Software-Defined Storage – Savior of The Internet of Things

Jill Orhun, VP of Marketing at Nexenta investigates how a new, software driven approach to storing data could end up saving hosting providers a small fortune…

‘The Internet of Things’, or connected devices, is an integral part of many people’s daily lives. From its beginnings in Internet banking and online grocery shopping, the Internet of Things has moved on to driverless cars, learning thermostats and wearable fitness technology – and the future only holds more opportunities. As these advancements in technology continue and become more widely adopted, we will become increasingly reliant on the services they deliver and the data they generate. And the Internet of Things is only one of several ingredients contributing to today’s explosion of data – key trends like mobility, social media and big data also are driving strong demand.

The net effect of these trends and technical advancements is that data is growing at an exponential rate. Analyst firm IDC1 predicts the digital universe will increase to 40 trillion gigabytes by 2020, equating to more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman and child. It also forecasts the digital universe will double every two years from now until 2020. This data growth is not only driven by people, but also by the huge number of devices permanently connected to the Internet, transmitting data 24/7. Important questions arise – where will all this data live? And how will we manage it?

Over the next 5 years, CIOs anticipate up to 44% growth in workloads in the Cloud, versus 8.9% growth for “on-premise” computing workloads 2. While consumer behavior often lags behind that of enterprises, the expectation is that over time greater and greater amounts of data will live in Clouds.   All of this data will put huge pressure on hosting providers to deliver industry-leading data management systems – ones that are simple, flexible, and economically friendly. We see evidence of this not only locally, but also globally.

For example, large, multinational hosting providers like Korean Telecom manage 100+ Petabyte environments that will be multi-Exabyte ones in the not so distant future. With a demanding portfolio of enterprise clients, its critical, to keep performance high, access flexible, and costs down. To do this, hosting providers need high functioning data centers, ones that take advantage of leading edge technologies. To achieve this goal, we need to address each layer of the data center- compute, network and storage – with storage having the most significant budget impact.

To address the storage component, hosting providers should explore the benefits of Software-Defined Storage (SDS) solutions. SDS is already helping 1000+ Nexenta hosting provider customers to keep a competitive edge by delivering high performance environments with the economics required to address demanding trends like ‘The Internet of Things’. True SDS solutions – meaning software defined, not software-based – provide flexible, simple, manageable, enterprise-class, high performance, infrastructure – with no vendor lock in.

SDS technology is deployed on industry standard hardware rather than tied to expensive proprietary models. This freedom of choice gives organizations the flexibility they need to select hardware that matches their requirements, for both new and legacy environments. Combine this with all the expected storage services, plus a price point that is often 50-80% less than proprietary models, and organizations now have the means to handle the data explosion gracefully – and competitively.

And don’t just take our word for it, our customers agree.

“We have spent less than one third of the investment we could have made with one Oracle SAN unit. This cost saving provides us with additional capital, which can be used for other IT resources to ensure we are meeting all our service level agreements.”

“SDS has helped us to provide the highest performance, scalability and flexibility to our growing customer base at a fraction of the cost of legacy vendors. The new solution has met all of our needs, offering enterprise features with the open source background we trust.”

“SDS has resolved all of our storage issues. We are now able to provide our customers with instant access to mission critical data. This has helped us not only to save money and time, but also to remain competitive in an increasingly growing industry.”

To embrace growing trends like ‘The Internet of Things’, hosting providers should recognize that SDS solutions belong on their infrastructure roadmaps. Flexible, manageable, simple and low cost – SDS is the future.


2 Tech Trader Daily

Posted in Corporate, Software-defined data center, Software-defined storage, Virtualization

Independence and Freedom is at the Heart of the Software-Defined Movement

Independence and freedom is at the heart of the software-defined movement in IT today. Whether you are looking for your choice of hypervisors, from ESX to Microsoft to KVM, or building a cloud with OpenStack or CloudStack, to the networking world with the likes of Nicira (VMware NSX), Big Switch and even Cisco, the options seem almost endless. The options available in the Software-Defined Storage world are no less proliferate. Traditional storage has been migrating from the big iron of yesteryear to choices that include all flash arrays, hyper-converged solutions and hybrid arrays, all custom built for the requirements of today’s enterprise.

Nexenta has been at the leading edge of the Software-Defined Storage movement for years, with NexentaStor as one of the first software-only enterprise storage solutions. Over the past year we have continued to innovate, developing a hyper-converged solution around virtual desktops with NexentaConnect. Our software, however, is only part of the overall storage solution. Nexenta has built and continues to grow strategic relationships with some of the largest hardware companies in the IT world. Building upon success with Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Supermicro and others, Nexenta continues to enable our customers with the flexibility of hardware options.

