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Vexata is thinking outside the box.
The NVMe all-flash array vendor is sampling VX-Cloud Data Acceleration Platform reference architecture with major server vendors. The hardware design combines the Vexata VX-OS storage operating system on standard hardware platforms. General availability is expected later this year.
The Vexata flagship storage product is the VX-100 Scalable NVMe Flash Array VX-OS orchestration creates a separation layer between the control plane and data plane to allow parallel access between SSDs.
For VX-Cloud, Vexata modified the VX-OS software to run on Xilinx field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) embedded on controllers. The product is designed to appeal to enterprises, hyper-scale data centers and managed cloud providers.
The FPGA hardware accelerates clones, encryption, and other data services. Vexata claims VX-Cloud server-side flash performance equivalent to its branded arrays.
“Right now, our software runs only inside our VX-100 hardware clients. We made some enhancements to allow it to run on FPGAs inside standard servers to accelerate IO. We can give very good performance using standard servers,” ” said Rick Walsworth, Vexata’s vice president of product and solutions marketing.
VX-Cloud systems are in direct availability with server partners. Early design wins include Fujitsu Primergy and Supermicro BigTwin servers. Fujitsu and Vexata in January forged a partnership to sell targeted NVMe AI storage for Oracle, SAP and VMware. Walsworth said
The NVMe transport allows devices to access flash storage across a PCIe bus. Industry observers expect NVMe storage to gradually replace the older SCSI protocol for message commands between a host and storage.
Vexata is jockeying with fellow NVMe hardware startups Apeiron Data Systems, E8 Storage and Pavilion Data. Those vendors sell storage systems that exclusively used NVMe U.2 SSDs, all based on white-box servers. Another startup, Excelero, provides a software-defined NVMe mesh that virtualizes NVMe block devices as a pooled resource.
Major vendors Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Nimble Storage, IBM, NetApp and Pure Storage are shipping all-flash arrays that support both NVMe media and traditional SAS and SATA SSDs.
Walsworth said VX-Cloud systems allow a data center to scale block and file storage across multiple racks. Licensing will be based on consumed storage under management. “We are trying to move more towards an open systems model where customers can provide their own hardware to run our software on top of it.”