July 13, 2020

Recap of the 35th IT Press Tour

This report was published for the 1st time on StorageNewsletter July 6th.

The recent 35th edition of The IT Press Tour, this time operated online, has been the opportunity to virtually meet 13 companies and their executives around IT infrastructure and data management. Several of them launched products and did announcements.

Bamboo Systems
The firm, emerging ARM server vendor, introduced the B1000N Series with 4 independent server in 1U with 1 or 2 blades. A full 2 blades server embeds 8 nodes with 128 cores, 512GB RAM and 64TB NVMe SSD at 24GB/s read with 4 x 40Gb QSFP. It promotes a new metric for server with the energy consumption so kilowatt hours instead of processor frequency or CPU cores. The team promotes a new design named PANDA for Parallel Arm Node Designed Architecture. Future direction indicates a more dense serve going to 12 blades for 48 nodes.

Fujifilm Recording Media
It reintroduced its Object Archive, known under this name in North America and Japan, and as Software-Defined Tape elsewhere. The idea is pretty similar to the VTL for tape libraries a few years ago but now the solution is more universal with a S3 interface. With the product, it introduces a new open source tape format named OTFormat (Open Tape Format) unifying metadata and data and supported from LTO7. The pricing model is based on capacity as a subscription grouping the software and LTO tapes for multi petabytes.

it launched a Cloud Service Provider program fueled by Protégé. CSPs can promote the service as a co-branded solution for data protection, data migration and disaster recovery. Users can leverage the service to adopt a multi-cloud approach without any risk. Thanks to an open API, Protégé offers the capability to be integrated into a more global cloud based solution for managing data and infrastructure and finally deliver a consistent data management across different IT environments.

It continues to expand its product portfolio by acquisitions fueled by a rapid market penetration. IT Complete is very frequently enhanced and improved by adding new services in endpoint management, security, backup and DR, cloud management, audit and compliance plus a service desk and an automated IT documentation. For backup, IT Complete integrates Unified backup, Cloud Backup and 0365 Backup leveraging Unitrends and Spanning data protection technologies. Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, said that there is a pending acquisition in the security space and the next big event for the company should be an IPO in 2021.

The company re-insisted on its product strategy and especially the enterprises aspect of it. Exposed as a NAS in central sites or remotes offices, deployed on top on object storage, it develops an internal distributed file system named UniFS. It is an internal file system as it is not visible by users but really is the cornerstone of the product. The file solution spans primary and secondary storage thus avoiding silos and complexity. The company is now an unicorn.

It launches its product, the Services Processing Unit (SPU), as a core of its Cloud-Defined Storage product (CDS) strategy. The SPU is a PCIe board designed to offload data services from central CPUs and can build clusters of 32 systems with this horizontal data centric model. The infrastructure is managed by a cloud-based application named Nebulon ON.

Remember that Salesforce will stop its data recovery service July 31s, 2020. As the #1 backup and recovery solution in the AppExchange with 2,000 customers, OwnBackup introduced its Enhanced Sandbox Seeding offering to accelerate development, testing and training. The team also develops a Governance Plus package that leverages Etherum blockchain to prove backup integrity. Beyond backup, OwnBackup Archiver offers the possibility to restore archives directly from Salesforce.

Pavilion Data Systems
It took time to pitch its positioning as the 3rd wave of storage fueled by a fundamental element i.e end-to-end NVMe. The idea of Pavilion Hyperparallel Flash Array (HFA) is to provide fast, dense – in 4U – storage services for demanding environments thanks to a very scalable architecture with 20 controllers for 72 SSDs and 40x100GbE ports.

The firm launched its Shift product and unveils a strategy with the facility to move file data stored on Qumulo clusters, on-prem or cloud-based, to AWS S3. The idea is to leverage the ton of AWS applications which consume data through a native S3 connection. It offers to its users a way to subscribe to AWS, compute data with new services, while continue to operate Qumulo “classic” cluster in different places.

It develops a cloud native platform to provide end-to-end automation for Kubernetes-based applications. From a storage point of view, Robin delivers snapshot and clones, QoA, replication, backup, data re-balancing, tiering, thin provisioning, encryption and compression. The company has found a specific niche, 5G networks, to deploy its technology with radio, edge and core sites.

UK-based company leads the Ceph-based storage infrastructure wave with the design of its own appliance optimized for energy consumption and performance. Leveraging open source with a clear direction towards consistent performance at scale while energy is minimized with dense systems, HyperDrive targets demanding storage environments such research centers like the recent Sandia National Labs reference. Beyond storage, SoftIron has designed, developed and built 2 others products: HyperSwith based on SONiC and HyperCast for transcoding device based on FFmpeg.

