Storage Soup

May 13, 2016  6:29 AM

Datto expands into file sync and share with a free, one-year service

Sonia Lelii Sonia Lelii Profile: Sonia Lelii

Data Protection specialist Datto is giving away its new file sync and share service for a year.

The Datto Drive service for SMBs is hosted on the vendor’s 200 PB private cloud within nine worldwide data centers.  The service comes with a global license agreement with open source file sync and share vendor ownCloud.

One million Datto Drive accounts will be offered for free. After a year of service, customers will pay $10 per terabyte per month and a Datto managed service provider partner (MSP) will facilitate the relationship with the customer. Datto sells exclusively through  MSPs.

“We are trying to facilitate the health of the (SMB) ecosystem because it is critical to our businesses,” said Brooks Borcherding, Datto’s chief revenue officer. “We see file sync and share as a commodity market, yet it can be expensive for small businesses. Fifteen dollars a seat is quite expensive.

“We know we are going in to a commoditzed space, so it’s very competitive. We thought we could go into it in a disruptive fashion and make some noise.”

The Datto Drive, which became generally available May 2, is a full software as a service, multi-tenant offering that is managed on ownCloud so customers can connect and ingest files from other FSS vendors such as Dropbox and Box. Customers can access, control and manage files from any device. It supports the iPhone, Android, iPad, Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac.

Customers can choose between two models, that both include up to 5 TB of storage. The Datto Drive Business Edition. includes year-round support, and replicates between data centers and the cloud nodes for a tertiary-level of redundancy. The Professional edition allows MSPs to customize its logo.

Datto’s core business is backup and disaster recovery as a service.  It sells a hybrid backup appliance to SMBs for local backups and replication to the cloud.  The Norwalk, Conn.-based company has raised $100 million in total funding with international offices in the U.K, Australia and New Zealand.


May 12, 2016  10:49 AM

Quantum revenues sink, with upsurge predicted

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo
Data backup, Quantum, Scale-out Storage, StorNext

Like many storage vendors, Quantum’s revenue took a dip last quarter and for the full year. The backup and scale-out storage specialist predicts it will rally beginning this quarter, however, due to a  pickup in video-related storage systems.

Quantum’s total revenue of $120 million for last quarter was down from $147.8 the previous year. It was Quantum’s fourth fiscal quarter, and its revenue for the year of $476 million was down from $553 million the previous year.

Quantum lost $50.2 million last quarter and $74.7million for the year, mainly due to a $55.6 million goodwill impairment charge. Its non-GAAP loss for the year was $2.6 million and it had a non-GAAP profit of $6.5 million for last quarter.

Quantum’s traditional products are in data protection – tape and disk backup. But its scale-out storage is its fastest growing segment and was approximately 27% of its total revenue last year. The Quantum scale-out portfolio is driven by its StorNext  file system, which also powers its Artico NAS appliance and Xcellis workflow storage. Quantum CEO Jon Gacek said he expects that product line to rapidly grow to cover use cases such as video surveillance, media and entertainment, life sciences, and sensor-based Internet of Things applications.

Quantum’s $33.1 million in scale-out revenue was a four percent increase year-over-year, and the vendor forecasted higher growth this year. Scale-out revenue of $126.5 million for last year grew 23%year-over-year, and Quantum executives said they expect that to grow to around $175 million to $200 million of its total $500 million revenue for this fiscal year. The expectation is also for a modest increase in disk backup and declines in tape backup for an overall decline in data protection revenue.

CFO Fuad Ahmad said Quantum added around 110 new scale-out customers last quarter and approximately 460 for the year.

Scale-out revenue increased despite a $7 million drop in deals of $1 million or more.

“We delivered $120 million … with the scale-out not having its big growth quarter,” Gacek said Tuesday on the earnings call. “To do a sports analogy, we won the game, we covered the spread and our best player didn’t really play well. The best player in this case is scale-out and I just think the scale-out opportunity will be there for us. We’re super well teed up.”

Quantum’s tape automation revenue of $44.7 million last quarter was down from $61.4 million the previous year, and disk backup revenue of $18.1 million in the quarter fell $7.1 million from the previous year.

In an interview after the call, Gacek said the opportunities in scale-out storage are greater than in traditional storage markets. “The traditional storage side of the company is still feeling pressure, but it’s the scale-out storage I see growing – there’s a lot of video where performance and access are important,” he said.

