With the general availability of Melio5, a software-based approach to delivering distributed scale-out, high-availability, and enterprise data services, Sanbolic claims it is the first to market with a solution that enables server-side flash, with up to 10x performance of traditional storage, at a fraction of the cost. By utilizing high-performance commodity storage devices the software scales linearly, provides systems level availability, and 650,000 IOPs per server, and will dramatically improve enterprise storage infrastructure economics by enabling server-side Flash, SSD, and HDD as primary persistent storage.
“Software enabled storage with this type level of performance is disruptive to legacy vendors by allowing our enterprise customers to leverage flash, SSD server-side architecture, together with high-capacity hard drives, to create a scalable infrastructure, with Web 2.0 economics,” said Momchil “Memo” Michailov, Co-Founder and CEO.
Flash-based enterprise storage – either as a hybrid/disk offering, all-flash array or server-side – is getting a lot of vendor attention, especially this month. EMC kicked off Flash March Madness with the announcement of XtremSF (server flash) family of PCIe-based cards. That was followed a day later by Violin Memory with the launch of its third-generation PCIe cards (Velocity) and a 2-4X price-performance advantage.
Flash technology, and the buoyant market it is creating, is not going to get anything other than more crowded and competitive over the short term, said Mark Peters, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, in a new blog. “That’s generally good for users (aside from having to keep up with things!) as such competition and market growth usually drives more investment and innovation that in turn leads to better, and more affordable, products.”
However, before you jump on the disk-is-dead bandwagon (still neck-in-neck with the tape-is-dead bandwagon), there are some harsh truths to consider, said Michailov. “Flash and SSD devices are very fast, but they are not infallible, and for good or bad, they are fairly stupid.”
Flash, including all-flash arrays, and particularly server-side flash have not taken off in the enterprise is because they represent a single point of failure, he said. They’re also fairly expensive.
By using a mix of technologies and commodity hardware, Sanbolic enables customers to inexpensively address availability and capacity issues with the most appropriate solution, managed by Melio software. “We have an enterprise-validated platform with over 750 customers worldwide that have already verified the platform and are using it for mission-critical applications,” said Michailov.
“We are seeing a lot of announcements around ‘we can do one million IOPS, we can do two million IOPS’ which makes for nice marketing, but at the end of the day, those numbers come with a huge cost and few applications really need that level of performance,” said Terri McClure, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), in a prepared statement. With flash, while you get the performance, many approaches introduce a single point of failure, and there are really very few applications that can tolerate both the cost and the introduction of a single point of failure, she said.
“Sanbolic’s Melio5, which could be viewed as a storage accelerator, enables corporate users to take advantage of flash, SSD in conjunction with commodity hardware to create an architecture like the huge public cloud companies run, while still providing workload flexibility and high availability.”
Sanbolic’s approach of leveraging the architecture that the big social media and public cloud companies use – taking commodity hardware and enabling it with intelligence through software — is the ideal solution, agreed Eric Slack, Senior Analyst, Storage Switzerland.
Melio5 aggregates across nodes for scale-out and availability while providing RAID, remote replication, quality of Service (QoS), snapshots and systems functionality through a software layer on commodity hardware. Its architecture is designed to scale up to 2,048 nodes and up to 65,000 storage devices, enabling linear performance scalability in a cluster, said Sanbolic. The software also eliminates the need to deploy a redundant flash caching layer in front of legacy storage area network (SAN) hardware by directly incorporating flash into hybrid volumes and intelligently placing data based on file system access profiles. A hybrid volume will place random access data such as file system metadata on flash sectors while placing sequential data on low cost hard disk drives to greatly reduce the cost of capacity.