This unique flexibility not only lets the customer separate the data and control plane, but also gives them the reassurance to know that the pieces will work together flawlessly. To further this reassurance and sense of reliability, Nexenta also provides reference architectures with tested and validated solutions for each vendor.

Let’s take our strategic partnership with Dell as an example. This week, CRN pointed out that Dell has built their software-defined vision around Nexenta. As a certified Dell technology partner, Dell and Nexenta continue to develop solutions covering most aspects of your enterprise storage needs, including the only solutions to deliver the lowest cost deployment for non-HA environments with shared pooled desktops and Fibre Channel support. The partnership also means that customers can not only purchase their entire storage solution from Dell with the flexibility of the Nexenta Software-Defined Storage options, but get the Dell global supply chain and world class support structure at the same time.

If you are looking for a next-generation storage solution that is cost effective and can easily scale from the smallest builds up to almost a petabyte in a single array, opt for the Dell PowerEdge storage array servers combined with PowerVault backup powered by NexentaStor software-defined storage. Or, maybe the project you are working on requires you to deploy virtual desktops. Then, opt for a solution based on NexentaConnect with Dell hardware. Validated solutions on Dell VRTX, PowerEdge R620s and R720s give you building blocks to make the transition from proof of concept to production less of a concern and more of the independence that software-defined enterprise storage gives to the IT teams of today and tomorrow.


Michael Letschin
Director of Product Management, Solutions

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Dell, Software-defined data center, Software-defined storage, Uncategorized

Software. Defined. Everything. The Next Big Thing.

100% Software. Total Freedom. All Love.

By Tarkan Maner, CEO Nexenta Systems
@tarkanmaner, #nexenta, #OpenSDx

Every day at Nexenta we start the day energized and pumped up because we are part of a true revolution – The Next Big Thing – the Software Defined Everything revolution. It’s going to fundamentally change enterprise computing, as we know it today – and tomorrow.

Our team has been blessed working with some of the most innovative companies in the past 25 years; from E-commerce to E-business, On-Demand computing to Enterprise Infrastructure Management and Thin Computing to Cloud Computing. We have been blessed working with some of the most innovative people around, including leading innovators, entrepreneurs and business and technology leaders with truly innovative ideas. So many ideas and technologies have come to pass but only a few have truly been disruptive: E-commerce, social media, virtualization, and cloud computing to count a few. Having watched and experienced the success and failure of countless companies and technologies, we can say with 100% confidence that the Software Defined Everything trend is real. It’s disruptive. It’s now. It’s changing everything.

Over the past few years I kept hearing about Nexenta. Especially over the past 12 months when our field folks were always talking about Software Defined Storage-driven Infrastructures and Enterprises. We were a bit skeptical at first. We were working with our customers and partners on big data, mobility and virtualization projects, and there was a big buzz around becoming a Software Defined enterprise. We quickly realized that the big inhibitor to all of this innovation was the high cost of information management and storage. It was simply too expensive and customers were locked into rigid and chaotic infrastructure systems, trapped around onerous long-lasting vendor contracts. Customers wanted flexible and open alternatives to the old school hardware vendors, who were holding them hostage by design with proprietary solutions developed with the single-dimensional IT vision of the 90s.

Finally, I met with the Nexenta team and was amazed by their story. The company has passionate customers worldwide across many verticals and engaged partners; from the largest players in the Western world to smallest partners in the developing world, along with unbelievably well-designed IP. We have come to realize that Software Defined Everything is The Next Big Thing and Nexenta has built a solid Global Leadership in Software Defined Storage. I joined the company as the CEO and most importantly as a humble servant for our customers who have been craving this game-changing solution for decades. We have over 5,000 customers, hundreds of partners and almost an Exabyte of storage under management. Nexenta has a start-up soul that comes through in its innovative products – like NexentaEdge for Object Storage Management and Nexenta Fusion, the only true and open single pane of glass Orchestration solution for any storage sub-system, hardware or software; it is your Nexenta Glass to your storage infrastructure.

After being with Nexenta over the past six months and talking with hundreds of customers, partners, investors, analysts and experts, I am more convinced than ever before that Software Defined Everything is the future. Its open and innovative solutions are what’s needed to deal with today’s big trends around social media, mobility, Internet of Things, Big Data, and cloud computing, and bring TCO of computing to the lowest levels we have ever seen. What we have seen has proven that Software Defined Everything is more than a buzz-word. It’s what’s needed to deliver a true Software Defined Storage platform, to build a true Software Defined Data Center, to support delivery of a true Software Defined Infrastructure, and achieve the Software Defined Enterprise end game – through a complete and open Software Defined Everything vision; which we simply call #OpenSDx.

VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and others have successfully liberated “Compute” over the past decade. Virtualizing infrastructures planted the undeniable seed for today’s cloud computing frenzy. That revolution led Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter and many leading public cloud service providers around the world to prove cloud computing cannot be economically viable unless these service providers have completely open and disruptive Software Defined Infrastructures to service their own customers. From their rightful “selfish” innovation to out-innovate each other came more innovation from countless developers and innovators who were finished with the dictatorships of the overall IT industry. Countless open source projects, including OpenStack and CloudStack, opened the way for enterprises to prove that they can Amazon-ize themselves in much more innovative and cost-effective ways. They learned fast that “Goliath” service providers like Amazon also crave long-lasting and onerous contracts – just like the old-school system vendors of the 90s with the similar shackles of punitive and locked-in contracts with little room for innovation and collaboration. And the divine comedy continues. Or does it?

We, the free people of innovation and collaboration, see the Year 2014, the Year of the Horse in Chinese Zodiac, as the “breakthrough” and “improvement” year for The Next Big Thing. Software Defined Everything, especially its critical ingredient of Software Defined Storage, is real. This year, we expect several more Fortune 1000 enterprises to become liberated and Software Defined in some shape or form. This collaborative and open revolution for liberation will result in greater agility, interoperability, faster speed to market, improved risk management, new opportunities for innovation and, most importantly, achieving all of this at TCO levels we have never seen before. So, maybe the divine comedy stops here and turns into divine innovation and collaboration by those who seek true Freedom via The Next Big Thing.

At Nexenta, we move fast. We listen. We rationalize. We deliver with open innovation and collaboration with our customers and partners. We believe we have the best team in the industry. We have the most innovative solutions with tens of patents and awards under our brand – and ALL built on an unashamed Open Source vision. We are committed to bringing Software Defined solutions for the enterprise to our customers and partners. We are now crossing that exciting chasm from a small start up to becoming a fast-growing world-class enterprise company. If the last six months are any indication, the next phase of Nexenta will be simply AMAZING!

Keep your eyes on Nexenta and our open, independent, free and friendly Software Defined Storage vision – it’s the first step towards The Next Big Thing.

Nexenta. 100% Software. Total Freedom. All Love.

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Posted in Corporate

Nexenta Software-Defined Storage Ranked #1 with Lowest Cost, Highest Performance for Virtualization

Nexenta recently participated in the Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Validation Program for Storage Partners white paper, resulting in a series of reports looking individually at how a variety of storage solutions implemented Citrix XenDesktop using the VDI FlexCast approach.

As described in the program overview, Citrix constructed a turnkey “VDI Capacity” test rig in its Santa Clara Solutions Lab. The VDI farm was complete and fully operational with the exception of storage. Citrix storage partners were invited to connect their storage to the VDI farm and participate in a “VDI Capacity” test that simulated “a day in the life” of a 750 user Citrix farm. Upon completion, Nexenta and 11 other storage solutions became “750 User Verified” partners for XenDesktop. To read the full analysis of NexentaStor’s performance and ROI results, download the free white paper “Nexenta Liberates Storage to Deliver a Better ROI.”

What we found most interesting about the report, however, was the economics of storage vendors that was made transparent as part of this process.

We weren’t the only ones to notice. Take a look at this graphic from a recent blog post entitled The real cost of VDI storage by Gartner Research Director Gunnar Berger.

Storage vendors comparison chart

Berger created this comparison chart of the cost of storage per desktop from all twelve vendors that received verification from the program. Nexenta delivers the most cost-efficient storage solution for Citrix XenDesktop users, providing an unprecedented full-featured storage solution for $15 per desktop. This beats the nearest competition with savings of $22 per desktop. The last-place finisher in Citrix’s validation testing was an astounding 36x more expensive than NexentaStor, NetApp was approximately 2.5x more costly than Nexenta and EMC more than 6.5x more expensive.

This validation demonstrates what we’ve known for some time: that the Massively Expensive Storage System (MESS) vendors have been giving storage a bad name and preventing IT departments all over the world from developing a true VDI environment. In the Citrix validation study, Nexenta delivered the best operational performance with the best ROI.

Simply put, Nexenta shattered the competition.

Nexenta is working tirelessly to help customers implement a software-defined approach to data center storage. We’re proud of these results and will continue to innovate in order to help customers unlock the true ROI potential of their move to VDI and a software-defined data center.