Gacek said Quantum has pulled back its investment in DXi disk backup, a platform that it has aggressively upgraded over the years. “There’s modest growth there,” he said. “We don’t go out of our way to spend a lot of money on DXi. We will upgrade servers and storage and stay current with application support, as opposed to having the fastest deduplication engine.”

He added that backup and scale-out products are often combined into large deals, where customers start out looking for backup and end up adding archiving for unstructured data.

“A lot of challenges of unstructured data can be solved with archiving,” he said. “Why pay a bunch of backup licenses when you can archive it?”

May 5, 2016  9:15 AM

Gridstore chairman takes CEO reins

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

Gridstore chairman Nairman Teymourian took over as CEO today, with plans to install a utility services model for delivering hyper-convergence.

Teymourian has been Gridstore’s chairman since October. He replaces George Symons, who left soon after Teymorian joined and Gridstore closed a $19 million funding round in January. Teymourian had been general manager of Hewlett-Packard’s converged systems business for 20 months before becoming Gridstore’s chairman. He has also been CEO of Gale Technologies, Caspian Consulting, Prism Health Software and Software Reliability. All those companies were acquired by larger organizations.

But Teymourian said he plans to grow Gridstore by expanding its Microsoft Windows-based hyper-converged business.

“I believe the infrastructure market is going to be disrupted by hyper-convergence,” Teymourian said. “And we can disrupt the current hyper-covnerged players. I think the real value of hyper-convergence has yet to be delivered.”

The way to do that, he says, is through a pay-as-you-go model.

“Gridstore today has a very good product,” Teymourian said. “It’s a platform that is fully integrated with Microsoft. The value is it is simple, fast and inexpensive. It comes out of the box and delivers value fast. Our integration with Windows is unique. Plug us into a wall and we come up as a C drive in Windows. There’s no learning curve. And we’re all flash.

“But I think the world is moving towards a model where compute, network, storage and all physical hardware is going to be commoditized. Customers don’t want to buy hypervisors. What they want is that when the box arrives, they can pay for it when they use it.”

Teymourian said Gridstore will deliver hyper-convergence that costs about the same as storing data to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Gridstore will ship customers an appliance at no charge until the customer buys the Gridstore service that offers choices of hypervisor along with application, management and deployment options. “They can build a workload, deploy a workload and then with a single push of a button, they can move that workload into the public cloud,” he said. “Our plan is to support as many public clouds as possible. In a quarter or two, you’ll see a very different hyper-converged platform in the market.”

Gridstore will continue to support Windows and Hyper-V, but Teymourian said it will add support for KVM hypervisors and containers. Not VMware, though. “VMware has fundamental issues with its licensing,” he said. “People are getting tired of paying a VM tax. They want their hypervisors to be commoditized. Hype-V is free.”

Teymourian said customers will receive a Gridstore appliance and plug it into the network, but will only pay for when they use it with the software stack. He said Gridstore’s control plane can run in the cloud and customers can choose management options. They will also be able to run Gridstore as a “private cloud in a box that looks like the AWS model. Or it can be a managed service – the customer can say ‘I want to dial-up to the box wherever it is and pay for it.’”

He said the customer would not even know what hypervisor is running. Gridstore will also support bare metal hyper-converged deployments under the services option. Pricing would be set according to workloads, CPU cycles, number of VMs supported and other metrics.

May 4, 2016  2:25 PM

EMC goes Nitro with all-flash Isilon array

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

LAS VEGAS — EMC dropped a surprise at EMC World today by previewing an all-flash version of its Isilon clustered NAS system.

C.J. Desai, president of EMC’s Emerging Technologies Division, said “Project Nitro,” has been in the works for 18 months and is scheduled to go into beta in the second half of 2016 and begin shipping GA next year. Desai said the system will scale to 400 nodes, 100 PB of capacity and 1.5 TB per second of throughput. He described it as a “super super dense” system packed with 15 TB solid state drives.

EMC currently has four all-flash storage systems with the launch of the midrange Unity array this week. Unity joins VMAX All Flash, XtremIO and the DSSD D5 massive shared storage  system in EMC’s portfolio. Isilon will be the last of the vendor’s primary storage systems to go all-flash.

Nitro looms as a competitor to Pure Storage’s FlashBlade array for unstructured data, which was announced in March and is due to ship later this year.

May 3, 2016  5:47 PM

Commvault Systems posts second straight quarter of revenue gains

Sonia Lelii Sonia Lelii Profile: Sonia Lelii
Data protection

Data protection vendor Commvault Systems generated $159.6 million in revenues in the fourth quarter, hitting the second consecutive quarter of sequential growth after three quarters of declining revenues.

