DriveScale Adds Flash Storage To Its Mix

DriveScale, developer of a software-composable infrastructure that connects raw, high-performance storage to servers via Ethernet networking and allocates capacity as needed, has added flash storage to its mix.

With the addition of flash storage technology, DriveScale's SCI for Flash targets cloud-native applications including big data and NoSQL databases, said Gene Banman, CEO of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor.

DriveScale's software connects storage to servers over Ethernet, and assigns storage to the servers based n customer requirements, Banman told CRN.

[Related: 19 Flash Storage Products Heating Up The Storage Market]

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"It constructs clusters in the data center in real-time out of commodity equipment," he said. "Customers don't need to over-provision capacity. They can add resources as needed."

DriveScale SCI has been available for a couple of years, but the increased deployment of 100-Gbit Ethernet became the enabling technology to add all-flash storage to either the commodity servers or to the company's EBOF, or Ethernet Box of Flash, appliances, Banman said.

The typical target of the DriveScale SCI for Flash technology is customers building something like a 50-node Cassandra cluster, or clusters for NoSQL, Spark, or containers, he said.

"It's not the right choice for virtual machines, or for hyper-converged infrastructure," he said. "Traditional relational databases or ERP are not the right workloads for it. Vertica and Greenplum are OK. But it's really targeted at NoSQL for real-time transactions."

The DriveScale SCI for Flash is focused on flexibility and performance, and not on the types of storage services expected for enterprise applications, Banman said.

"We don't include RAID, snapshots, dedupe, or so on," he said. "But workloads like Cassandra don't expect those services. We focused on web-scale transaction processing."

DriveScale has a 100-percent channel focus, with a direct sales force that helps partners create demand or do proofs of concept, Banman said. It uses Ingram Micro's Promark as a distributor, and is available to partners via Dell EMC's price list, in addition to several solution providers, he said.

One of those partners, River Point Technology, sees a gap in the industry between traditional storage technology and the kind of technology optimized for modern workloads, said Jeff Eiben, executive vice president of business development of the Pittsburg-based solution provider and DriveScale channel partner.

"When VMware came to market, in the early days it pushed people from the physical world to the virtual world," Eiben told CRN. "Today, you go with something like Hadoop, and it's the opposite problem. Traditional infrastructures either have too much compute or too much storage. Hyper-converged infrastructure is too expensive. DriveScale filled that gap."

When DriveScale first came to market, it was "elephant hunting" with a focus on Hadoop, Eiben said.

"So we initially went with DriveScale to where the Hadoop bodies were buried," he said. "But more recently, we've added Spark and NoSQL. We've been getting a lot of traction with customers who find the cloud expensive but who want the flexibility of the cloud."

By adding all-flash storage as an option, DriveScale takes the last objections off the table, Eiben said.

"As more and more real-time workloads come on-line, the performance requirements are important," he said. "It maintains the flexibility value proposition, but brings in new opportunities. Commodity nodes are not expensive, so DriveScale helps with the cost equation as well as with flexibility."