Sofware-Defined Storage – Vertical Sectors Sharing the Love

Allison Darin, Director of Communications & Public Relations, Nexenta Systems, Inc.

First, the good news. We are in a year that promises to shake up the storage world with open source Software-Defined Storage (SDS) solutions revolutionizing the market and helping today’s organizations build toward the Software Defined Enterprise (SDE) of the future.

Even better, the SDS revolution, spearheaded by Nexenta, is spreading to more and more vertical markets and countries. And while the institutions and organizations adopting an SDS approach have made their choice for a number of reasons, they all have one thing in common: they’re very happy with what it delivers. But don’t take our word for it – read on for the stories of several customers and their journey towards becoming Software Defined.

In Germany, regional energy supplier Stadtwerke Tuttlingen (SWT) provides electricity, gas, and water utilities to over 34,200 residents across 980 square miles in the South West area of the country.

SWT’s existing storage solution was proving inadequate to run multiple high performance databases (Oracle, MSSQL) and incapable of supporting a planned VDI deployment. Searching for a storage system that offered high performance, flexibility and high availability, SWT found NexentaStor.

One of the key selling points for SWT was the simplicity of Nexenta’s products. There was no need for complex licensing and NexentaStor provided features such as unlimited snapshots, thin provisioning and hybrid storage pooling that helped SWT to implement cost-effective storage with high performance.

In the UK, the University of Sussex turned to Nexenta when its original solution started to approach end of life. The IT department at the University provides support to the entire university – 13,000 students and over 2,100 staff – with a single home directory service that enables users to access files from whatever device and operating system they are using, wherever they are on the campus.

NexentaStor was selected because of its flexibility, scalability and attractive economics. It delivered the performance the University sought, and paved the way for sustainable expansion. The stability, scalability and performance of Nexenta has proven so effective that it has prompted the IT department to look at other campus storage systems and further opportunities to consolidate, increase speed and grow efficiently.

In the media industry, London-based boutique VFX organization BlueBolt was searching for an adaptive storage solution to manage the growing workload of its creative and technical staff and to keep up with the evolving demands of the industry.

BlueBolt has provided the visual effects for many award-winning productions including the BBC’s Great Expectations, Game of Thrones (Season 1) and Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom. Needing to implement a secure, reliable, scalable storage solution, the company chose Nexenta’s SDS solution to centralize and manage its storage infrastructure and replace the various storage platforms in situ.

Best of all, Nexenta provided all of the features BlueBolt expected from an enterprise storage platform while remaining one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market.

There are many advantages for organizations like SWT, University of Sussex and BlueBolt that opt for Nexenta’s SDS approach. They escape from vendor lock-in, total cost of ownership (TCO) is radically improved, performance gets significantly better and the result is true scalability. In other words, it’s future-proof.

Nexenta helps customers to bypass the MESS (Massively Expensive Storage Systems) produced by traditional vendors and concentrate on growing and building their business – boosting productivity and customer service. It’s a win win for everybody.

No wonder customers in industries as diverse as media (BlueBolt), energy supply (SWT) and education (the University of Sussex) are turning to Nexenta, the global leader in SDS, to deliver easy to use, secure and ultra low cost storage software solutions.

By now, some of you are probably starting to ask: That’s great, but what happened to the bad news? Good news everybody, there isn’t any.

Posted in Corporate, Software-defined storage

Managing Software-Defined storage for your virtualized infrastructure just got a whole lot easier.

Nexenta is proud to announce our first vCenter Web Client plugin to support the NexentaStor platform. The NexentaStor vCenter Web Client Plugin is a plug-in for vSphere 5.5 and NexentaStor 4.0.3 that provides integrated management of NexentaStor storage systems within vCenter. The plug-in will allow the vCenter administrator to automatically configure NexentaStor nodes via vCenter.

VMware administrators can provision, connect, and delete storage from NexentaStor to the ESX host, and view the datastores within vCenter.

04CreateiSCSINot only can you provision the storage but managing it is also simple with integrated snapshot management.

05SnapshotThe plugin also allows for closer analytics and reporting on the storage through vCenter as detailed below.

Check out the screenshots below, and download the vCenter Web Client Plugin today from the NexentaStor product downloads page.