The company beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations by $2.47 million, with total revenues up by six percent year-over-year and two percent sequentially.

Brian Carolan, Commvault’s chief financial officer, said total revenues for the full fiscal year were about $595 million, which were a decrease of two percent compared to the 2015 fiscal year. Total revenues for fiscal 2016 were up three percent year-over-year. Software revenues for the fourth quarter 2016 were $73.3 million, up three percent sequentially and five percent year-over-year.

Revenue from enterprise deals, defined by Commvault as deals over $100,000 in software revenue, were 58% of total software revenue and the number of enterprise deals increased 13% sequentially.

“Our average enterprise deal size was approximately $272,000 during the current quarter, which was down 2 percent from approximately $278,000 in the third quarter 2016,” Carolan said.

Commvault’s net income was $16.6 million for the quarter and $42.4 million for the year.

President and CEO Bob Hammer attributed the growth to changes Commvault made during a two-year transition,  which brought about license revenue from new distribution partnerships with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco, Nutanix and Pure Storage.

The Commvault V11 Data Protection Platform, which was re-branded from Simpana and introduced last fall, is experiencing strong sales. The company added about 450 new customers this last quarter and revenue made via its deal with Arrow distributor was 38% of the company’s total revenue, a nine percent increase year-over-year and flat sequentially.

“The move to the cloud has become a major factor contributing  to our increased business momentum since Commvault solutions can holistically solve a broad range of critical new problems that customers are facing as they migrate to the cloud, manage data in private, hybrid and public clouds and deploy new hyper converged and big data infrastructures,” Hammer said.

The company is winning larger enterprise deals,  Hammer said.

“However, our ability to grow is more dependent on just big deals or the steady flow of $500,000 and $1 million-plus deals,” he said. “These deals have quarterly revenue and earnings risk due to their complexity and timing. Even with improved funnels, large closure rates may remain lumpy. We still face critical challenges. We need to expand the market visibility and understanding of the strategic value of Commvault’s V11 Data Platform and broader set of standalone products.”

CommVault Systems’ history is in data protection but it has been adding cloud data management as part of its core strategy. Hammer said cloud and software as a service (SaaS) vendors to not replace the need for the type of data management CommVault is offering.

“For example, replication data protection technologies from cloud and SaaS vendors do not replace the need for a backup copy for critical data needs such as compliance, legal and historical business analytics,” he said. “They do not provide the data and information capability to federate the management of data across silos of cloud, mobile, SaaS and new IT infrastructures.”

Hammer said Commvault will expand its Data Platform over the next six months or so, adding user self-service for managing cloud data, improvements for managing data created in the cloud, federated indexing, and intelligent search of online clouds and managed copies.

May 2, 2016  2:31 PM

Dell plus EMC equals Dell Technologies

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo
Dell, EMC, Storage

LAS VEGAS – Michael Dell today said his company will be called Dell Technologies after he completes his $67 billion acquisition of EMC. The EMC name will live on for the enterprise business, which will be called Dell EMC.

Dell revealed the name during his keynote address at EMC World 2016. He said Dell, EMC and its pieces, including VMware, Pivotal, Virtustream and RSA, and Dell’s recently spun off SecureWorks will all be part of a strategically aligned family of businesses. “As family names go, I’m kind of attached to Dell,” was his reason for calling the company Dell Technologies.

Dell used the keynote to try and convince attendees that EMC will be bigger and better after the acquisition. He said the deal will close “under the original terms and under the original timeframe.”  The deal is expected to close by October. The two major hurdles are regulatory approval in China and ratification from EMC’s shareholders.

Dell compared his company’s direction to Hewlett-Packard, which last year split the company into two. “Companies like HP are shrinking their way to success. Wait, you can’t shrink your way to success. That’s not a reality,” he said. “They’re separating their edge from their core.”

April 29, 2016  5:55 AM

Cinder still No. 1 OpenStack storage project, but Manila interest picks up

Carol Sliwa Carol Sliwa Profile: Carol Sliwa

Cinder still has the highest adoption rate among OpenStack storage projects, but interest in the nascent Manila file-share service is picking up, according to a 2016 user survey released this month by the OpenStack Foundation.

The survey showed that 57% of 290 deployers who answered the adoption question use OpenStack Cinder block storage in production, and another 26% are testing it. OpenStack Swift object storage was in production use at 32% of the deployments, with another 21% using it in test mode.

