Virtualization Technology News and Information
VMblog Expert Interview: Gerardo Dada of DataCore Talks About DataCore ONE and the Future for Storage Infrastructure


VMblog actively covers technologies centered around software-defined storage (SDS) in enterprise data centers, the cloud and edge computing.  And we recently had a fantastic sit down with an industry expert to talk about what's happening in these sectors.  Here is part of that conversation with Gerardo Dada, CMO of DataCore.

VMblog:  Tell us about DataCore ONE.  What is your vision for the future of storage infrastructure?

Gerardo A. Dada:  The storage industry has been slow to adopt virtualization, relative to networking, compute, and even security. The industry is still deep in a hardware-centric mindset that locks IT departments to vendors, technologies, and architectures. Yet, the technology is here to give IT the flexibility and freedom they crave while improving performance and availability.

DataCore ONE is our company vision for a storage industry that embraces software-defined storage (SDS) to make storage smarter, more effective, and easier to manage, and allows IT to be ready for the future.

Because virtualization abstracts hardware completely, we believe SDS has the power to manage, optimize and simplify all kinds of storage: primary, secondary and backup/archive -all under one platform that provides consistent services across different classes of storage, and managed under one predictive analytics dashboard.

With DataCore ONE, all storage technologies will be supported consistently, regardless of vendor or architecture, and can be deployed on new or existing servers, turn-key appliances or in the cloud. SDS gives IT the power to make storage better and be ready for the future. 

In a way, DataCore ONE is a call to modernize storage by taking advantage of the power of SDS today.

VMblog:  That seems like a long-term vision?  How long until it becomes a reality?

Dada:  DataCore ONE is a long-term vision for the industry as a whole, but in reality, the majority of this vision is a reality today. 

On July 9, we announced a number of new components to take the first strides forward. These include the availability of DataCoreTM Insight Services (DIS), a cloud-based predictive analytics engine; DataCoreTM HCI-Flex, a flexible hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliance; subscription-based licensing; as well as numerous enhancements to our existing software-defined storage technology.

We designed DIS to achieve to achieve maximum efficiency from the power of data by transforming it into information and actionable insights, which can be leveraged to deliver proactive optimization. Rather than the traditional process of experts sifting through logs, performance counters, etc. in order to determine what requires attention, DIS uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to leverage the collective knowledge base of DataCore engineering, our world-class customer support team, and robust partner community in order to automatically detect patterns and anomalies.

The HCI-Flex appliance combines the flexibility of SDS with the simplicity of HCI. When deployed, it provides the ability to pool and manage both internal and external storage systems. HCI is simply a deployment option for us. When you look at HCI from an SDS perspective, you can scale compute and storage independently based on their specific business needs and you can integrate HCI with your existing system, plus migration can be fully automated. Its flexible deployment model helps to eliminate silos and vendor lock-in so customers can make the transition to hyperconverged infrastructure on their own terms with confidence.

We released our new subscription-based payment model for organizations looking to reduce capital expenditures. Perpetual or subscription licenses can be chosen, both including support and software updates, and are based on capacity.

VMblog:  Why do you think the market is ready to embrace software-defined storage in the data center and at the edge?  What are the issues driving it?  And what is hindering this evolution?

Dada:  Much of the industry continues to be guided by hardware vendors, who prefer to have customers locked in to proprietary systems. Across technologies, as much as IT wants to standardize on one vendor and one technology, the reality is that most organizations are still running assorted technologies on diverse equipment from different vendors, and that usually results in having multiple storage silos, and being forced to follow hardware vendor guidelines to scale and refresh systems, which usually is very expensive.

It is almost 2020; we went to the moon 50 years ago and we think that storage should be smarter by now-it's time to embrace SDS in the data center and at the edge in order to get a smarter, more powerful, and more flexible storage platform that puts IT in control, not the vendors.

With our new appliance, we made it simple to deploy a two-node, highly available, high performance cluster in a remote office, while still giving IT full control of how they scale, connect, or migrate. It's about flexibility. It's your infrastructure-do whatever you want, not what a hardware vendor wants.

SDS gives IT a higher level of confidence and predictability in how to modernize their infrastructure, so they can adapt to their changing business needs and technological innovations of the future.

What is hindering this evolution is the practice of following mainstream technology, using the ‘cool vendor' everyone uses because it is safe, and honestly, a resistance to change and evolve because IT often has to focus on what is urgent and not on what is important for the long term. To an extent, SDS sounds too good to be true, so naturally IT is skeptical. But the technology is proven, and it's real. The time is now.

VMblog:  There are plenty of appliances in the market, why would there be a need for another one?

Dada:  If we look at the genesis of HCI, it is a technology focused on hardware packaging: put storage, compute, and networking in one box. In reality, the networking paradigm is the same, and companies want to use the same virtualization technology (hypervisors, management consoles, etc.) they have been using for some time, so the value really is in storage.

HCI has been great for specific workloads like video surveillance, ROBO, and VDI. It has delivered simplicity, and a modular approach at scaling. But it also has created silos. Once you embrace the HCI paradigm, the answer to almost every question is to add more nodes, which is expensive.

The industry is clearly moving to disaggregated HCI (which sounds like un-converged hyper-converged, right?), which simply means it is modular and simple, but at the same time it can integrate with existing systems. Our HCI-Flex appliance can scale storage independently of compute by connecting to external storage. Further, it can also present storage form a node to an external host. In addition, it is easy to migrate storage to an HCI node or from an HCI node to a SAN, for example.

While the majority of HCI vendors require starting off with a minimum three-node configuration for high availability, and even more for higher replication numbers, with DataCore HCI-Flex, customers only need two nodes to achieve high availability, using our proven, high-performance, zero-downtime synchronous mirroring.

Then there is performance: we hold the SPC World Record for price performance because of our patented technologies like Parallel I/O and advanced caching. We believe our appliance will out-perform anything in its class, and deliver higher VM density, which also means lower cost. Additionally, we probably are the only vendor who offers the option of fibre-channel, which has a significant performance advantage over iSCSI.

In the end, we go back to the same benefits: an SDS approach to HCI provides flexibility and control.

VMblog:  And finally, what's been the response of DataCore's channel partners to DataCore ONE?  What's the benefit for them?

Dada:  We've had a very positive reaction from our channel partners following the DataCore ONE announcement. Our new components and functionalities allow them to sell the SDS software as they always have been able to, but in addition, they can sell the HCI-Flex appliances as well, providing them with more choices and flexibility than ever before.

Additionally, our new subscription-based pricing model and competitive pricing provides channel partners with more opportunities for ongoing revenue as the licensing can be turned into an operational cost, rather than a larger investment that needs to be capitalized and amortized over time. The DIS analytics services allows our service-oriented partners to be more proactive in managing their customers' infrastructure.

Finally, while our software-defined storage technology has always been comprehensive and feature-rich, we've heard from partners that it was somewhat complex to use. With our latest enhancements, we've simplified both deployment and operation with increased automation and straightforward procedures, added a web console, and improved UI - substantially reducing the time and level of expertise our partners require in order to get customers up and running.

In other words, DataCore ONE gives our partners a vision to help customers adopt SDS in a way that gives them flexibility and control while delivering performance and high availability. The partners that work with DataCore have more opportunities to help their customers and be a trusted advisor that brings useful technology that makes a significant positive difference in their IT environments.

Published Tuesday, August 20, 2019 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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