General details about Storage:

  • Volume Name
  • Connection Status
  • Provisioned IOPs
  • Provisioned Throughput
  • Volume available space and Used space

Storage Properties

  • Datastore name
  • NFS Server IP address
  • Datastore Path and capacity details

Datastore Properties:

  • Total capacity
  • Used capacity
  • Free capacity
  • Block size
  • Datastor IOPs, Throughput, and Latency

Snapshot Management:

  • List existing snapshots
  • Create new snapshots
  • Clone existing snapshots
  • Restore to a snapshot
  • Delete Snapshots
  • Schedule snapshots

End-to-End Datastore Provisioning:

  • Creating a new volume in Storage Array
  • Attach the volume to host as datastore
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Posted in Virtualization

Accelerate your Horizon 6 deployment with NexentaConnect 3.0!

Nexenta is proud to announce the general availability of NexentaConnect 3.0 for VMware Horizon (with View).  The VDI acceleration and automation tool provides increased desktop density and higher IO performance for existing storage deployments as well as greenfield new VDI solutions.  NexentaConnect 3.0 introduces many new features and enhancements for a VDI solution to include

  • Full support for VMware Horizon 6NexentaConnect for Horizon 3
  • Pass Through Support for VMware GPU
  • Import Horizon View desktop pools
  • Fast desktop pool restoration from backup

Combining all these great new features allows you to now accelerate and grow your existing Horizon deployment, which may have been limited by traditional storage solutions.

To learn more about NexentaConnect for VMware Horizon go to and download the 45 day free trial.



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

Nexenta Launches Revolutionary Software-Defined Scale Out Object Storage Solution for OpenStack and Big Data Infrastructures

NexentaEdge – Taking Nexenta’s ZFS DNA to Cloud Scale

Thomas Cornely, Chief Product Officer, Nexenta

VMworld 2014 in San Francisco promises to be an incredible event for Nexenta. In addition to our OpenSDx Summit on 8/28, as a VMworld 2014 Platinum Sponsor we’re gearing up for a slew of new product announcements and demos. We’re particularly excited about the opportunity to showcase NexentaEdge, the latest addition to our Software-Defined Storage portfolio, specifically targeting the petabyte scale, shared nothing, scale-out architectures required for next generation cloud deployments. NexentaEdge is a software only solution deployed on industry standard servers running Ubuntu, CentOS or RHEL Linux. Version 1.0 will support iSCSI Block services with OpenStack Cinder integration, Swift and S3 Object APIs as well as a Horizon management plugin. File services are part of our design and will be delivered in follow-on versions.

If you’re familiar with Nexenta, you know all about NexentaStor, our unified block and file Software-Defined Storage solution built on the ZFS file system. What made ZFS great were some key design choices that took advantage of emerging trends in the hardware landscape. Things like Copy On Write, delivering guaranteed file system consistency at very large scale, as well as high performance unlimited snapshots and clones. Things like block level checksums, trading increasingly cheap CPU cycles for way more valuable end-to-end data integrity. This strong technology heritage, paired with Nexenta’s continued investment on performance, scale and manageability has led service providers across the globe and a growing number of enterprise customers to rely on NexentaStor as the storage backend for their legacy cloud and enterprise applications.

If you’re in technology, you know that the only constant is change. Our service provider customers are busy scaling their infrastructure, moving to next generation open source cloud infrastructure like OpenStack and CloudStack and looking for even more scalable and cost efficient storage backends. For that, we’ve built NexentaEdge. And rather than quickly combine existing open source pieces and hack on top of them, we deliberately took some time to design a solution from the ground-up, and we made sure our design reflected the lessons we learned from our years of working with ZFS. We also made sure our design looked forward and was ready for what we see as new emerging trends in the storage landscape. The net result is a truly next generation scale out solution that incorporates what we like to call our ZFS DNA.

For example, one core design aspect of NexentaEdge is something we call Cloud Copy On Write. While the system is fully distributed truly, without any single point of failure, data in the cluster is never updated in place. Very much like ZFS, but applied in a distributed context, this gives us a great foundation for advanced data management and the ability to gracefully handle a variety of failure scenarios that affect large scale out clusters. Another example is end-to-end data integrity. All chunks of objects in NexentaEdge are stored with cryptographic hash checksums that deliver ultimate data integrity. The system is also built with automatic self-healing in case corruption is detected in a chunk.

