Thursday, July 21, 2022

Recap of the 44th edition of The IT Press Tour

Initially posted on StorageNewsletter 7/11/2022

The recent 44th edition of The IT Press Tour was the opportunity to meet and visit 9 companies - iXsystems, Lightbits Labs, Liqid, Nasuni, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Veritas, VAST Data and WEKA - covering data management, cloud, NVMe, file storage, composable environments, primary and secondary storage, tape and open source.

iXsystems, I should say iX, meeting was the opportunity to realize the the company annual revenue is around $100 million and it represents probably a surprise for many readers. TrueNAS has a 40% penetration rate within Fortune 500. The team has clearly made progress with TrueNAS 13.0 helping TrueNAS Scale to finally be ready addressing the scale-out model asked by iX customers. I also learned that the company worked on a global distributed storage approach based on a P2P/blockchain design, inviting users to bypass public cloud and storage and share data from multiple storage entities present as various private production sites.

Lightbits Labs session was also very interesting as I was able to measure the progress made by the team. The company now articulates its message around the cloud data platform angle promoting very low latency - up to 160𝝻s, 75 millions IOPS, high endurance and flexible data protection. As a full and only software solution, delivering such high performance on TCP is a real achievement aligned with the huge ethernet installed based. The software stack got very rich features list and more are coming becoming a serious alternative solution against usual players. Intel was invited and I'm still wondering why Intel invests so heavily in storage, here with the NVMe/TCP champion but also with its DAOS. Is it just to support Optane and potentially other CPU and networking components? In that case why they sold to SK Hynix their NAND and SSD business? Clearly for Lightbits Labs it's a major partnership that should their destiny.

Liqid visit at their Broomfield, CO, HQ was the opportunity to learn more about the data center composability leader. I understand that CDI - composable disaggregated infrastructure - represents the next step after HCI to build dynamically virtual server to honor and address dynamic changing workloads. Built around the Liqid EX 4400 Series and coupled with Liqid Matrix software, the solution finds its ideal footprint with GPU-based configuration able to compose, decompose and recompose on-demand any configuration. Beyond this, Liqid has extended its technology with ioDirect, a peer-to-peer GPU connection to boost bandwidth. And being a strong Nvidia partner, Liqid supports GPUDirect. The various configurations deployed at customers sites shown during the session are impressive. The industry now expects soon the next step, the capability to support DRAM disaggregation and composability via CXL.

Nasuni organized the session at the beautiful new Microsoft EBC in Mountain View. Nasuni's mission is clearly ambitious with the goal to serve file data from any point and protect them from anything. Results also have significantly improved and demonstrated a real adoption acceleration. The company sees a split in the file storage market with a TAM opportunity of $5B in the coming years. Having shifted its message, Nasuni has found its spot fueled by new VC round, key new functionalities like an advanced ransomware protection and two recent interesting acquisitions with DBM Cloud Systems and Storage Made Easy. In addition, Nasuni offers for a few months extended services via its Labs entity being open source solutions offered to customers to use and customize. These new services are present on GitHub.

Quantum, met at their EBC in Englewood, CO, delivered and impressive presentation as I measured all the progress made by the company for a few years. I can easily align this with the arrival of Jamie Lerner as CEO four years ago. Fueled by acquisitions like CatDV, Pivot3, EnCloudEn or Atavium and coupled with internal developments, Quantum has successfully made the transition to a software machine as illustrated by the image below. The second key point was the work done for hyperscalers having designed a new tape library line - the Scalar i6H - to support their demanding needs. The company equipped today five of the top hyperscalers with football fields full of tape libraries. It clearly gives to Quantum a new credibility with these biggest storage needs on the planet.

Spectra Logic, also met at their HQ in Boulder, CO, gave a company and product update around BlackPearl, StorCycle, VAIL and of course its tape libraries line. The secondary storage champion has made some significant developments for unstructured data with BlackPearl NAS, its integration with StorCycle and VAIL. StorCycle has been updated to support multi-billion file aligned with large data center needs and full integration with AWS, GCP and Azure among others features. It helps Spectra plays a role beyond the storage destination becoming active in the data management. On the BlackPearl side, the generation 2, accelerates the chameleon aspect of the solution and delivers new capabilities around encryption, S3 and Glacier like approach beyond NAS and gateway role. The company also realized that public cloud is inevitable with S3 being the natural access method delivering a real U3 - Universal, Unified and Ubiquitous - model. VAIL leverages on-premises and public cloud to maximize capabilities of both world delivering a multi-point access to data becoming global.

