Dan's Take

Simplifying Virtual Storage

Rethinking metadata has led INFINIDAT to new ways of virtualizing storage.

Brian Carmody, CTO of INFINIDAT, came by to discuss his company, its technology and the release of a new product. I find it fascinating how many different takes suppliers have come up with on the concept of storage services and storage virtualization. INFINIDAT clearly has some interesting ideas for the industry to consider. Here's how the company describes itself:

INFINIDAT provides next generation enterprise class storage at a disruptive price point … INFINIDAT employs commodity hardware to deliver highly efficient multi-petabyte capacity in a single rack. The InfiniBox solution also delivers mainframe-class reliability with an unprecedented 99.99999% availability, and over 750K IOPS of performance.

New Concepts
Although I couldn't get Carmody to give away too many technical details of how the company's technology works, I was very impressed with what I was able to ferret out of the overview that was presented.

It appears that the company has developed technology based upon rethinking how data is described (metadata), and has used that to optimize how flash, DRAM and rotating media storage devices can be used.

This new approach simplifies how storage devices are used, how the reliability can be built into the system and how to obtain extreme levels of performance, reliability and multi-vendor compatibility.

I loved Carmody's description of the company's "stupidly simple" administrative tools.

New Devices
INFINIDAT's InfiniBox F6000 has been known for its 99.99999 percent uptime though its self-healing architecture. It has also been known for its ability to integrate with VMware, OpenStack and other popular computing environments. Customers concerned about storage cost, performance and data center footprint have liked InfiniBox's ability to scale, due to its 2PB of usable capacity in a single, standard 42U rack.

Carmody discussed a new version of the InfiniBox, the F2000, that scales up to 250 Tbytes in a single 18U configuration that uses the same storage servers and software, and offers all the same capabilities of its larger sibling.

The company is also providing access to its storage servers using both Block-based and network attached storage protocols, while still providing high levels of performance, reliability and scalability.

Dan's Take: Virtualized Environments Require Storage Virtualization
I've spoken with a number of storage virtualization suppliers, including VMware, Citrix, DataCore, NetApp and EMC. Each claim to be the best source for storage virtualization capabilities to augment the flexibility and power of virtualized computing environments.

Hardware focused suppliers typically build their storage solutions using their own proprietary storage servers, software and, in some cases, their own proprietary storage volumes. The software focused suppliers have focused on bringing the storage virtualization capabilities back into the general purpose servers, so that storage functions can be optimized along with other computing functions.

INFINIDAT is focused on offering storage servers that are based upon commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, while offering state of the art capabilities and performance. I was impressed, and think you will be too.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.


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