Another critical aspect of the design is the recognition that building large scale out clusters is as much a storage challenge as a networking one. So we paid particular attention to how we consume precious network bandwidth and how we automatically route data around hot spots and busy nodes. These functions are implemented as part of what we call FlexHash (for dynamic flexible hashing that automatically selects the best targets for data storage, or data access based on actual load states) and Replicast (our own network protocol that minimizes data transfers and enables lower latency data access).

Last but not least, a great design proves itself by how advanced features naturally flow out of it. One such feature is cluster wide inline deduplication. NexentaEdge clusters get inline deduplication of all data at the object chunk or block level. These are variable sizes and can be as small as 4KB as we will demonstrate at the Nexenta booth at VMworld 2014 we will create 100’s of virtual machines on iSCSI LUNs while consuming slightly more than one copy worth in the cluster.

NexentaEdge is here. And we think it will be big. Over the coming weeks, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the technology and share details on Cloud Copy On Write, Flexhash and Replicast. See you at the Nexenta booth at VMworld 2014!

Posted in Corporate

Software-Defined Storage Saving the Economy

Jill Orhun, VP of Marketing and Strategy, Nexenta

Faced with the challenge of an explosion of data from macro trends like social media, mobile, the Internet of Things, and Big Data, many organisations are faced with snowballing technology requirements and yet declining IT budgets that mean doing more with less.

Storage is often the highest single line item in these reduced or static IT budgets, making the strategy of throwing more storage hardware at the data explosion problem less and less acceptable. Many of today’s organisations, such as picturemaxx, University of Sussex and the Institut of Laue Langevin have found a way to step away from such a MESS (massively expensive storage systems) solution and have discovered more scalable, flexible, available and cost effective storage solutions – Software-Defined Storage (SDS) solutions.

Open Source SDS solutions can be deployed in conjunction with industry standard hardware, avoiding the vendor lock-in of expensive proprietary models. This gives organisations the freedom to choose their hardware, ensuring they always get the right hardware their requirements – and with the right price. Democratising infrastructure in this way delivers cost savings of up to 80%.

Software-Defined Storage will change everything

2014 is the year that SDS is shaking up the market by delivering on its promise of a truly vendor agnostic approach, and providing a single management view across the data centre. Organisations are beginning to coalesce around a standard definition of Software-Defined Storage, and clearing up the confusion that arises from the proliferation of approaches taken by vendors purporting to provide “Software-Defined” solutions.

Some vendors claim to offer SDS but are merely providing virtualised storage, characterised by a separation and pooling of capacity from storage hardware resources. Others claim to have SDS solutions even though their solution is 100% reliant on a specific kind of hardware. Neither definition fulfills the fundamental SDS requirement of enabling enterprises to make storage hardware purchasing decisions independent from concerns about over or under-utilisation or interoperability of storage resources. It is important to be aware of these subtle distinctions, otherwise the key SDS benefits of increased flexibility, automated management and cost efficiency simply won’t be realised.

True SDS solutions let organisations work with any protocol stack to build specialised systems on industry standard hardware, rather than limiting their choices to the expensive specialised appliances sold by the ‘MESS’ vendors.

Storage-Defined Storage changes the economic game for the Storage-Defined Data Centre

SDS is one of the three legs of the stool that make up the Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC), along with the server virtualisation and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). As the most costly leg, however, SDS is also a target for mis-direction of terms and capture of high margins. Many vendors claiming to deliver SDS are selling hardware products with the 60% to 70% margin that has come to define the enterprise storage market. SDS is about much more than new technology innovation. True SDS lets customers do things they couldn’t do before and, most critically, fundamentally changes the economics of the enterprise storage business by increasing the hardware choices available to end customers.

Making the right choices

Organisations are in the middle of a data tsunami. According to recent reports the global tidal wave of data has been predominantly created in the last two years is going to get faster as we all demand 24/7 connection.

According to Research and Markets Global Software Defined Data Centre report, the market is set to explode, growing at a CAGR of 97.48% between this year and 2018. Much of this growth is due to an increased demand for cloud computing, which creates a companion demand for Software-Defined technologies to achieve large scale, economically.

Customers realise that SDDC technologies offer flexibility, security, storage availability and scalability. All organisations should get informed on what true Software Defined solutions are – so they can make better decisions on which vendors to invest in for the SDDCs in their future. The first step is understanding the definitions, asking the right questions, and moving towards SDS solutions as a first critical step on their Software-Defined journey.

Posted in Corporate, Software-defined storage

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