The emerging Manila shared file system had production deployments among only 3% of respondents and test usage at 8%. But Manila is generating lots of interest. Only the Magnum containers service (44%) and Designate DNS service (41%) generated more mentions than Manila (38%) among the 290 respondents who rated the OpenStack projects they’re most interested in.

“We’re starting to see a handful of big deployments move past the ‘kicking the tires’ phase and deploy Manila in production. The number of new users trying Manila is also more than I can count,” said Ben Swartzlander, the OpenStack Manila project team lead and a senior software engineer at NetApp.

The OpenStack Foundation’s volunteer survey generated responses from 1,603 community members representing 1,111 unique organizations and 405 user deployments. The IT industry dominated the survey pool, at 68%, following by telecommunications (14%), academic/research (9%), financial (2%) and film/media (2%). The number of users responding to specific questions varied.

The top priority for most respondents is saving money over alternative infrastructure choices, and the majority of deployments are in on-premise private clouds.

More than 75% of 256 respondents use between five and nine OpenStack projects. Looking at OpenStack storage, 20% of 312 respondents said they use the open source software in production for storage/backup/archiving purposes. Another 5% use it for development/quality assurance, and 3% are involved in proofs of concept.

The top Cinder driver in production use among 260 respondents was Ceph RBD followed by the default logical volume manager (LVM) for Linux (16%), NetApp (8%), NFS (5%), GlusterFS (5%), SolidFire (4%) and VMware VMDK (3%).

And there are some sizable Cinder block storage deployments. About 9% of 148 respondents have more than 1 PB, including . The Cinder breakdown for the rest was:

19% – 100 TB to 999 TB
38% – 10 TB to 99 TB
24% – 9 TB or less

Among the OpenStack Swift respondents, the breakdown was as follows:

4% – 1 PB to 99 PB
20% – 100 TB to 999 TB
25% – 10 TB to 99 TB
51% – 9 TB or less

Asked what kinds of data they plan to store on object storage in the next 12 months, the respondents said:

68% – backup/archiving
60% – Docker/container/VM images
58% – application data
32% – big data
3% – other

April 28, 2016  4:19 PM

FalconStor’s playing beat the clock with FreeStor

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo
FalconStor, Virtualization software

The bad news for FalconsStor is it lost $3.2 million last quarter. If there is good news, it’s that its new FreeStor software is picking up OEM and managed service provider (MSP) customers and selling way ahead of last year. But the really bad news is, the software vendor is down to $11.4 million in cash and needs to turn its fortunes around in a hurry to survive.

On Wednesday, FalconStor reported $7.4 million in revenue last quarter compared to $8.7 million a year ago and $9.4 million the last quarter of 2015. Executives blame the decrease on a sharp drop in sales of legacy products that were on the market before FreeStor.

CEO Gary Quinn said FalconStor sold three times as much FreeStor through MSPs last quarter than it did all of 2015, and enterprise subscription licensing in the quarter was nearly half of the 2015 total. FalconStor lists Volkswagen in Poland, Sunrise Communications in China and Petrofac in the U.K. among its FreeStor enterprise customers although most of the revenue has come from international MSPs such as Hitachi Systems in Japan, Blue Chip in the U.K. and LG CNS in South Korea. FreeStor OEMs include array vendors X-IO and Kaminario, backup appliance vendor Synerway and subsystems vendor Rorke Data, but that business relies on the partners’ success.

“There was a decline in our legacy business. Many storage companies are experiencing that now,” FalconStor CFO Lou Petrucelly said. “That’s not an excuse, but it’s the reality.”

Petrucelly admitted the financials must improve, but said “We feel confident that our new product can work, and that gives us the gas to move forward.”

FalconStor launched FreeStor storage virtualization and data protection software in February, 2015. The platform combines data migration, continuous availability, protection and recovery, and inline data deduplication. FalconStor added predictive analytics to FreeStor this month for capacity planning, service-level management and storage health monitoring.

Quinn said FalconStor’s internal forecast called for about $9 million to $10 million in revenue for the quarter, and it came up about because of around $1.5 million to $2 million of late orders. “We still have that business, it wasn’t lost,” Quinn said. “We would have been close to break even for the quarter. If we can bounce back [this quarter] and show positive cash results, that will go a long way towards saying we just hit a bump in the road or stepped in a hole.”