Veritas has chosen to present its new data management strategy around its autonomous flavor fueled by the NetBackup family. NetBackup business represents at least 65% of the revenue of the company so I understand this choice even if InfoScale should have been a good addition. The idea is to extend what automation can offer with real independence, with some capabilities to analyze, take decision and execute operations without any human intervention thanks to AI and cloud learning. For Veritas, this model has three components: automated cyber-resilience with seamless air gap, multi-cloud optimization and intelligent protection. Clearly the base for that is NetBackup 10 with its cloud scale architecture coupled with some AI/ML extension to make things transparent, rich and rapid. It has to be also agnostic to the environment able to run on-premises but also in the cloud with bare metal, VM or Kubernetes deployments. Really an interesting approach for the market leader for enterprise data protection.

VAST Data covered Ceres, 4.3 and gave a preview of some 4.4 features. Clearly the company is moving fast with impressive contracts proving that advanced scalable NAS has entered in a new dimension thanks to its DASE architecture, container, SCM, QLC Flash, NVMe and its network companion. The product now supports 30TB drives, NVidia BlueField SmartNIC and Kioxia SCM delivering a new density reference. With a lot of new features, the company has accelerated filling the gap with other established NAS and even going beyond what I can find on the market. This is the case for the new data reduction approach with 4.4 release promoting a new adaptive variable chunking to find similarities. This new engine delivers super high reduction ratio making full flash NAS a very compelling story at every level.

WEKA shared its impressive story confirming its market footprint acceleration for a few quarters and its recent VC round. Playing in a very conservative world with parallel file system model with some open source pressure, the company has introduced a radically new architecture where eveything is sharded and parallelized to gain performance and resiliency. Implemented as container, every instance can serve as metadata and data services able to sustain very high IOSP and throughput for various needs, well beyond classic HPC. In fact the company targets AI and next generation workloads exposing all kind of interface such a Posix one but also NFS, SMB, S3, CSI and GPUDirect. The WEKA 4 news with the support of AWS, supported for several years, but above all GCO, Azure and OCI confirms WEKAfs as a U3 - Universal, Unified and Ubiquitous - data platform. In addition a new data reduction engine is also introduced with new UI and incremental continuous snapshots.


Monday, July 11, 2022

Talk with Jamie Lerner, CEO, Quantum

Following the 43rd IT Press Tour where we visited the Quantum EBC in Englewood, Colorado, and the Fujifilm Summit, in San Diego, I confirmed that I must secure some time with Jamie Lerner, CEO, Quantum for a new podcast episode. We booked some time for an exclusive interview and we covered the financial status of the company but also spent some time on the software shift of Quantum, recent and new products such as H4000 and F2000 series, software acquisitions, the hyperscalers business that invite the company to reinvent itself on the tape side and we also spoke about the directions and future developments. A superb episode that I encourage all of you to listen and share. This interview is the 52nd in the interview series and globally 113th episode of the French Storage Podcast.

Thursday, July 07, 2022

N-able acquires Spinpanel to boost its cloud strategy

N-able, a leader in SaaS data protection, security and remote management for MSPs, makes a new move with the acquisition of Spinpanel, a player dedicated to Microsoft 365 environments. The 2 solutions combined will deliver additional value for Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers with a multi-tenant approach to automate the provisioning, security and management of multiple Microsoft centric items.


Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Veritas Backup Exec on Backblaze B2

Veritas Technologies and Backblaze, two data management and cloud leaders, just announced that Veritas Backup Exec now fully supports Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage as a backup target. It makes things once again very easy for admins as this is fully integrated in the user interface, also providing a remote destination to avoid any local conflict or potential danger with ransomware threats and finally reduces costs as well.


