IT infrastructure is changing across many fronts. It began when storage area networks (SAN) replaced local hard disk drives (HDD) / Direct-attached storage (DAS) to offer shared storage and high availability. Then compute virtualization proved that efficient software and powerful compute power could reduce the amount of physical servers managed by IT, while providing new capabilities such as high reliability and load balancing.
Yet one common problem that companies still have with IT infrastructure is the need to reduce spending. Although compute virtualization made a dramatic impact on IT compute costs and operations, it did not improve IT spending on centralized storage such as SAN. This trend, coupled with increased storage needs, created an anomaly where storage costs on many applications reached 30 percent or more from the total cost of ownership, resulting in unattractive return on investments to IT managers. Some of these applications such as VDI and high performance database operations see delayed deployment decisions, extending the problem further.
Another trend in IT storage is the increased use of solid state drives (SSD) for I/O intensive applications such as database processing. Using flash PCIe cards is a common method for delivering high-performance storage capabilities to the application. However, PCIe cards are unable to share storage across servers and lack high availability—just like DAS HDD in the early days of IT.
What IT needs is a new solution for storage:
- A lower, more appropriate and proportional cost alternative to the centralized SAN;
- A method of sharing PCIe’s flash capacity among multiple servers; and
- Elasticity and convergence that realize cost and agility advantages as demonstrated in a large scale by the Amazon EBS service.
We believe ScaleIO ECS is the solution addressing these requirements – a highly scalable architecture that:
- Lowers general SAN costs by as much as 80% or more;
- Converges DAS and compute platforms to a single, high performance virtual SAN (higher performance than traditional SAN!);
- Provides a distributed architecture that enables unprecedented elasticity; and
- Supports growth to hundreds and thousands of applications servers.
The virtualized SAN idea is not new, but the trends presented make it the right solution to new IT storage requirements. The ScaleIO engineering team has worldwide experts in developing storage systems, and early ScaleIO ECS software deployments showed impressive performance and scalability. The time is right for virtual storage, which is why ScaleIO today announced that it has raised $12 million from Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Greylock IL Partners and private investors. There is no better team bringing this technology to market.