GreyBeards talk all-flash storage with Vaughn Stewart, Chief Technical Evangelist Pure Storage

Welcome to our 12th monthly episode where we return to discussing all-flash storage arrays, this time with Vaughn Stewart, Chief Technical Evangelist for Pure Storage. This our third all-flash storage array vendor that the GreyBeards have talked with since the start of the podcast, not counting server side flash and scale-out/hybrid storage systems.

Vaughn has had a long and illustrious carreer in the storage business most recently prior to joining Pure, at NetApp in product strategy and marketing. Pure Storage seems to have disrupted the normal economics of Flash storage and as a result have seen success in the marketplace.

This month’s episode comes in at a little over 48 minutes long. 

In this podcast we discuss how Pure Storage is changing the economics of Flash storage, primarily through 5 forms of data reduction, some of which are unique to Pure Storage. Their storage solution is block storage, targeting tier 1 applications needing higher IOPS and with the consistent low response time of Flash at the economics of high performing disk storage.

Vaughn provides a good rational as to why we haven’t seen any Pure Storage SPC-1/SPC-2 benchmarks, mainly because SPC will not audit storage that uses data reduction.  Sometime in the podcast we have a good discussion on scale-out vs. scale-up solutions for block storage.

I would have to say that Vaughn is one of the more articulate storage geeks the GreyBeards have come across. We seem to take off on a number of tangents, not the least of which is all the innovation going on in storage these days, where Cisco may go, and where it will all end up,  but we try hard to bring it back to product technology.  Listen to podcast to learn more.

Vaughn Stewart, Chief Evangelist, Pure Storage

Vaughn Stewart is the Chief Technical Evangelist at Pure Storage, where he shares his perspective on the emergence and capabilities of a flash-powered economy. Prior to joining the ‘flash revolution’ he spent 13 years in technical and marketing leadership roles at NetApp where he led the virtualization and cloud strategy and was awarded a US patent. Vaughn strives to simplify the technically complex and advocates to think outside of the box.

You can find his thoughts on the role of storage with cloud computing and big data online and in print. He publishes his blog, ‘The Pure Storage Guy’, has authored a number of books including his latest is “Virtualization Changes Everything: Storage Strategies for VMware vSphere & Cloud Computing” and is a frequent guest on various online mediums.

 

 

GreyBeards talk hyper-convergence with Jason Collier, CTO & Co-founder Scale Computing

Welcome to our 11th monthly episode where we return to discussing hyper converged systems, this time with Jason Collier, CTO and Co-Founder Scale Computing. The GreyBeards haven’t talked with an hyper converged system vendor since our 1st episode and we had talked with Scale Computing and Jason at Storage Field Day 5 (SFD5) a couple of months ago. Jason is a blast to talk with so it seemed like a good time to talk with him.

Jason started out in the IT end of this business helping to scale a Web 2.0 company transactions almost 300X with architectural innovations.   Scale Computing originally came out as clustered, scale out storage but their intent all along was to provide hyper converged systems which include storage, networking, compute and virtualization under one and the same system and UI. When they came out with the full solution they dropped their standalone, scale out storage offering.

This month’s episode comes in at around 42 minutes long. 

In this podcast we discuss the “true meaning” of hyper converged systems and how this differs from most of the rest of the industry’s converged system architectures.  They are targeting their solution to the SMB and mid-range marketplace.  Scale Computing offers a fully bundled solution, hardware and software for one fee, which includes all the server virtualization software.  As an example, a 3-node entry level cluster, using 1000 series nodes, only costs $25K MSRP. The GreyBeards go a little deep into how they do storage but it’s not as deep as some prior talks.  Nonetheless, Jason’s a gas to talk with and Howard and I really enjoyed talking again with him. The talk seemed to last only 10 minutes or so but when I looked at the clock we were already out of time. For some reason I never got around to asking Jason why his Twitter id is @bocanuts.  Listen to podcast to learn more.

If your interested in more of in-depth, deep dive on their technology the Greybeards would suggest you view the set of videos from Scale Computing’s SFD5 (link above) sessions.

Jason Collier, CTO and Co-founder Scale Computing

Jason Collier 2

As a founder and Chief Technology Officer, Jason is responsible for the technology vision of the company. Previously, Jason was VP of Technical Operations at Corvigo where he oversaw sales engineering, technical support, internal IT and datacenter operations. Prior to Corvigo, Jason was VP of Information Technology and Infrastructure at Radiate. There he architected and oversaw the deployment of the entire Radiate ad-network infrastructure, scaling it from under one million transactions per month when he started to more than 300 million at its peak. 

