, I agree that Intel is a much more likely suitor for Amplidata than Quantum. I also agree that Amplidata's cash burn rate could be driving an acquisition strategy by Amplidata's management. As for Cleversafe suing Amplidata, I think there have been suits and counter suits from both of them over the past few years. Amplidata has worked with Intel and Quanta using their AmpliStor software as part of "Intel's Cloud Builders Guide to Cloud Design and Deployment on Intel Platforms". It would be interesting to see if Intel open sourced AmpliStor as part of their acquisition of Amplidata, as it would provide another open source object storage software in addition to Ceph and Riak CS.

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Massive Media dumps Amplidata, makes eyes at Caringo

cloudguy

Re: Erasure codes not a good match for Massive Media data

Editorial comment to my previous post...CAStor makes it possible o avoid erasure codes for objects below a certain size...

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cloudguy

Erasure codes not a good match for Massive Media data

It appears Amplidata has now tweaked" their software to make it perform better in a predominantly small object storage environment where erasure codes are not a good "fit" for small objects. The ingest and retrieval of millions of small objects using erasure codes didn't work...well enough. Caringo's CAStor makes it possible not to avoid erasure codes for objects below a certain size and use replication instead. It is the combination of replication and erasure codes that makes CAStor a better "fit" for Massive Media.

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NSA Prism: Why I'm boycotting US cloud tech - and you should too

cloudguy

All governments hate the Internet

A worthy post, but all governments hate the Internet for the simple reason that information can flow freely over it. In states without a tradition of individual liberty, it is easier to control aspects of Internet use. The "Great Firewall" in China prevents obtaining results on searches that contain certain words and phrases. In Cuba there is practically no Internet availability for the average citizen, although recent developments indicate the Cuban government may be relenting a bit. In the countries of the "Arab Spring" uprisings, governments under siege by their citizens were able to cut-off Internet and cell phone service for a time.

In the United States, Internet service is widely available and commerce is heavily dependent on it, so it is not acceptable to use such crude methods as blocking searches and interrupting or suspending Internet service. The NSA, which is part of the U.S. military establishment, has resorted to widespread data collection (Big Data) and analysis of both foreign and domestic Internet traffic. The data collections is indiscriminate and universal. NSA has a one-million sq. ft. facility built in a mountain in Utah just for the purpose of storing and analyzing data scooped up off the Internet or out of the air.

The mere fact that such huge volumes of data is being collected and permanently stored is sufficient evidence that the foundations of a modern police state are being established. It remains to be seen whether Americans will be able to push back against the government-backed military establishment.

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Object Storage: A solution in search of a problem?

cloudguy

Object storage...not so problematic

I suspect the article was written to generate more heat than light on the subject, but storage vendors do have an industry association in SNIA and SNIA is driving the CDMI standard into the storage market at a pretty good pace when it comes to standards. That said, AWS S3 is the de facto standard API for object storage and CDMI will be able to work in conjunction with it.. I spent the better part of last year evaluating a handful of vendors who provide object storage software to enterprise customers and partners to build private and public storage clusters. Each of the vendors is venture backed and their founders all have significant history in dealing with data storage requirements that were not solvable with the traditional file and block storage technology that we've had around for decades. The incumbent storage vendors have taken out their checkbooks and bought the storage technology they think will allow them to participate at-scale in the market. Whether they can be price competitive remains to be seen given their past history of bundling their storage software with their proprietary hardware. Because the object storage market is relatively new, you can expect to see some participants get acquired and some incumbents to change course. The recent Dell announcement about ending their OEM deal with Caringo has more to do with the internal players at Dell than it does with the quality of CAStor. All of this is par for the course and it may be quite a few more years before the object storage market and players coalesce. Remember that there were once over 200 vendors engaged in the manufacture of hard disk drives. After 30+ years we have 4 of them left. The same thing is going to happen in the SSD market too. There is a market for object storage and it is being met by offerings from relative new companies as well as the incumbents. It is not a matter of a technology in search of problem.

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Dell kills 3-year-old object storage appliance line

cloudguy

Dell...still dazed and confused

The Dell partnership with Caringo was a good move back in the day. The problem with the DX storage server line was you could not put enough disk drives in them if you were actually building out an object storage cluster. Right not you can put 72, 3TB 3.5-inch SATA disk drives in a 4u SGI MIS. That's 216TB per server and 2PB per 40u cabinet with room for a top of the rack 10GbE switch. SGI currently has a partnership with Scality, which is probably somewhat similar to what Caringo had with Dell. BackBlaze has opened up their design for a 4u storage server that holds 45, 4TB 3.5-inch disk drives and Supermicro has a 4u storage server that will hold 36, 3TB 3.5-inch disk drives. So you can take your pick of 4u storage servers that will hold 216TB or 180TB of 108TB each. If Dell want to be a player in this market offering "industry standard x86 hardware, then this is the ballpark for object storage servers today. When HAMR disk drives arrive starting in another year or so, it will be a whole new ballgame as capacities with start at 6TB per 3.5-inch drive and probably peak out at 20TB to 30TB per drive over the next 10 years.

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