Sanbolic Intros Melio5 Software For Making High-End Storage from Entry Hardware

Data management and protection software vendor Sanbolic this week unveiled an enhanced version of its Melio software that the company said allows customers to turn commodity hardware into scalable, hybrid flash-hard-drive storage solutions.

The new version 5 of the Melio software, named Melio5, allows customers to develop a data management and application management platform that is infrastructure-agnostic, said Momchil "Memo" Michailov, co-founder and CEO of the Waltham, Mass.-based software developer.

The increasing adoption of public clouds has service providers looking more and more to commodity hardware for developing storage platforms, Michailov said.

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"We now enable customers to use the same commodity server, hard drive and flash storage to run their cloud across physical and virtualized environments with any hypervisor or cloud," he said.

Large public cloud providers like Facebook and Google have already proven that commodity server and storage hardware with their 20 percent to 30 percent margins can compete well with more well-known hardware from larger vendors, which come with 60 percent margins, Michailov said.

"Legacy storage vendors are breaking customer economics," he said. "That's verified by public cloud vendors who provide services using commodity hardware."

Using Melio5, solution providers can start with an IBM 3630 dual-processor server with 48 GBs of memory and 24 TBs of hard drive, and add a 2-TB flash memory card and the software to get a 26-TB node with a cost of about $33,600 that provides 850,000 IOs per second (IOPS) of storage performance, Michailov explained.

Up to 2,048 such nodes can be connected together in a solution that, in theory, scales to 18 exabytes of capacity, he said.

"We provide linear scale-out," he said. "With three servers, you get three times the capacity and three times the performance. And you can scale the number of servers or the capacity independently. For more performance, add nodes. For more capacity, add hard drives. For more performance, add SSDs."

Adding Melio5 to commodity hardware enables the storage nodes to not only scale out, but to be configured with RAID levels 0 through 60 while providing advanced snapshot capabilities, quality-of-service guarantees for particular files or workloads, replication, and the ability to tier storage volumes across flash, SSD and hard-drive storage, Michailov said.

NEXT: Melio5 And The Competition

Michailov compared Sanbolic's offering to the flash storage adapters offered by several vendors, including EMC and Fusion-io, and said such alternatives offer limited, if any, RAID protection and fail to offer scalability of the flash storage.

He also criticized the all-flash storage array strategies of companies such as EMC, NetApp and others because they leverage legacy storage infrastructures instead of taking advantage of commodity hardware.

"To create all-flash arrays using the same infrastructures they currently offer doesn't make sense," he said. "EMC and NetApp recently introduced all-flash arrays scheduled to ship in early 2014, and we're not even out of the first quarter of 2013 yet. And they promise only 300,000 IOPS."

Melio5 is currently available. The company uses a 100 percent indirect model via such North American distributors, including Tech Data and the Hyve Solutions division of Synnex.