ScaleIO Pockets $12M To Turn Servers Into Virtual SANs7:30 PM EST Tue. Dec. 04, 2012
ScaleIO on Tuesday came out of stealth mode with its Elastic Converged Storage (ECS) technology it said eliminates the need for a SAN by tying together the storage capacity of multiple servers.
ECS also disclosed an initial round of investment in the company of $12 million from a number of institutional and private investors, including funding from Frank Slootman, CEO of ServiceNow and the former CEO of Data Domain, now a part of EMC.
ScaleIO's ECS technology builds a scalable file system from thousands of servers in a data center, including both existing and newly-purchased servers, said Boaz Palgi, CEO of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.
ScaleIO ECS does so without the need for a company to either hire specialized storage administrators or add to the workload of existing server administration people, Palgi said.
"Customers either have existing servers, or new servers," he said. "They don't need to buy HBAs [host bus adaptors], switches or a SAN, but instead build a virtual SAN based on the same servers they choose to run their business applications. The can just run our software alongside the application on the server and create a SAN out of thin air."
The ScaleIO ECS software allows performance of that virtual SAN to increase as more servers are added, while capacity can be increased by adding more hard drives to the servers, Palgi said. "Customers can also decrease capacity," he said. "And they can do this all on the fly."
While ScaleIO is just coming out of stealth mode, the company already has paying customers, including SAP, Palgi said. About 90 percent of the company's business is direct, but that is typical for a startup, he said. Palgi said channel partners will be a growing part of the business going forward.
Palgi gave a couple of use cases where solution providers and service providers could take advantage of the ScaleIO ECS technology.
Customers with a heavily virtualized server environment typically lose some of the flexibility and benefits of virtualization when a SAN is added, he said. "We let customers add something like VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] using their servers with local disks," he said. "ScaleIO scales the storage as needed."
NEXT: Other Use Cases, And A Price Comparison, With ScaleIO ECS
In another example, SAP, which is a production customer, ties its HANA in-memory database technology with ScaleIO to provide high-performance storage with a simplified infrastructure, ScaleIO's Palgi said.
In a third use case, service providers can use ScaleIO ECS to build a service that competes against the Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) cloud service for block-based storage and actually makes a profit, he said.
Elastic IO, in combination with customers' servers, can result in huge cost savings versus implementing a SAN, Palgi said.
For instance, a 400-TB SAN might cost between $2,500 and $4,000 per TB. And even at the lower end of the scale, by the time the customer has added the HBAs, the SAN infrastructure and certified SAN administrators, at the very least they have invested $2 million in the SAN, he said.
With ScaleIO, the customer can use the standard hard drives in existing servers, which might cost about $40,000 for 400 TB. On top of that, the customer might pay $1,000 per TB for the ScaleIO technology. With reseller margins, the total for a 400-TB SAN using ScaleIO might on the outside be $700,000, but could be much less, Palgi said.
ScaleIO ECS is currently available for sale and implementation.
PUBLISHED DEC. 4, 2012