Monday, July 04, 2022

Talk with Rich Gadomski, Fujifilm

Following the 12th Fujifilm Summit in San Diego where I delivered a keynote and moderate a round-table, I decided to record a new podcast episode with Rich Gadomski, Head of Tape Evangelism, Fujifilm Recording Media USA. It was the perfect opportunity to lean more about Fujifilm, get a recap of the event and talk about tape in general, LTO, its roadmap but also the 580TB project with IBM, speak about hyperscalers specific needs and Quantum work, Spectra Logic ransomware session and also about future storage technologies such DNA data storage or new optical stuff. This interview is the 51st in the interview series and globally 112th episode of the French Storage Podcast. We invite you to listen to it below, enjoy.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Recap of the 44th IT Press Tour

The 44th edition of The IT Press Tour early June was just amazing, we met 9 hot companies and leaders that continue to transform the industry having a serious impact of the technology directions. These 9 companies were iXsystems, Lightbits Labs, Liqid, Nasuni, Quantum, Spectra Logic, VAST Data, Veritas and WEKA. I then decided to record a podcast episode about that edition, it was the 23rd tech talk and globally 111th episode of The French Storage Podcast. I invite you to listen to it below, enjoy.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Coldago published its 11th storage unicorn report

Coldago Research, an independent research and analysis firm dedicated to data storage and management, published once again its bi-annual storage unicorn report. Only MinIO is new in the list for a total of 17 companies: Acronis, Barracuda Networks, Cohesity, DataCore, DDN, Druva, Infinidat, Kaseya, MinIO, Nasuni, OwnBackup, Qumulo, Rubrik, VAST Data, Veeam Software, Veritas Technologies and Wasabi Technologies.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

InfiniGuard relies on Quantum DXi

Infinidat, a reference in high-end unified storage, develops and promotes 3 products: InfiniBox, InfiniBox SSA and InfiniGuard. The last one is the secondary storage offering operating as a backup target, it includes a deduplication engine based on Quantum DXi, recognized as one of te top 3 in that category. So a good choice made by Infinidat that tries to hide that aspect but it's difficult to hide such things to me.

Thursday, June 09, 2022

New round for HYCU

HYCU, a leader in Modern Data Protection, just announced a new round with its Series B with $53 million cumulating to $140 million. Bain Capital Ventures and Series A investors joined this tour plus Atlassian Ventures and Cisco Investments.

The company plans to accelerate in the Backup-as-a-Service product development, its multi-cloud coverage and geo expansion.

Having participated to 6 IT Press Tour editions with the launch of Protégé with us, HYCU plans to introduce a new significant product in September during the 45th tour in Paris, France.


Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Veritas promotes Autonomous Data Management

Veritas Technologies, the enterprise leader in data protection, joined The IT Press Tour yesterday for the very first time. This session at the Santa Clara HQ was the opportunity to understand the strategy around its flagship product. NetBackup, to mention it, represents more than 65% of the company revenue so it perfectly legitimates by itself a strong comprehensive vision.

This last element finally hides other products and InfoScale in particular. We have to recognize that NetBackup plays in a very dense category where the competition is super hot and is clearly the #1 in its category. We heard that Veeam is claiming to be in that position, by the number of installations probably but not by the revenue. On the other hands, with current IT infrastructure and cloud, InfoScale is not so easy to promote event if its components are clearly product leaders on the market. We all remember VxVM and VxFS, the most famous volume manager and file system on the planet. The other argument relises on the fact hat Veritas is one of the pioneers of the Software-Defined Storage market wave.

NetBackup is much more than a product, Veritas has made some serious developments and additions to it and today it represents a real product family.

Data protection with NetBackup is already fully automated for decades, the product works by itself deployed in complex, heterogeneous and large data environments. But the company has identified a new fundamental attribute to it, the need to be autonomous, to fully introduce a new dimension to data management leveraging AI and ML models in a cloud world. And by data management we cover here the secondary storage data management as everything happens as soon as data lands on the secondary storage tier.

The team insisted on 3 key components to be qualified of an autonomous solution:

  1. Automated Cyber Resilience with AI, ML, ransomware proof and things like CICD,
  2. Multi-Cloud Optimized to run anywhere being multi-tenant, elastic and containerized and
  3. Intelligent Protection to meet business goals with auto-healing and As-a-Service capabilities.
This strategy is partially covered today with NetBackup 10 but the full coverage will arrive with 10+ release.