Interview: Nexenta Seeks to Do Away with MESS

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Software defined storage is the newest wave in storage technology as organizations look to virtualize their infrastructure  and have it delivered as a service. Nexenta defines the old-school way of doing things as Massively Expensive Storage Systems (MESS) and makes an excellent case for approaching storage in this new, revolutionary manner. We sat down with Thomas Cornely, Product Management at Nexenta, to learn more.


Thomas Cornely

insideBIGDATA: Please tell me a bit about software-defined storage (SDS). What separates it from traditional storage solutions?

Thomas Cornely: Software defined storage is a fundamental component of software defined data centers – the next step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing. In its simplest form, Software Defined Storage is about leveraging software only solutions to address storage challenges, from vendor lock-in, cost, performance, security, scale and manageability. A complete SDS portfolio enables customers to both optimize existing infrastructure and fully replace legacy configurations with industry standard hardware powered by software.

insideBIGDATA: How does Nexenta set itself apart in this burgeoning space?

Thomas Cornely: Nexenta effectively delivered SDS solutions years before the term was coined. With a full portfolio, 5,000 customers and close to 1 Exabyte under management, we have accumulated a lot of experience deploying software to solve storage challenges. Most vendors that place themselves in the SDS category are still fundamentally in the hardware business. We refer to these storage hardware vendors as MESS – Massively Expensive Storage Systems. Nexenta and our software defined storage approach puts an end to MESS and helps companies put a flexible and affordable storage solution in place that can scale with the customer’s growing data needs.

insideBIGDATA: This is game-changing technology. What kind of customers should be paying attention here?

Thomas Cornely: Really any company that is struggling with the cost of storing ever-larger amounts of data. We regularly see customers reducing costs by 50% or more for their Tier 2 and Tier 3 environments, without compromising on features and reliability. For example, we are seeing a great deal of momentum in media/entertainment and cloud services. For example, Nexenta helped Framestore, a British visual effects company well known for their contributions to Harry Potter, Avatar and most recently Gravity motion pictures, manage petabytes of mission-critical data across three data centers. Customers deploying VDI are also good prospects for our SDS solutions. We can help customers dramatically drive down the cost per desktop, in shared storage and converged infrastructure configurations.

insideBIGDATA: What is the Big Data angle here for Nexenta? Do you see Nexenta playing a bigger role in the world of Big Data going forward? If so, how?

Thomas Cornely: Yes, we’re very much focusing on software defined storage requirements for Big Data repositories and Big Data platforms. The vast majority of our cloud service provider customers currently leverage NexentaStor and its cost efficiencies to serve unstructured data to virtual compute infrastructures, supporting all types of workloads, including virtualized bid data analytics. Looking ahead, Nexenta is investing in a next generation scale out object storage platform that will support native access APIs for Hadoop and other Big Data platforms, in converged infrastructure configurations.

insideBIGDATA: Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share with us?

Thomas Cornely: Nexenta was brought in to Spike Lee’s new movie project through Daystrom Technologies. With as much as 2.8TB of raw video shot each day, disk capacity needed to be added to Daystrom’s NexentaStor-based data store as shooting progressed. Nexenta’s NexentaStor had been chosen to deploy Network Attached Storage (NAS) because of its ability to easily and inexpensively add capacity when needed. In addition, NexentaStor plus LTO backups, which utilized the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), delivered as close to a bulletproof media management system as Daystrom could get.

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