New kids on the Blox

A new scale out storage company has come out of stealth mode this morning. Exablox is announcing advanced, low-cost, scale out storage that is optimized for small and medium businesses.

Think of it as Drobo for the business guy. Or, for you enterprise IT types, Isilon for the department.


The OneBlox system supports file data accessed through either NFS or SMB. Each OneBlox 2U appliance has 8 drive bays for a current max capacity of 32TB.

Thanks to cloud-based management, a naïve user can get a new share up in less than five minutes. Adding new nodes is even simpler: they auto-discover each other when they are on the same subnet.

It will take longer to unpack the box than to start using the storage.

Cool technology

While it looks like standard NAS file storage under the covers, it is a much more modern design. The system breaks files into hashed 32K objects to ensure data integrity.

The index that keeps track of these objects is kept on a fast SSD. The objects are triple replicated across other nodes to ensure data availability.

The system uses a consistent hashing algorithm to minimize internode communication, a problem that limits the scalability of some older clustered storage designs. The interconnect is gigabit Ethernet with trunking of up to four links.

All objects are AES 256 encrypted for security at the rest of and across the network. The OneSystem cloud management is designed for non-techies and makes it simple to configure shares or set up regular snapshot copies.


But all the technical goodness in the world won't attract customers unless it is fairly priced. Unlike enterprise clustered storage, which typically goes for $3-$5 per gigabyte, the Exablox products are $.30-$.50 per gigabyte.

This is the kind of pricing needed to compete with Amazon Web Services and other cloud-based storage. Why go to the cloud when local is cheaper and faster?

The Storage Bits take

Traditional RAID systems — where all disks are the same size and rebuilds take forever — are dead. There are better options and Exablox looks to have one of them. 

Storage is so important that it needs to be as easy and reliable as a book on a shelf. Exablox is a step in that direction. Let's hope the reality (they ship in June) matches the promise.

Comments welcome, of course.