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VMblog Expert Interview: Gerardo Dada Talks Object Storage and the DataCore Acquisition of Caringo

DataCore Interview 

DataCore Software, the authority on software-defined storage, just announced that it has acquired Caringo, Inc., a pioneer in the object storage market.  Caringo was founded in 2005 to change the economics of storage by designing software to solve the issues associated with relentless data growth.  

To better understand that acquisition and what's happening with object storage, VMblog spoke with industry expert and DataCore Chief Marketing Officer, Gerardo Dada.

VMblog:  Why did DataCore decide to acquire Caringo?  What will the acquisition bring to DataCore?  And can you discuss how the acquisition of Caringo further accelerates the DataCore ONE vision?

Gerardo Dada:  In the past few years, the need to store large amounts of data has increased more than ever: everyone is doing more backups, privacy and compliance are raising the bar on how to store business documents, and every company has more images, videos, and archives.  Object storage is clearly the most efficient way to store petabytes of data. The acquisition of Caringo is ultimately about giving customers the power to enjoy the benefits of software-defined technologies across block, file, and object - from one vendor.

Strategically, it is about furthering the DataCore ONE vision: to break silos and hardware dependencies and unify the storage industry-enabling IT to make storage smarter, more effective, and easier to manage. We already had best-of-breed solutions for block and file with our SANsymphony and vFilO products, but object was the missing piece. We did a thorough evaluation of the available technologies and found that Swarm was the most mature and complete product out there.

VMblog:  The lines between object and file are blurring.  Why launch an object store now when many file systems have object interfaces?

Dada:  There is a saying that if you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail to you. Something like that happens in this industry. Vendors who have one product will try to solve all problems by stretching the capabilities of one technology.  

We believe every technology has strengths and weaknesses. It's like being an athlete: there are some who can run a marathon or a 100m sprint, but no one is a world champion at both. Either you can train for resistance or you can train for burst speed.

File systems are designed for transactional speed, local network access, and optimizing performance for the number of files that can be delivered in one second. Object storage is designed to manage geo-independent objects that can be very large and accessed via a web protocol - performance in object is about throughput.

Many file systems have object gateways or access interfaces and vice-versa. This does not turn a file system into an object system, instead, this is often done so an application that has been coded to use an interface can work with a particular storage technology, and it assumes that the inherent characteristics of such storage system are adequate for the workload in question.

To make things even more interesting, we have vFilO, which acts as the orchestrator or the traffic cop, which can move data from file to object and can act as a virtualization layer above both, providing a unified, hybrid namespace and optimizing data placement.

VMblog:  With public cloud vendors offering inexpensive object storage, why should companies consider on-premises object stores?

Dada:  There are three reasons: the first one is economic. Analysts and industry experts agree that on-premises object storage can be one third of the cost of object storage in the public cloud. In addition, leading services like AWS S3 charge a number of additional fees for data egress, tiering, and other functions - all this adds cost, complexity and difficulty in forecasting budgets.

The second reason is that the public cloud is not the answer for everything. Many companies have found that their own datacenters continue to be better value, especially when considering governance (compliance, data sovereignty, etc.), security, and control.

The third reason is that a best-in-class on-prem object system may offer capabilities that do not exist in the public cloud. For example, the ability to deliver data with very high throughput, utilization of existing resources, content services (classification, indexing and search) - or the ability to efficiently modify a small part of a large object without having to read and re-write the entire object itself.

It is important to note that these benefits are especially true for companies that have a need for the scale that object has been designed for - usually above 100TBs of data. Organizations who need less than that may be better served through public cloud services.

VMblog:  How will Caringo's product line exist within DataCore's current portfolio?  And what benefit will this provide to DataCore reseller partners?

Dada:  Caringo's product line is very complementary to our existing portfolio. Most medium and large enterprises have a need for file and object and will benefit from buying both systems from one company under a common license and a single support contract.

Swarm is really aligned with the rest of our product portfolio. It delivers on the same software-defined value: hardware independence, flexibility, high availability, storage efficiency, and high performance. It simply does the same but for object storage.

Adding Swarm has particular synergies with vFilOTM which is a next-generation distributed file and object storage virtualization technology and allows users to define policies that determine when a file should be moved from an NFS or SMB system to Swarm object storage. The user namespace is maintained so the file is still available for users. In addition, most customers who have a need for vFilO and/or Swarm are likely also running business-critical primary applications that run on block storage and are perfect candidates to get more performance, availability, and flexibility from SANsymphonyTM software.

The Swarm object storage product will exist alongside these two proven solutions and round out the DataCore SDS portfolio. This will enable our resellers to offer a complete solution for block, file, and object from a single supplier.

VMblog:  What are the most common use cases for object storage?

Dada:  As a cloud technology, object storage has been optimal for media, large files, and low-cost archive. However, today those use cases have evolved. Here are a few where we are likely to focus:

  • Content storage and streaming, especially media files
  • Media post-production and editing
  • Compliant and secure storage of medical, financial, and other records
  • High-performance computing, especially when dealing with massive data sets
  • Storing backup images, snapshots, VDI images, and other data replicas
  • Archival of files that are not likely to be accessed soon
  • Primary storage for large files that must be available globally

VMblog:  The press release notes that the acquisition news comes on the heels of a strong 2020 close for DataCore.  Can you please provide more details on this?

Dada:  Yes, we are extremely grateful and proud that DataCore completed 2020 on a high note.  The company is consistently adding well over 100 new customers per quarter and saw double-digit (YoY) growth in capacity sold and customer expansion in Q4 of 2020. We have been profitable for over a decade, which is something most of our competitors cannot say.

We also added multiple key executives in the last year including Kevin Thimble, CFO and Geoff Danheiser, chief people officer.

We also opened a new, modern office, our HQ in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and a new Research & Development center in Bangalore, India - which already has about 30 people - and complements our R&D centers in Bulgaria and Florida. We are also combining our Austin offices, where we have room to grow. The upgraded executive team, expanded geographical resources, and expanded product portfolio position DataCore to accelerate adoption of software-defined technologies in 2021.

VMblog:  As we wrap this up, is there anything else that you would like to add?

Dada:  These are exciting times. The IT industry is in a stage where it has realized the future of storage is software-defined, and analysts expect most storage systems deployed in the near future to be software-defined.

We are in a really good position to capitalize on this trend, as the authority on software-defined storage, and as the only company who has a best-in-class portfolio for block, file, and object. This is good news for the channel - VARs and xSPs, who can get the best of these technologies from one vendor who is 100% committed to the channel. It is also good news for customers, because it simplifies and accelerates their path to a more modern, more flexible datacenter.

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Published Thursday, January 28, 2021 7:45 AM by David Marshall
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