Michael Letschin
Director of Product Management, Solutions
Nexenta Systems

Posted in Software-defined data center, Software-defined storage

10+ Lessons from my Software-Defined (SDx) Life

After an exciting week in Amsterdam, Paris and London, where we had Nexenta’s quarterly sales meeting, the first of our global OpenSDx Summits, our French launch in Paris, and my first TV interview for Nexenta in London (@cloudchantv) a number of key themes are bubbling up.  Multiple industries, organizations, people and technologies are energized by the promise of Open, SoftwareDefined “everything” – from storage, servers, and networks, to data centers, infrastructure and ultimately enterprises.  Few vendors are delivering on this promise, and few organizations understand that Software Defined Storage (#softwaredefinedstorage) (SDS) is the first critical step on this journey.  Here’s what’s top of mind from a week with the movers, shakers and influencers of OpenSDx:

  1. Hip or Hype? the Future of OpenSDx
  2. Software-Based and Software-Defined are different
  3. “Open” is also for Organizations
  4. CIOs have new imperatives – and new opportunities 
  5. Evolution is the name of the game
  6. Scale changes everything
  7. Agility + Simplicity = Happy
  8. Macroeconomics affect storage economics
  9. CIOs need a better technology cost basis
  10. Think twice about the cost of Cloud
  11. Civil rights mean data rights
  12. UK, France & Spain lead SDS pack

1. Hip or Hype? the Future of OpenSDx

There’s a lot of buzz in the industry right now around Software Defined “everything”– even traditional hardware vendors suddenly have “software-defined”, yet inexplicably hardware-based, solutions.   The resulting market fog means end users can’t get a clear view of OpenSDx.  What to do?  Get the facts straight.  Look to industry leaders like VMware who invite you to master the new reality of the Software Defined Enterprise.  Look to analysts like IDC pointing to the starring role that software increasingly plays in IT infrastructures, and survey data that show over 50% of companies in leading countries considering software defined solutions.  There’s a lot of hype, but at the end of the day, your enterprise will be software defined, and SDS is the first platform on which to achieve competitive advantage.

2. Software-Based and Software-Defined are different

To improve the view of SDx, we need standards and definitions that we can all agree on.  Analysts differentiate between Software Based and Software Defined solutions.  Why shouldn’t you?  If you want to tell the difference, ask, “How many hardware platforms does your Software Defined Solution run on?”  One is not the right answer … Software Based means you should expect hardware dependency, Software Defined means hardware, application, and protocol agnostic, enabling a Software Defined Infrastructure, for your Software Defined Enterprise.

3.  “Open” is also for Organizations

Open Source started a fundamental shift in how people think about technology – collaborative, flexible, cross-functional, team oriented.  OpenSDx is the next generation of Open Source for enterprise technology, be it compute, storage, or networking  -  like Nexenta – 100% Software.  Total Freedom.  All love. :)  Development of such solutions means breaking down barriers to create integration opportunities, increasing communication between both people and technologies.  As the gravitational pull of OpenSDx gets stronger, organizational movements are beginning to reflect this desire for open, collaborative environments, from the creation and empowerment of cross-functional Dev Ops teams, to industry collaborations like the Open Compute framework.

4. CIOs have new imperatives – and new opportunities 

The best CIOs have never been just about technology – they have a holistic view of the business and IT, and now they’ll be rewarded as they use this special insight to qualify OpenSDx solutions and understand where and why it best fits in their organization.  OpenSDx holds incredible power for CIOs – it helps transform them from IT service providers to strategic partners, capable of improving the speed of business and delivering not just technology but innovation.   OpenSDx = Efficiency = Innovation = Competitive Advantage.

5.  Evolution is the name of the game

Revolution is a scary thought for most IT leaders – few organizations want to be on the bleeding edge of technology innovation for their mission critical systems – but rapid, low risk evolution is oh so attractive, especially when your initial steps build a foundation giving a competitive advantage.  Organizations taking steps now to implement Software Defined solutions will find not only near term business benefits, but also longer term competitive ones.  This is why so many analysts and industry leaders are highlighting SDS as one of today’s big trends.  Storage is the bedrock of the data center; if you can evolve this expensive, growing component of your data center, all the change layered on top will be easier.

6.  Scale changes everything

The scale of IT has exponentially increased – environments are built with hundreds and thousands of devices and systems, proof of concepts on 100 units no longer suffices.  The complexity associated with such environments is immense, and resources and knowledge must scale more efficiently.  Architectures, people and processes will all need to evolve, and simple, manageable tools are needed to do so effectively.  At Nexenta, our typical installation used to be on the order of tens of terabytes; now, our largest customer will grow to half an Exabyte in the next eighteen months.  We expect to see more customers and organizations moving that direction.