Greybeards talk all-flash arrays with Dave Wright, CEO and founder of SolidFire

Welcome to our eight episode where we discuss all-flash storage with Dave Wright, CEO and founder of SolidFire. The Greybeards  just talked with Dave at the SDDC14  and Storage Field Day 5 in San Jose, CA last month.

In this podcast, we learn a lot about SolidFire and other storage arrays from a leading light in the all-flash storage industry. Dave seems to have been around a lot longer than his years and has worked extensively in the cloud gaming and service provider industries. All of which gives him a unique perspective on the needs of storage today.

This months episode comes in at just under 40 minutes. 

We had a wide ranging talk about the virtues of SolidFire’s scale-out, deduplicating Tier 1 & 2 storage, detour into flash technology and the problems benchmarking data reducing, all-flash arrays, and end up with a lengthy discussion on SolidFire’s QoS.

However, If you want to learn about Dave’s technical musings on all-flash architectures, the Greybeards suggest viewing his great video sessions at Storage Field Day 5. Dave did a presentation where he explains the inner workings of SolidFire and some of the other, competitive all-flash storage systems on the market today. The Greybeards seldom find CEO’s with this level of technical understanding of their own product, let alone the competition.

Somewhere during all this Ray learned yet another new acronym, listen to the podcast to learn more…

DaveWright_SF_portraits-16Dave Wright, CEO and founder SolidFire

Dave Wright, SolidFire CEO and founder, left Stanford in 1998 to help start GameSpy Industries, a leader in online videogame media, technology, and software. While at GameSpy, Dave led the team that created a backend infrastructure powering thousands of games and millions of gamers. GameSpy merged with IGN Entertainment in 2004 to create one of the largest Internet gaming & entertainment media companies. Dave served as Chief Architect for IGN and lead technology integration with FIM / MySpace after IGN was acquired by NewsCorp in 2005.

In 2007 Dave founded Jungle Disk, a pioneer and early leader in cloud-based storage and backup solutions for consumers and businesses. Jungle Disk was acquired by leading cloud provider Rackspace in 2008 and Dave worked closely with the Rackspace Cloud division to build a cloud platform supporting tens of thousands of customers. In December 2009 Dave left Rackspace to start SolidFire.  Dave leads the team at SolidFire in the creation of the only storage architecture built specifically to guarantee true Quality of Service (QoS) in a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure.

 

GreyBeards talk scale-out storage with Coho Data CTO/Co-founder, Andy Warfield

Welcome to our fifth episode. We return now to an in-depth technical discussion of leading edge storage systems, this time with Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-founder of Coho Data. Coho Data supplies VMware scale-out storage solutions with PCIe SSDs and disk storage using the NFS protocol. Howard and I talked with Andy and Coho Data at Storage Field Day 4 last November but we thought he was so interesting, he deserved a second conversation.

This months podcast comes in at a little over 40 minutes. I apologize for the occasional poor sound quality. I used WiFi while recording the call while recuperating from foot surgery. Hopefully, next month I will be back to my normal office and using LAN.

Andy comes at storage from a stint at XenSource and Citrix Systems and sees many parallels between server virtualization and storage. In the case of servers, CPUs had become so powerful that in order to take advantage of all that speed you needed to run multiple independent workloads using a non-intrusive hypervisor to coordinate it all. In storage, the case can be made that PCIe SSDs can now supply more IOPS and throughput than most single application can possibly use and the way to take effective advantage of that performance is to support multiple IO workloads using a non-intrusive storage hyper/supervisor to coordinate it all. For Coho Data, all IO lands on PCIe SSD first and then is only migrated to Disk if it’s cold enough not to warrant flash residency.

The other interesting thing about Coho Data was their inclusion of an OpenFlow SDN switch in their scale-out storage system. They use SDN switching to help implement the NFS presentation layer,  balance IO workload across different nodes and direct IO to an appropriate node.

Although, I may have made mention of using 8″ floppies to gather data from storage systems in the old days, contrary to popular myth I never played frisbee with them.

Listen to the podcast to learn more…

Andrew Warfield, CTO/Co-founder Coho Data


Andy is an established researcher in computer systems, specializing in storage, virtualization, and security. At Coho Data, Andy leads the technology vision and directs the engineering team in building elegant and functional systems that enable customers to focus on the data and applications instead of the underlying infrastructure that drives them. As a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, he was one of the original authors of the Xen hypervisor, and has since done award-winning research in virtualization and high availability. At XenSource and Citrix Systems, he was the Technical Director for Storage & Emerging Technologies.