Quinn said the primary use cases so far for Freestor has been backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service. That gives FalconStor hope that FalconStor can pick up steam if businesses move to the cloud in droves.

Quinn said reaction to the technology has been good, but FalconStor is still battling reputation problems from several years back, especially in the United States.

“Our U.S. presence has been diminished, and a lot of that is due to the history of the company,” he said. “Something went on between FalconStor and the marketplace, and we just have had a difficult task getting traction.”

April 27, 2016  1:34 PM

Scality’s RING now pre-integrated with new Dell cloud storage system

Sonia Lelii Sonia Lelii Profile: Sonia Lelii

Dell and Scality recently added a highly dense, purpose-built cloud storage system that is pre-intergrated with the RING object storage software to their reseller product lineup.

The SD7000-S cloud storage system scales to 688TBs of raw storage in a 4U form factor or 6.9PBs of capacity in a single rank. The jointly engineered SD7000-S has two server nodes, with two Xeon E5-2650 v3 processors per node and a 10GbitE dual port network interface card. There are 90 hot-plug, 8TBs, 3.5-inch disk drives in the 4U enclosure.

The Scality RING can be deployed with three SD7000-S storage servers. The software provides multi-petabyte storage for unstructured data with a single distributed namespace across a single or multiple sites. It has access for file and object storage with optional OpenStack APIs.

The RING software uses a de-centralized distributed architecture, providing concurrent access to data stored on x86-based hardware. Ring’s core features include replication and erasure coding for data protection, auto-tiering and geographic redundancies inside a cluster.

Scality also has a reseller agreement with HP that became official in October 2014, with the Scality software running on HP Proliant Servers.  In August 2015, Scality scored its deal with Dell when it was added to the company’s Blue Thunder program that combines software-defined storage with Dell servers.

April 25, 2016  6:07 AM

Panzura enables ‘in-cloud NAS’ for Microsoft Azure

Carol Sliwa Carol Sliwa Profile: Carol Sliwa

Panzura’s Global File System (GFS) is certified to run in Microsoft Azure, giving customers a second “in-cloud NAS” option with a major cloud provider.

The GFS, running on Panzura’s Cloud Controller, has been available in Amazon since November 2013. But Barry Phillips, chief marketing officer at Panzura, said the company didn’t see Microsoft Azure object storage taking off from a storage perspective until last year.

“It went from not having many on Azure storage to having a large number on Azure storage,” he said.

Phillips said, under a typical scenario, customers move all of their unstructured file data into a public or private “cloud bucket.” Panzura caches the hot data on premises in a controller that runs in a physical appliance or a virtual machine. Panzura sells all-flash and hybrid cloud controller for on-premise use. Colder data that customers rarely use is stored in the cloud. Panzura supplies the global file system to interface to object storage such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, Google, EMC’s Atmos and IBM’s Cleversafe.

By enabling the Panzura Cloud Controller to run in Azure and Amazon, Panzura is giving customers the opportunity to use the same global file system on premises and in the public cloud. Customers also have the option to run their applications in Azure and Amazon and use Panzura as in-cloud NAS, with no on-premise file storage.

The Panzura Cloud Controller is available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

“We fundamentally believe going forward that as companies move to the cloud, being able to put all of their file system in the cloud itself whenever possible is something that they’ll be looking to do,” Phillips said. “Of course, if the distance to their office is too far from any cloud, then they can certainly run one of our on-premise cloud controllers.”

He said remote access of a file system over a long distance would be slow because of bandwidth and latency. But a customer could mix and match, with some branch offices running on-premise controllers while others have no on-site infrastructure and use only the in-cloud NAS, he said.

Phillips said customers also are able to mesh together file systems in Azure and in Amazon using the Panzura software. “It’s not an either/or with us,” he said.

Microsoft Azure operates data centers in 22 regions around the world. Locations include California, Texas, Illinois, Iowa and Virginia in the U.S.

“As more and more companies want to move their infrastructure into the cloud but still have on-premise performance, then having those data centers in the middle of the U.S. is helpful,” Phillips said.

The Panzura Cloud Controller provides capabilities such as global file locking, to enable users to work with applications built for local use over a wide area network (WAN), global snapshots, deduplication and compression, and security for data at rest and in transit between controllers and the cloud.

“Our customers essentially have Panzura controllers and a cloud bucket. That is all,” Phillips said. He said workflow, operational expenses, and maintenance of backup and archive go away, because cloud providers such as Amazon store multiple copies of the data and can withstand two data centers going down.


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