Settling in at the Intersection of Flash & Cloud

Today I’m proud to announce I’m joining SolidFire! In my new role I will be helping our customers and development teams create the best cloud solutions by integrating SolidFire with VMware, OpenStack, and CloudStack products. As somebody who has been around both traditional Enterprise virtualization and cloud computing for a number of years I wanted to share a few trends that I see in the industry and why I believe SolidFire is such a great fit.

 Simply put, cloud service providers (or an Enterprise that runs their IT like a service provider) are demanding more from their storage than what is offered from traditional scale-up array architectures. Even within the all-flash array market, features such as inline deduplication/compression and encryption at rest are commodity features. It’s time to start thinking bigger. Let’s look at a few examples.

 The Move to Scale-Out Architecture – I think this graph says it best. As more applications and tenants are added to an array, scale-up architectures (even All Flash) hit a wall when they bump up against performance and/or capacity thresholds. True Scale-Out designs, especially in a shared storage infrastructure where consistent performance matters, shouldn’t force their customers to choose between Best-Effort-as-a-Service or Just-Throw-More-IOPS-At-It-as-a-Service.

 SolidFire has an underlying architecture that is unique in the market today. Features such Helix Data ProtectionGuaranteed QoS, Performance Virtualization (decoupling capacity and performance away from the hardware), & Balanced Load Distribution provide a solid foundation for scalably supporting thousands of applications from a single cluster and management interface.

It’s About More Than Going Fast – With the release of Element OS 6 the first thing I noticed was the latest version didn’t focus on Flash technology at all. Been there, done that. The focus was on solving common issues around backup and disaster recovery we all face in data center operations today. What good is an array if you can’t replicate the data somewhere? What good is an array if you can’t easily perform backup and restore operations? SolidFire has changed the All Flash game by offering array-to-array replication at no cost AND the ability to backup and restore from S3 and Swift based Object storage. How cool is that?!

Integration with Industry Leading IaaS products – SolidFire is the only all-flash storage array that offers plug-ins to OpenStackVMware, and CloudStack. We have dedicated development teams that not only contribute code but also provide thought leadership (OpenStack Cinder PTL & CloudStack PMC members are SolidFire employees) into how to better integrate block storage into IaaS projects and products. Want to provision storage AND assign QoS to a volume from within the IaaS interface? We can do that.

Operations Scalability Through Automation – Every management feature in a SolidFire array can be accessed through our REST API or web GUI (built entirely on the Element OS API of course). This means easy integration into just about any existing operations workflow is possible allowing greater flexibility and scalability while consuming less time and resources.

In summary, as the IT industry shifts from the classic monolithic and static operational models into the new era of dynamic, agile workflows of cloud computing, it’s time to look beyond traditional storage hardware architectures and consider products that are built from the ground up for the next generation of applications and operations.

If any of this interests you I will be at the following industry events over the next few weeks and would love to talk more about all the creative ways we are helping customers.

– Aaron Delp, Cloud Architect

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