What’s next for Nexenta

We talked with Nexenta at Storage Field Day 6 where they discussed their current and future software defined storage solutions. I highly encourage you to see the SFD6 videos of their sessions if you want to learn more about them.

Nexenta was an earlier adopter of software defined storage and have recently signed with Solinea to support Nexenta under OpenStack CINDER block storage. Nexenta is based on ZFS and supports inline deduplication and advanced performance functionality.

NexentaStor™

NexentaStor™ is there base storage software and comes as a download in both an Enterprise edition and Community edition. NexentaStor can run on most industry standard, x86 server platforms.

  • The Community edition supports up to 18TB and uses DAS and/or SAS connected storage to supply NFS and SMB file services.
  • The Enterprise edition extends capacity into the PB and supports FC and iSCSI block storage services as well as file services. The Enterprise edition supports plugins for HA solutions and storage replication.

Nexenta mentioned that they had over 6500 customers for NexentaStor of which 1500 are cloud service providers. But they have a whole lot more to offer than just NexentaStor including NexentaConnect™ and coming soon, NexentaEdge™ and NexentaFusion™.

NexentaConnect™

NexentaConnect software works with VMware or Citrix solutions to provide advanced storage services, such as file services, IO acceleration, and storage automation/analytics. There are three products in the NexentaConnect family:

  • NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN – by combining NexentaConnect together with VMware Virtual SAN software and DAS or SAS storage one can offer NFS and SMB/CIFS file services.  Prior to NexentaConnect, VMware Virtual SAN storage only provided VMware dedicated SAN storage, but now that same infrastructure can be used for any NFS or SMB/CIFS file system storage.
  • NexentaConnect for VMware Horizon – by combining NexentaConnect with VMware Horizon and DAS plus local SSD storage, one can provide accelerated virtual desktop IO with state of the art write logging, inline deduplication, and GUI based storage automation/analytics.
  • NexentaConnect for Citrix XenDesktop (in Beta now) by combining NexentaConnect with Citrix XenDesktop software and DAS plus local SSD storage, one can accelerate XenDesktop IO and ease the management of XenDesktop storage.

Nexenta has teamed up with Dell to offer Dell-Nexenta (and VMware) storage solution using NexentaConnect and VMware Virtual SAN software on Dell hardware.

NexentaEdge™

They spent a lot of time on NexentaEdge and what they plan to offer is a software defined object storage solution. Most object storage systems on the market either started as software only or currently support a software only version. But Nexenta is the first to come at it from a file services heritage that I know of.

NexentaEdge will offer iSCSI services as well as standard object storage services such as Amazon S3 and OpenStack SWIFT. Their solution splits up objects into chunks and replicates/distributes the object chunks across their software defined (object) storage cluster.

Cluster communications uses UDP (not TCP) and so has less overhead. NexentaEdge cluster communications uses their own Replicast protocol to send messages and data out across the cluster. .

They designed NexentaEdge to be able to support Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR) disks which are very dense storage but occasionally have to go “away” while they perform  garbage collection/re-organization. I did two posts about SMR disks a while back (see Shingled magnetic recording disks and Sequential-only disk for more information on SMR).

I have to admit I had a BIG problem with support for iSCSI over eventually consistent storage. I don’t see how this can be used to support ACID database requests but I suppose Nexenta would argue that anyone using object storage for ACID database IO needs to have their head examined.

NexentaFusion™

Although this was not discussed as much, NexentaFusion is another future offering supplying software defined storage analytics and orchestration automation. They intent is to use NexentaFusion with NexentaStor, NexentaConnect and/or NexentaEdge. As you scale up your Nexenta storage cluster, automation/orchestration and storage analytics starts to become a more pressing need. According to Nexenta’s website NexentaFusion 1.0 will support multi-tennant storage monitoring and real time storage analytics while NexentaFusion 2.0 will supportstorage provisioning and orchestration.

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Nexenta provided Converse all-star shoes to all the participants as well as pens and notebooks. I had to admit I liked the look of the new tennis shoes but my wife and kids thought I was crazy.

Different views on Nexenta from the other SFD6 bloggers can be found below:

SFD6 – Day 2 – Nexenta from PenguinPunk (Dan Firth, @PenguinPunk)

Nexenta – Back in da house by Nigel Poulton (@NigelPoulton)

Sorry Nexenta, but I don’t get it … and questions arise by Juku (Enrico Signoretti, @ESignoretti)

Day 2 at SFD6: Nexenta by Absolutely Windows (John Obeto, @JohnObeto)

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