StorSimple Intros Hybrid SSD-SATA-Cloud Storage


Storage startup StorSimple this week unveiled a channel program for partners interested in its new technology, which integrates SSD, SATA and cloud storage and runs Microsoft applications on the cloud.

The company, which just last month unveiled its first product, will use a 100 percent indirect sales channel model to generate business, said Bill Cordero, vice president of channels and sales for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based storage vendor.

StorSimple, which was founded about a year ago by former Brocade and Cisco executives, offers a family of hybrid storage appliances that includes an iSCSI controller, local storage capacity on SSDs and SATA hard drives, and connection to a storage cloud.

The company’s primary intellectual property is its Weighted Storage Layout, or WSL, which is pronounced like “whistle,” Cordero said.

WSL was designed to take advantage of the fact that only about 10 percent of a customer’s data is accessed within seven days. That portion of data, called the working set, is stored on SSDs for high-speed access, with the nonworking set is stored on SATA hard drives or a storage cloud, Cordero said.

The company’s hybrid appliance also allows several Microsoft applications to actually run on a cloud, he said. “Our unique play is no one else has the ability to host applications like Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange to the cloud,” he said.

The appliance also includes 10-Gbps Ethernet for high-speed performance, as well as in-line deduplication. The deduplication keeps the metadata for the customer data on the SSD and uses pointers to the duplicate data stored in the cloud, Cordero said.

StorSimple already has signed contracts with five public storage clouds, including Microsoft Azure, EMC Atmos, Iron Mountain Digital Services, Amazon S3 and ATT Synaptic Storage, Cordero said.

Beta customers have typically started out working with local storage while testing the cloud storage, and then gradually moving more of their data to the cloud, Cordero said.

“We’re seeing a nice blend of SATA hard drives and the cloud,” he said. “We are not forcing customers to choose one. We are not forcing the cloud down anyone's throat.”

The appliances are expected to ship in late August or early September, and will be available in three models.

The entry-level model will have a single controller, two SSDs and 10 TBs of usable storage capacity after deduplication and compression. The second model has two controllers, 25 TBs of usable capacity and four SSDs. At the high end, the appliance has 50 TBs of usable capacity and eight SSDs. Each SSD has a raw capacity of 128 GB.

StorSimple plans to work directly with solution providers to reach out to customers but may work with distributors for specific vertical customers such as state and local government, Cordero said.

Solution providers should have Microsoft application experience, and ideally will also have a good storage base. StorSimple plans to work with a limited number of partners in each geography, Cordero said.