It was obvious in 2006 that Google’s clean-sheet GFS would revolutionize massive storage. The problem has been taking Google’s concepts and scaling them down to less than warehouse scale.

A number of companies have tried – Nutanix is probably the latest – and there’s a new entrant. StorPool offers distributed block storage designed to be efficient at handling common business requirements for VMs, containers and bulk storage. StorPool_logo.png

StorageMojo spoke to founders Boyan Ivanov and Boyan Krosnov a couple of weeks ago about what they are shipping today. To achieve that StorPool has done some things differently.

  • StorPool started with a clean sheet and has rebuilt the entire storage stack.
  • Own on-disk format.
  • End-to-end data integrity with 64-bit checksums for each storage sector.
  • No metadata servers to slow down operations.
  • Changes to TCP to improve network efficiency.
  • Applications can be run on the storage servers is it uses only 10-15% of system CPU and RAM.

Of course, they also did things others have done because they work.

  • Shared nothing architecture for maximum scalability.
  • In-service rolling upgrades.
  • Snapshots, clones, thin provisioning, QoS, rolling software upgrades, synchronous replication.
  • SSDs support for performance.
  • Runs on commodity hardware.

On a small system of 6 servers, 12 SSDs, 30 hard drives and 10GigE network they’ve measured 2700MBs/1500MBs sequential read/write. Random 4k reads 170,000 IOPS and 66,000 IOPS on writes.

Resources reserved for the storage system – total across 6 servers: 48 GB RAM; and 12 CPU cores.

Thanks to the shared-nothing architecture performance increases are essentially linear as you add servers, SSDs and disks.

No fancy GUIs here. If you aren’t comfortable with the command line and a JSON API you’d best move on.

There’s a short but detailed video demo on YouTube.

StorPool offers flexible acquisition options. You can buy a perpetual license or a month-to-month license. They have a free trial as well.

A nice wrinkle: pricing is mostly based on the number of disks, and only partly their capacity. So load up on the new 8TB drives.

The StorageMojo take
StorPool isn’t trying to be all things to all people. Simply economical, good-performance scale-out bulk storage with the flexibility to be used as an array or a converged infrastructure.

StorPool is currently targeting service providers, cloud vendors and enterprises. If you like your hardware vendor but want more flexible storage, StorPool may be just the ticket.

What’s sobering is that while GFS is over 10 years old, we’re only now getting to the point where enterprises are embracing modern storage technology. That’s good news for StorPool and this market because it means most of the growth is still ahead of them.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Update: I got some details wrong in the 1st draft of this post. They’veve been corrected above. Sorry! End update.