StrongBox Data Solutions
It continues to extend its data management solution with a second generation product, probably one of the most comprehensive in a very competitive market landscape. Dedicated to unstructured data management, it adds the support of LTFS and provide data movement/placement/copy/tier from any source to any targets as soon as the interface is a file, object, cloud or LTFS-based protocol. This product iteration represents a new dimension in the scalability aligned with high demanding environments needs.

It reaffirmed its disaggregated shared everything architecture leveraging 3D XPoint with Intel Optane, QLC flash and of course NVMe-oF. The goal is to "kill" HDD with a full flash file storage solution for all tier and any workload. To achieve this, the team has developed a wide erasure coding and data reduction techniques to deliver an compelling $/TB.


July 9, 2020

OwnBackup raised $50M

OwnBackup, the reference in SaaS applications backup, just announced a new round of $50M to accelerate its growth.

This round was led by Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures is again in the loop. It means that the company reaches $100M and clearly presents itself as the #1 SaaS application backup vendor even if the solution is today limited to Salesforce but it's probably the best one.

Insight Partners owns capital in several data protection companies and we imagine the desire to build a software giant in the domain especially since they acquired Veeam. It could be even bigger...

Other serious players in Salesforce data protection are Kaseya Spanning, Datto Backupify, Asigra or Druva. This backup segment starts to be very hot with approximately today more than 20 players.

I asked the team several times, and especially during the recent the IT Press Tour, to expand to other SaaS applications like Workday, NetSuite... but also they need to address G Suite, Office 365... and it seems that the direction is now taken.

July 2, 2020

Kaminario lost its CSO

Kaminario seems to be under some changes wave and one of them is the move of Eyal David, former CTO and more recently chief strategy officer, to Model9 as its new chief strategy officer. Model9 is an ISV dedicated to Cloud Data Management for Mainframe. The company has received a series A funding of $9M.

June 29, 2020

New ARM-based server for Bamboo

Bamboo Systems, formerly known as Kaleao, announced recently during the IT Press Tour its new ARM-based server, the model B1000N. Founded in 2015, the company has raised $4.5M in a Seed round.

The new system introduces a new architecture named PANDA for Parallel Arm Node Designed Architecture. PANDA combines multiple benefits for modern software needs and low energy consumption.

Microservices applications have initiated this new design associated with the trend for high density of components.

Bamboo targets specific demanding use cases around AI/ML, analytics, edge computing and Kubernetes environments.

B1000N is a 1U server with 1 or 2 blades and each blade embed 4 compute nodes plus a non-blocking embedded L3 switch exposing dual 40Gb QSFP ports. Usually a node operates Linux meaning 1U you can have 8 Linux servers, perfect density and computing power for lots of applications. But the strategy of Bamboo is multi-servers so a multiple of 8 servers finally.

In 4U, you obtain the power of 48 servers reducing drastically energy and footprint therefore TCO. A node uses NXP 2160A A72 Coretex 16 core processors so per blade it gives 64 cores and on 1U 2 blades server it means 128 cores. RAM is 64GB/node and 8TB PCIe/SSD/node so 64TB per 1U server. It's small for storage but perfect for edge computing.

ARM processors arrive at the right moment as a few key metrics such energy and parallel tasks to tackles big problems. The momentum has already started and shows 38.2% of increase for none x86 while x86 decreased 9.1% during the same Q1/2020 period.

Recently Apple also swapped Intel x86 to ARM CPU illustrating a real trend. Bamboo insists on the new metric introduced as the kilowatt-hours instead of frequency or number of cores for eon for instance.

June 25, 2020

Fujifilm announced pricing model for Object Archive

Fujifilm Recording Media, introduced its pricing model for its new object archive product. For more info, I invite you to read the recent post about this new interesting software product.

The pricing philosophy doesn't consider egress cost like AWS S3 Glacier charges users. Capacity and term are the two dimensions of the pricing model, capacity is the total of data managed by the software and term is essentially 3 or 5 years. The model is built for 1PB but Fujifilm allocates 2PB for data stored at S3 level and on tapes. Tapes are included and the volumes is translated in 350 LTO7 and 180 LTO8 tapes.

For a limited period of time, until end of December 2020, Fujifilm offers 500TB for software but tapes have to be purchased or coupled with an installed configuration.

The pricing model gives us multiple informations:
  • For 1PB (2PB stored) and 3 years term, the costs is $0.36/month/TB in LTO8 and $0.41 for LTO7
  • For similar volume and 5 years term, it costs $0.38/mo./TB for LTO8 and $0.42/mo./TB.
Pretty attractive model with software and tape included in the same bundle.

June 24, 2020

Seventh storage unicorn report

Coldago Research, an independent data storage research firm, just released its bi-annual storage unicorn list with three newcomers for its seventh edition.

