Amazon and Google have demonstrated commercially – as have a number of research projects such as Microsoft’s Boxwood – it is possible to build highly available storage out of commodity servers. The odd thing is that, AFAIK, there is no commercially supported open source software for people to try.

Hadoop hews too close to the Google model for most commercial applications. Lustre has a lot of great technology and the management complexity to back it up.

Where are the VC’s?
There are a number of venture-backed OSS companies. XENsource in virtualization. Vyatta in routing. But nothing in storage. I can’t figure out why.

Is there no demand?
I’m trying to think through the issues. I see a few possibilities:

  • No VC believes OSS storage clusters are usable in commercial operations.
  • No VC believes glass house IT will use them.
  • VCs believe the big guys, like Sun, will own the market.
  • No VC is smart enough to see the market. Storage arrays are only about $30 billion a year. Who could build a business on that?

None of those explanations are very satisfying. What do you think?

The StorageMojo take
It’s a mystery. OSS + commodity hardware = new value prop. A company devoted to developing and supporting that software would seem to be a natural. And yet – no such company.

Comments welcome, especially on this topic. What would it take for your company to use OSS storage? Where would you use it? Would you buy support for it?