Tim Massey, CEOThe dominance of legacy vendors in the storage industry through the years has made it challenging for businesses to deliver innovative storage solutions from the ground-up. Though there are many companies that offer software defined storage solutions, customers face difficulties due to the generally expensive prices and ‘error-prone’ support offered. This means that in reality, there are very few options available right now that can help customers understand and mitigate the limitations of legacy storage solutions. Recognising this challenge, California-based SoftIron brings to the table a myriad of solutions that help its’ clients fix the storage question by offering customizable software-defined storage solutions. “At SoftIron, we offer a zero-risk approach to storage, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We are out to fix storage by turning the market upside down,” says Tim Massey, CEO of SoftIron.
With its deep domain knowledge, SoftIron has developed a high-performance solution to optimize the entire storage system. SoftIron’s flagship system, HyperDrive, is according to Massey, a product of innovation and has been built for new storage deployments in the modern data center without the need of a vendor lock-in. HyperDrive ships with optimized storage server hardware, and is pre-installed with Ceph, a leading open source, distributed scale-out platform. It is a system architected explicitly for Ceph, and is optimized at every level of the technology stack. The object storage scales out with extreme ease. In fact, the cluster gets faster and more resilient with size.
With the explosion of data currently being seen by enterprises and cloud providers, upwards of 40 percent per year, it is on the verge of becoming unmanageable. Software defined storage is a way to manage this rapid growth and Ceph is becoming the dominant software solution. When asked why the company chose to build an appliance on top of Ceph, Massey explains that SoftIron believes Ceph will be the ultimate winner in software defined storage. Just as Linux dominates operating systems and is in every data center today, so too will Ceph.
By standardizing on an open protocol like Ceph, data center operators are able to buy appliances from any vendor that supports the protocol. Therefore, they are not locked-in to any hardware nor any software vendor.
Expecting generic servers to deliver a great storage solution is a fallacy
Power has become a huge constraint in the modern data center with many providers only able to support 7-10kW of power per rack. This provides SoftIron with a unique opportunity to capture the market with its low power appliances. Running at 100W per 1U appliance, HyperDrive is able to support 56Tb of all-flash SSD media, or 120Tb of traditional spinning media within the power footprint. For end users this means that they are able to fill the entire rack and utilize all the square footage of their data center without blowing through their power ceiling. Low power is made possible without sacrificing performance. In fact, all of SoftIron’s products run at wire-speed on Ethernet at 10 and 25 Gbps today, with faster speeds on the way.
Massey explains SoftIron is seeing commercial wins based on the metrics that customers genuinely care about: performance, low power and pricing. Once a customer has decided they want a software defined storage solution, SoftIron’s innovative product and subscription model become very convincing. Hardware and software aside, SoftIron’s ‘Zero Risk’ proposition is a particularly compelling, 3-pronged promise: no commitment, or a pay-as-you-go subscription model, freedom from vendor lock-in and a complete one-vendor-solution. This model eliminates a lot of the traditional pain points for organizations looking to implement changes in their data centre and is proving to be a winning formula for the organization.