Datrium, Nasuni and VAST Data join the December list of twelve companies ie.: Acronis, Actifio, Barracuda Networks, Cohesity, DDN, Druva, Infinidat, Kaseya, Qumulo, Rubrik, Veeam Software and Veritas Technologies. More details are given on this page.


June 22, 2020

Weebit raised $6.6M

Weebit-Nano, an emerging player in the development of next generation computer memory technology with its ReRAM project, just adds $6.6M placement shares to continue its expansion. The company plans to transfer of technology to production fab with a continued effort for a standalone memory technology. The team is confident to make progress with first commercial agreements in the coming quarters.

June 19, 2020

Fujifilm introduces Object Archive

Fujifilm Recording Media, the leader in tape storage manufacturing, recently launched Object Archive, its object storage solution via its Data Management Solutions group. The team refreshed the press team during the recent IT Press Tour.

This entity develops its own product line such LTO tape and this object storage product and distributes StrongLink from StrongBox Data Solutions and Archive Manager and Network Migrator from QStar Technologies. By the way QStar develops also its own object storage solution named Kaleidos that can be in front of a tape library.

The idea reminds me what the industry developed with the VTL (Virtual Tape Library) even if it was an ephemeral and transient technology. How to put a front-end to the tape library that facilitates data injection, improves quality of service and flexibility. There is no surprise that Fujifilm jumps into that opportunity and we're even surprised they didn't do that move before.

The goal of the solution is to address the deep archive opportunity and swallow even more data to tape as hyperscalers do finally. Object Archive is the name of the product in North America and Japan and Software-Defined Tape elsewhere. It could create confusion but both are pretty good name.

Due to the appearance of HDD down in the data lifecycle with the S3 storage wave, tape vendors missed the business opportunity and let object storage players grow into a market they originally controlled. But the reality is that the TCO of tape is almost unbeatable for deep archive and really depends of the use case. In our current cloud environment, the Air Gap model is fundamental to provide real barrier against attack, ransomware or just failure or bug propagation.

We learned that Fujifilm is the result of a close relationship with Cloudian, one of the leader in Object Storage according to the Coldago Research Map 2019 for Object Storage.

The product is a pure software model and operates as a gateway to tape libraries. As S3 is based on HTTP protocol it means that it is now possible to access the archiving repository from a remote site. A cascading workflow can be built with on-prem S3 to S3 to the tape libraries.

Open Archive introduces a new open source tape format named OTFormat, for Open Tape Format, that is finally the unification of metadata and data on the same support and it works from LTO 7. The importance aspect of this is to be able to read the tape in the future without the S3 gateway. This is why the format is open source and promoted as a standard. In term of tape libraries, everything is supported like Spectra, IBM, Quantum, Oracle, and HPE.

The solution is sold as a combination of tape plus software and offers the double of capacity within the same package. In a few days, pricing will be unveiled publicly. Fujifilm targets vertical sectors like Research, Genomics, Life Sciences, Oil and Gas, Media and Entertainment and HPC, all significant generators of huge volume of data with essentially 2 use cases: active and deep archive for volume above 1PB. In EMEA, a 2 tier distribution model is used with authorized partners and in USA a direct link with VARs.

The S3 gateway here is just a vehicle to ingest data into the library, clever idea, Object Archive is a very compelling concept coupling finally 2 standards used in capacity storage, S3 and tape, and Fujifilm is very well positioned to take a leader position.

June 18, 2020

Igneous lost some leaders

Igneous, a growing player in cloud data management, shakes its leadership layer as we just discovered that Kiran Bhageshpur is no longer CEO but a board member and Christian Smith, last VP Products, is now Storage Business Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Igneous leadership page reflects these changes. According to their respective LinkedIn profile, Kiran and Christian moved very recently.

Dean Darwin, previously board member, was appointed CEO keeping his board seat.

What do all these moves mean? The company was founded in October 2013 and raised so far almost $70M.

June 12, 2020

HYCU accelerates its market penetration with a CSP program

HYCU, the emerging leader in modern backup, unveils a new partner program dedicated to Cloud Services Providers (CSPs) thus accelerating the visible good traction HYCU Protégé demonstrates in that segment. This announcement was made during the recent IT Press Tour.

CSPs will promote the service as a co-branded solution for data protection, data migration and disaster recovery. It will invite users to consider and adopt a multi-cloud approach without any risk.

It represents a real new approach, more and more comprehensive, designed as a cloud-native model moving away from a point product historical technology sale. HYCU Protégé can be integrated to a more global cloud based solution to manage data and control infrastructure thanks to its flexible API.

Partners can connect to a specific portal to access technical and sales documents to improve their knowledge and services deployment capabilities. And of course, HYCU expands incentive programs and deals registration mechanism. HYCU also promotes a true cloud philosophy with a pay as you go perfectly aligned with the elasticity of the cloud. Very interesting new step for HYCU, we'll see how competition will react...