Welcome to the Software-Defined World Thomas Cornely, VP of Product Management, Nexenta

It’s no secret that today’s organizations are experiencing an unprecedented data explosion. As much as 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years and the pace of data generation continues to accelerate thanks to trends like cloud, social, mobile, big data, and the Internet of Things. These developments create additional pressure on data centre managers already struggling to make do with flat or decreasing IT budgets.

Thankfully, help is on the horizon with the emergence of the Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC). The SDDC promises to deliver new levels of scalability, availability and flexibility, and will do so with a dramatically lower total cost of ownership. As companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook prove every day, SDDC is the future and is built on three key pillars: compute, storage and networking.

The last decade saw the transformation of the compute layer thanks to technologies from the likes of VMware, Microsoft and the open source community. The next stages are storage and networking. While Software Defined Networking (SDN) was all the rage a couple of years ago, actual market traction and customer adoption has been slower than expected as industry players continue to work to align all the technology pieces required to deliver full SDN solutions. The story is quite different for storage. With storage typically being the most expensive part of an enterprise infrastructure, we are witnessing a dramatic acceleration in Software-Defined Storage (SDS) adoption.

2014 promises to be very significant for Software-Defined Storage as customers realize its potential for addressing their critical pain points: scalability, availability, flexibility and cost. As SDS increasingly takes centre stage, it is important to ensure customers see through legacy vendor marketing seeking to preserve their hegemony by dressing up high margin, inflexible proprietary hardware in SDS clothes. Thanks to fairly creative marketing teams most, if not all, storage vendors make some claim related to Software-Defined Storage. It is amusing to note, however, that almost all are selling closed hardware products with the 60% to 70% margin that has been the norm in the enterprise storage market over the past decade. Calling a product SDS does not make it so.

Having a lot of software in a given hardware product (as most storage arrays do) might make a product Software-Based, but it does not make it Software-Defined. Similarly, adding an additional management layer or abstraction layer on existing proprietary hardware (a la EMC ViPR) might increase the amount of software sold to customers, but really does not make the solution Software-Defined. What legacy storage vendors are doing is very similar to what Unix vendors of old (remember Sun, HP and IBM) did when they added visualization and new management software to their legacy Unix operating systems to compete with VMware. While these were technically interesting extensions to legacy technology, it was VMware running on standard Intel based servers that truly unleashed Software-Defined compute and changed the economics of enterprise compute forever. The same is true for SDS.

Done right, Software-Defined Storage allows customers to build scalable, reliable, full featured, high performance storage infrastructure from a wide selection of (low cost) industry standard hardware. As such, SDS is about much more than the latest technology innovation. True SDS allows customers to do things they could not do before while fundamentally changing the economics of the enterprise storage business. True SDS allows customers to deal with their storage assets in the same way they deal with their virtualized compute infrastructure: pick a software stack for all their storage services and seamlessly swap industry standard hardware underneath as cost, scale and performance requirements dictate. Eliminating vendor lock-in without compromising on availability, reliability and functionality is how SDS will change the storage industry.

From a technology perspective, true SDS must be able to support any ecosystem (VMware, HyperV, OpenStack and CloudStack) and any access protocol (block, file and object), while running on a wide variety of hardware configurations, be they all flash, all disk, or hybrid. Having a strong open source DNA helps in getting an active community of users and developers around the SDS solution. SDS openness will play an increasingly important role as customers move towards converged software-led stacks that harness technologies such as cloud, hyperscale, big data, NoSQL, flash hybrids, all flash, object stores and intelligent automation.

As mentioned earlier, the SDDC will deliver new levels of scalability, availability and flexibility with significantly lower cost than today’s approaches. With storage playing such a critical role in the SDDC, the accelerating adoption of SDS in 2014 will make it a breakthrough year for what we like to call Software-Defined Everything aka SDx. When the building blocks of software defined compute, storage and networking have all been put in place, enterprises will be free from expensive vendor lock-in and free to scale more easily, innovate more rapidly and bring new solutions to market more efficiently. More than yet another technology fad, SDDC is poised to change core data centre economics and free enterprises to invest more in their own business.

Posted in Corporate, Software-defined data center

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.

1 IDC IVIEW – THE DIGITAL UNIVERSE IN 2020

2 Tech Trader Daily

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

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.

by

Michael Letschin
Director of Product Management, Solutions

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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.

by

Michael Letschin
Director of Product Management, Solutions
Nexenta Systems

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