Graybeards talk hyper-convergence with Kelly Murphy, Founder & CTO, Gridstore

In our 14th podcast we return to hyper converged systems and talk with Kelly Murphy, Founder and CTO of  GridStore. Gridstore is a startup supplying hyper-coverged systems for Microsoft (Hyper-V) virtualization environments. Howard and I had a chance to talk with Gridstore at SFD4, just about a year ago.

Gridstore has recently added an all-flash version of their hyper-converged systems to their hybrid and pure SATA storage lineup. Howard, in a recent post, wrote about how all-flash hyper-converged systems make as much sense as chocolate covered pickles. It just so happens that within a month of writing the post, there two hyper-converged vendors announced all-flash nodes. Kelly responds well to Howard’s critique of the idea.

Howard apparently has a mischievous side, as sometime in the past he blew-up a  Gridstore node to test its fault tolerance. The video went viral and made Howard a YouTube star.

In the podcast, we get into Erasure coding, EVO RAIL pricing vs. cost, and why Hyper-V and not VMware to name just a few of the topics covered.  At the end of the podcast there’s a nice bit about how Gridstore came about and it involves disposable motherboards? Listen to the podcast to learn more…

This months episode comes in at a little more than 48 minutes.

Kelly Murphy, Founder & CTO
Kelly Murphy

Kelly Murphy, Founder and CTO, Gridstore

As a serial entrepreneur with a track record of bringing disruptive technologies to market, Kelly Murphy brings 15 years CEO experience with disruptive venture backed software companies. In 1998, almost a decade before the cloud became popular, Murphy founded Marrakech, the first software company that offered on-demand procurement and supply chain systems to over 30,000 trading partners including some of the world’s largest retailers, consumer food producers, packaging companies and utilities.

After selling Marrakech in 2007, he turned his sights onto what was his largest obstacle in growing his previous business — storage. In 2009, Murphy founded Gridstore — a pioneer of software-defined storage that is set to disrupt the traditional storage industry. Currently, he serves on Gridstore’s Board of Directors and is also the Chief Technology Officer.

Originally from Canada, Murphy obtained his BS in Computer Science from Michigan Technological University, played Division I hockey and was the seventh pick of the New York Islanders in the 1984 entry draft.

GreyBeards talk edge-core filers with Ron Bianchini, President & CEO Avere Systems

Welcome to our 13th podcast where we talk edge filers with Ron Bianchini, President and CEO of Avere Systems. Avere has been around the industry for quite awhile now and has always provided superior performance acceleration for backend NAS filers. But with their latest version, they now offer that same sort of performance acceleration for public cloud and object storage systems as well.

Ron has had quite a long history in the IT world. He was the CEO of Spinnaker Networks prior to NetApp’s acquisition which was used as the progenitor for FAS Cluster Mode services. He also worked for another startup and was a university professor before that. The second former professor on our podcast.

Avere Systems started out as an attempt to take NAS in another direction, this time performance at the edge with capacity filers at the core. That promise is now being taken to object store and public cloud storage as well.

This months episode comes in at a little more than 44 minutes.

We start our discussion with a short history of Avere Systems. It was originally targeted to offer an edge-core NAS solution where the Avere appliance supplied performance optimization and the NAS backend storage offered capacity optimization.

You may recall that originally there were a lot of edge-core NAS solutions on the market at one time but Avere has outlasted them all. One secret to Avere’s success was that they construct a virtualization layer with their own file system on top of backend NAS storage. This allowed them to offer unique capabilities such as Global name space, non-disruptive migration and disaster recovery but it also ultimately made it much easier for them to offer the same functionality for object storage and public cloud services.

Ron can talk NAS performance with the best of them and he shows us how Avere performs so well, even with relatively slow object and public cloud storage behind them. The Greybeards were duly impressed with Avere’s last quarter SPECsfs submissions (see Ray’s June SPECsfs2008 dispatch for more) with object storage (Cleversafe & Amplidata) and public cloud (Amazon’s Flash Storage) backends. Listen to the podcast to learn more.

Ron Bianchini

Ron Bianchini, Jr. President & CEO Avere Systems

As president and chief executive officer of Avere Systems, co-founder Ron Bianchini has a long record of accomplishment in building and leading successful companies that deliver breakthrough technologies. Prior to Avere, Ron was a senior vice president at NetApp, where he served as the leader of the NetApp Pittsburgh Technology Center. Before NetApp, he was CEO and co-founder of Spinnaker Networks, which developed the Storage Grid architecture acquired by NetApp. Ron also served as vice president of product architecture of FORE Systems, where he was responsible for ATM products. Previously, he co-founded Scalable Networks [acquired by FORE], which designed and implemented a large-scale Gigabit Ethernet switch, and earlier in his career, he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ron received an S.B. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He also holds numerous patents in fault-tolerant distributed systems and high-speed network design and has published extensively in technical journals.

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 Eric Herzog, CMO and SVP Alliances at Violin Memory Systems

Welcome to our 10th monthly episode where we return to discussing all-flash storage arrays, this time with Eric Herzog, CMO and SVP Alliances for Violin Memory. The GreyBeards haven’t talked with an all-flash array vendor for a couple of months now and it seemed a good time to return.

Eric’s claims to be a fellow Greybeard (even though he doesn’t have a beard) because he has been in the storage industry for over 29 years and has been at 7 startups and 2 of the largest storage companies in the world most recently EMC and previously IBM. Eric moved from EMC to Violin just four months ago and has been out talking about Violin Memory’s latest Concerto software functionality release.

This month’s episode comes in at around 49 minutes long. Very sorry for the length but Eric was a hard man to interrupt once he got going (need to work on that) and seemed to come more well prepared than our typical guest.

In this podcast we discuss the two current Violin Memory all-flash arrays, why there’s more to data storage than $/GB, flash’s economic tipping points, Eric’s view on how the world of storage will evolve, and how big companies can learn to adapt better  Somewhere in all of that, there was some pretty good insight on how companies can save lots of money ($Bs) and even make more money ($100Ms) by using all-flash arrays although the rest of us may not like the later that much. Howard called Violin the Drag Racer of storage, listen to the podcast to find out more …

Eric Herzog, CMO and SVP Alliances


Eric Herzog has over 29 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience in the storage software, storage hardware, and storage solutions markets. Prior to joining Violin, Herzog was Senior Vice President of Marketing for EMC’s Enterprise & Mid-range Systems Division. Before joining EMC, he was vice president of marketing and sales at Tarmin Technologies. Herzog has also held vice president business line management and vice president of marketing positions at IBM’s Storage Technology Division and Maxtor (acquired by Seagate). Herzog has held vice president positions in marketing, sales, operations, and acting-CFO roles at Asempra (acquired by BakBone Software), ArioData Networks (acquired by Xyratex), Topio (acquired by Network Appliance), Zambeel, and Streamlogic.