  7.  Agility + Simplicity = Happy

Much like taking part in a revolution, end users cheer for flexibility and choice – but with boundaries.  While Software Defined (SDx) solutions mean you can make more choices, the potential permutations can be overwhelming – analysis stops, paralysis ensues, innovation stalls.  It’s incumbent upon OpenSDx solution providers to develop simple, manageable solutions, so that agility is delivered with simplicity.  Choice is wonderful, but introduces complexity, and at the end of the day, IT managers need to be sure they can still run their own house. (#agilesimplehappy).  When we engaged customers in release planning for NexentaStor 4, the loudest chants were for simplicity and improved manageability, and delivery of those characteristics is critical to customer satisfaction.

8.  Macroeconomics affect storage economics

According to the IDC surveys shared by Donna Taylor (@Donna_IDC), macroeconomic trends have a trickle down effect on storage buying behaviors.  Storage is the fastest growing, and often largest, line item in an organization’s IT budget.  How do you stave off additional CAPEX and OPEX costs?   Keep your storage longer, keep it off warranty, do more with less.  Customers are also willing to pay a little extra for flexibility and choice, so that longer-term options exist that extend the life of their storage assets.   You can also just buy NexentaConnect to get simple, better performance and density for your VDI environment. (Yes, shameless plug!)

9.  CIOs need a better cost baseline

Organizations have two related problems when trying to address their return on investment.  First, many IT organizations spend over 70% of their budget to keep the lights on – this inhibits innovation, because resources focus on maintenance instead of value add.  Second, most IT organizations lack true IT cost transparency.  Budgets are based on past behaviors and high-level estimates vs. on fact-based usage of IT services.  The highest benefit of the Software Defined Enterprise is that it balances Business and Technology, empowering Technology to deliver, price and project IT services against a business strategy – and make recommendations on the right course of action.  How to solve for these challenges and achieve SDE benefits?  Deliver simple, flexible, manageable solutions that free up time, and enable a better IT operating model with intelligence from cost data.  CIOs looking to improve their infrastructure economics via SDDC / SDI will quickly need to examine their costs.

10.  Think twice about the cost of Cloud

Like the Hotel California, when it comes to your data and the cloud, “you can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.”  (#ThomasCornely).  Many organizations choose public cloud services as an easy way to quickly add capacity, or ramp up new products; however cost needs to be examined carefully and holistically.  Remember that you’re not only paying for storage, but also for use and access.  It’s not a one-time cost, but a year over year, growing, expenditure.   Nexenta’s CIO-validated cost analysis, based on list prices, reveals that our solutions are 70% cheaper than legacy system solutions over a 3 year time horizon, and 15% less than cloud providers.  Do you know the true cost of your storage?

And a few bonus items for our friends in Europe!

11.  Civil rights mean data rights

With Edward Snowden on the television screen, frequent discussion of the US Patriot Act and concerns about European data being on American soil, it was clear that data security and privacy are top of mind for our EMEA friends.  European organizations must enable end user preferences on how their is data used, understand what constitutes consent, how long it lasts, and also permit the “right to be forgotten”.  While data security itself is generally handled in the application layer, storage solutions like Nexenta’s with self-healing properties like those of ZFS help reduce data corruption and ensure data integrity, thus making sure the right data is available to the right people at the right time.

12.  UK, France & Spain lead SDS pack

The localization of SDS solution adoption is evident in Europe not only by industry but also by geography; as I am finding, it’s incredibly important to understand not only the culture and expectations of the countries where we work, but also where they are in their SDS journey, and what’s needed to help them take the next step.  According to survey data presented by Donna Taylor, IDC’s EMEA storage analyst, there is a continuum of adoption in Europe, with the UK, France and Spain leading the pack in terms of interest and adoption around SDS solutions, and the Nordics at the other end, exhibiting some interest.

So, what’s the upshot?  OpenSDx is real.  It’s here.  Everyone’s talking about it.  In my interview with CloudTV (@CloudTV), I was asked what makes me passionate about Nexenta and Software Defined Storage.  My answer?  We are at the forefront of a fundamental shift in how business and technology operate today – one that’s going to make all industries more efficient, more innovative, more competitive, and better.  What better place to be than leading that revolution?

Join the conversation. Let us know what you think via @Nexenta and stay tuned for videos of Nexenta’s OpenSDx Summit EMEA sessions on our YouTube channel.


Jill Orhun
Marketing & Chief of Staff
Nexenta Systems

Posted in Software-defined data center, Software-defined storage, Uncategorized

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