A couple of startup funding announcements caught my eye yesterday, and when I looked a little further I found them both intriguing – but maybe not for the reasons investors would like.
is focused on the Server-Storage Performance Gap, which hasn’t been top-of-mind with too many folks I know. Gear6 is being coy about their product – announcement due in October – but after some snooping around I’m pretty confident about the outlines.
Their solution is a honking-fast Linux-based parallel MIMD FC-SAN non-blocking I/O NAS appliance designed to handle hundreds of thousands of concurrent I/O’s from large numbers of servers, clustered or not. Designed to be highly scalable, you’ll be able to add processors and network interconnects just as you would in any cluster or grid. They don’t seem to have any custom hardware, preferring to use very smart software, such as the CxC parallel computing language, on commodity clustered servers and interconnects.
So it could be very cool. Commodity hardware, smart software, really scalable. The first Google-like infrastructure product for the enterprise?
On the other hand, they could definitely use some help putting together a more compelling story. The Server-Storage Performance Gap began about two weeks after the disk drive was invented. We’ve survived it this long because data is getting cooler, RAM is getting cheaper and software is getting smarter.
And, of course, there’s the problem of actually making it work: scalable, high-performance cluster apps are very hard. My heart is with the Gear6 folks and I hope they do well; my head needs more data.
Njini: Tag, You’re It
Njini seems to be a meta-data extension product not terribly different than what Abrevity has been doing for a couple of years. The theory is that by adding meta-data to a file at or near creation time, you can do all sorts of money and time saving things, like reducing the number of stored copies or managing the IT investment in the data over time. Njini has several apps that use the extended meta-data for management.
It’s a good theory. While tagging might be seen as an alternative to search, I think they are complementary. I just don’t know what will stop extended meta-data from being built into filesystems, as it has with Mac OS X HFS+. That could take years, so Njini has some runway. In the long run, tagging is a feature.
In the short run it could be a good business. Good luck, Njini.
You’ve gotta love njini.
I have. Since I first heard about it in 2005.
The njini approach is the way to the Storage “Wave of the Future”.
Only time wil tell if njini is there for the long run. My guess is they will
be bought by a really big fish soon.
With regard to the Gear6 approach…
The end result is the same for the Gear6 approach and one using
Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs. The difference is scalability and the way
the I/O bandwidth is flexed.
Adding, or removing, an SFF PC can be as simple as turning it on or off,
or adding it to or taking it off-network.
At the Enterprise level, the real difference is server class motherboards versus SFF PC “workstation” class motherboards for I/O performance.
In the Triangle of Unobtainium the choices are any two of the three
corners of the triangle. Those corners are:
Today “Fast and Cheap” is considered “Good enough (the 80% solution)”.
The SFF PC solution looks pretty good using a less than $100 for an SFF
PC motherboard delivering RISC Workstation I/O perfomance.
Think of this as the “I/O Swarm”. This would be in support of the “Storage
Now if I can only find some COTS Manageware?