Can Wozniak reshape the data center?

Steve Wozniak re-joins the team from Fusion-io in the stealthy Primary Data data virtualization / SDDC startup.

Can Wozniak reshape the data center

If you haven’t been following Steve Wozniak’s technical career (as opposed to watching him on Dancing with the Stars), his latest appearance on the technical scene might come as a surprise. Primary Data, a storage virtualization start-up that just came out of stealth mode, announced at the DEMO conference yesterday that Wozniak was on board as Chief Scientist.

The new business reunites David Flynn and Rick White, co-founders of the server flash card vendor Fusion-io in 2005 (which was sold to Sandisk earlier this year for $1.1 billion) with Wozniak, who joined Fusion-io in 2009 as Chief Scientist.

Considered one of the most heavily funded start-ups in recent memory (over $63 million, Primary Data is looking to redefine data virtualization in the data center by implementing a data hypervisor which makes the source of storage, be it direct attached, network attached or a public or private cloud, invisible to users and applications.

With the growing interest in software defined data centers, virtualization on this scale is expected to become a multi-billion dollar business. At the moment, EMC sits atop this space, by virtue of its established ViPR software-defined storage and its integration with VMware ESXi and its support for the SDDC.

Primary Data believes that this type of virtualization is the logical step in building and deploying the SDDC because of its ability to seamlessly integrate existing storage infrastructures with the newest technologies as they appear. The Primary Data integrated platform, which is currently in the hands of proof-of-concept customers and is scheduled for general release in 2015, consists of the following:

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Data Hypervisor: Virtualizes data by decoupling the access channel from the control channel. The Data Hypervisor makes clients protocol-agnostic and allows data to be transparently placed across third-party storage under a global dataspace.

Data Director: A central management system that acts as a metadata server for the Data Hypervisor clients and provides policy definitions for data movement and placement.

Policy Engine: Enables organizations to manage data independently of storage. User-defined policies automate data movement across all storage types based on the data’s current performance, price, and protection needs.

Global Dataspace: The Primary Data platform gives data administrators global visibility into all storage resources in the enterprise. Real-time policies dynamically migrate data between storage tiers as application and data demands change.

If able to deliver on the promise of dynamically abstracting storage capabilities across any enterprise storage medium, physical or virtual, in a cost and performance acceptable fashion, Primary Data is poised to make a significant impact on the future of the data center.