Jerome Lecat, CEO of Scality, spoke with me about his view of the future of software defined storage and how enterprises should be thinking about it now. Scality believes that enterprises should start thinking about and planning for tools that could, in the company's words, "route data to and from individual users in the most scalable, efficient way possible."
Scality developed Scality RING that is designed to address the growing challenge enterprises face in dealing with rapidly growing, huge (petabyte scale) storage requirements that include both structured and non-structured data. Here's how the company describes RING:
The RING is a software-based storage that is built to scale to petabytes with performance, scaling and protection mechanisms appropriate for such scale. It enables your business to grow without limitations and extra overhead, works across 80% of your applications, and protects your data over 200% more efficiently at 50-70% lower cost.
The company goes on to discuss that RING combines the features of traditional network attached storage, object storage, tape and scale-out VM storage. They also discuss how this technology could support an enterprise cloud, distributed computing platform, Web and Cloud services, content distribution and active archives.
Here's how the company presents the capabilities of RING:
The idea of virtualizing a function and then separating its management functions and them putting them under programmatic control has gotten quite a bit of attention in the market over the last year. We've heard about software defined networks, storage, and even whole data centers. Unfortunately, most of the proponents of this concept are focused only and solely on computing executed on industry standard, read x86-based, systems and conveniently forget that most enterprises have installations that include mainframes, midrange UNIX systems, automated power and cooling equipment as well as their target, industry standard systems.
Providing tools that allow automated provisioning, operations, updating and decommissioning of only one part of one function of a data center's complex and extensive functions is only going to be a partial solution at best and yet another addition to data center complexity at worst.
Scailty has focused on a single function, storage, and then again only storage managed by industry standard systems. While this is an excellent place to start, it really can't be the only storage area a supplier addresses. Enterprise computing typically includes data managed and processed by many other computing resources.
If we consider the impressive Scality customer list, it appears that the company is offering useful technology today. I would recommend, however, that they company consider how it can serve the needs of enterprises having a multi-vendor, multi-platform data center. Scality really needs to address all of the storage needs in an enterprise data center to be considered an enterprise level solution.