SaaS Software Delivery Model: While modernizing, go to the extreme and deliver software as you would modern cloud applications. Software-as-a-service builds into the product an invisible and perpetual upgrade process. Eliminate the mega-qualification effort driven by old architectures where quality had to be baked in with months of testing at times via the help of early-adopter customers. These long qualification processes in the past required that new features be lumped together for mega-releases every year or two. While enterprise customers still require strict control and acceptance of new software releases, it is time to adopt a more agile development model for storage products.
Open APIs: Open APIs must exist to unlock the value of the advanced data services, analytics, and metadata capabilities. Making features easily programmable and controllable using modern RESTful approach will allow this next generation of scale-out NAS can easily be integrated into both legacy environment and future cloud-centric environments.
Emerging Companies with Modern Scale-Out Designs
While the bulk of new scale-out storage companies are building products based on grid-based object-storage design principles, a few companies are emerging to tackle the arguably harder problem of enterprise performance-grade scale-out NAS.
Qumulo was founded in 2012 by many of the original inventors of Isilon OneFS and is headquartered in Seattle, WA. The aim of Qumulo technology is to bring massive scalability at uncompromised performance. In addition to breakthrough scalability, Qumulo focuses on making data visible through real-time capacity and performance analytics that make management of petabytes of storage a breeze. Qumulo is focused on HPC and large scale unstructured data workloads in media and entertainment, life sciences, higher education, oil and gas, and other industries.
InterModal Data has just emerged on the scene (2015, Santa Clara) founded by executives who hail from NetApp, Sun and other legacy storage leaders. The company delivers scalable, flexible and efficient scale-out storage for enterprises through distributed system software on top of a disaggregated hardware architecture. Their architecture approach physically separates and logically connects IO nodes from capacity nodes over Ethernet, utilizing RAM and flash caching on every node. InterModal Data offers a perpetual software license while allowing customers to buy directly from qualified hardware suppliers. The company is focused on large enterprises, managed hosting providers, enterprise SaaS providers, R&D shops, and media and entertainment companies.
The Future of Scale-Out NAS
It has been well over a decade since revolutionary changes have appeared in the scale-out NAS product category. It is refreshing to see new companies such as Qumulo and InterModal Data take a fundamental new approach to this category of storage. If they can radically improve scale and performance while adding a rich set of analytical capabilities then many customers will be drawn to these products just as in the '90s when easier to use file access combined with enterprise performance to draw converts to network attached storage. Businesses with big data problems who want a simpler but powerful approach to storage should take a close look at the offerings from these emerging companies and catch a glimpse of the modern revolution in scale-out NAS products.
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