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Infinidat looks at how storage can evolve to work with the cloud

With 144 percent year-on-year growth, Infinidat is looking at new options for companies processing data in the cloud.

The ever-increasing need for fast, secure access to ballooning volumes of data continues to be good news for storage suppliers.

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Carmody: "Our business model is almost the opposite of what's going on in the rest of the storage market."

Photo: Colin Barker/ZDNet

Infinidat highlighted the 144 per cent year-on-year growth for its flash-optimized storage product and big customers including US telecoms provider Sprint.

"We became profitable for the first time in the third quarter of 2016," said Infinidat's CTO Brian Carmody. "We think this is unusual for a relatively new storage vendor at this time. We think that most of our competitors go for land-grab, revenue growth at all costs which leads to negative cash flow. We are doing exactly the opposite."

Carmody pointed to the increasing volumes of storage data as one of the reasons for the company's position, noting that it sold 150 petabytes of storage worldwide in the first quarter of 2017.

Part of the reason for the dramatic rise in demand is down to the increasing need for faster access to greater volumes of data for advanced analytics on real-world workloads, he said. "This is particularly in data-driven key vertical markets such as healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, and cloud services."

Carmody believes Infinidat's business model is "almost the opposite of what's going on in the rest of the storage market". He believes the reason for that "is because our technical strategy is also the opposite of everybody else's".

The company's storage arrays combine conventional storage with some flash to over one million IOPS performance and 99.99999 percent reliability -- seven nines when the industry standard is five.

Carmody also noted the company's work in the banking industry, where it's currently alpha testing a new application specifically aimed at that sector.

"We've talked to a lot of banks and they are trying to figure out what to do about the cloud," he said. "Imagine a case where a bond dealer wants to price a bond and that's a transaction that has to run quick across 10,000 or more CPU cores. The elasticity required is a no-brainer and so you want to do that in the cloud.

"The problem is that you could have tens of petabytes of data and you want to do that analytics across the data so what are your options? You could pick a cloud provider, ingest all the data and pay a high cost for the data along with high storage costs -- and never get your data out."

Carmody argues that instead a multi-cloud model with independent storage will become a huge trend. "You store your data with us and you have under 2ms latency from Amazon, Google, and Azure.

"Imagine the case where that bond needs to be priced. When the trader hits the button, that auction for that trade goes to all those cloud providers and gets the lowest available price. So the idea is that where the cloud providers use storage as a weapon against the customers, we can disrupt that model and force the cloud providers to compete against each other for compute cycles. The only way that we and do that is if the data sets are with a trusted third party."

Carmody said that Infinidat does not play favourites with Amazon, Google, or Azure and offers equal access. "The datasets can be accessed simultaneously from different vendors so it commoditises the compute tier and it forces them to compete with each other."

This is currently being tested with 50 customers and the company is looking at availability next year, he said.

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