UPDATED 12:30 EDT / NOVEMBER 16 2016


Zadara looks to Intel SSDs to boost software-defined storage | #theCUBE

While cloud technology has been the biggest development in IT infrastructure for nearly a decade, larger companies have been slow to adopt the service delivery model for storage. The main reason is the existing legacy storage infrastructure in which companies have already invested and installed. Companies are reluctant to remove and replace legacy shared storage infrastructure, particularly in those cases where applications use customized storage topology or when anticipated returns from storage investments have yet to been realized.

As such, there is a strong need for technology that will include and manage a company’s existing shared storage infrastructure, in conjunction with software-defined and hyper-converged infrastructure models. This technology must be available to work with storage infrastructure both on-prem and in a public cloud, without sacrificing performance or resiliency.

To meet these needs, Zadara Storage formed a strategic relationship with Intel, putting Zadara’s software-defined storage for enterprise storage as a service, and wrapping it around a number of hardware building blocks from Intel. This is a single, integrated package from Intel, encompassing the SSDs for non-volatile memory, and includes the servers, networking components and the Intel processors.

Noam Shendar, COO at Zadara Storage, and Bill Leszinske, director of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Intel’s NVM Solutions Group, recently spoke to Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), co-host of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team. They discussed the implications of the new partnership for both companies, the advantages of solid state drives and the choice between on-prem or the cloud.

New growth leads to a new alliance

To meet customer demand for cloud tools, Zadara has crafted highly integrated solutions across all the top infrastructure providers, including Google, Amazon AWS, IBM and Microsoft Azure. Zadara’s recent very rapid growth made it necessary to gain even more efficiencies, leading the company to add Intel to its list of partners. Zadara is looking to Intel’s SSDs to help meet customer demand for usage-based rate plans for its cloud offerings.

Regarding the advantages of this partnership for Intel, Leszinske said, “Working with Zadara, we’re helping them to scale their business, because it is very innovative, from a software-defined storage standpoint; whether on-prem or in the cloud, the customer can make that decision, on the fly.” He explained that customers have the ability to move their data back and forth, from on-prem or on the cloud, based on what works best for them.

Another customer consideration is capital expenditures (CapEx), which encompasses on-prem storage, where the customer has purchased equipment, versus operating expenditures (OpEx), which includes cloud storage, where the customer buys only the service. This choice can affect the balance sheet of a company. In general, OpEx is considered more attractive to companies, as the equipment purchase and subsequent depreciation does not “drag down” the company’s balance sheet over a period of time.

The advantage of SSD-based storage services

Leszinske also explained that part of Zadara’s new services is moving from traditional hard drives to solid state drives-based services for the same level of pricing. Customers will receive much more benefit and value, for the same price, highlighting the value of moving to SSD. SSD inherently provides more storage on equivalent areas, with higher density, better reliability, lower power and a huge increase in performance. This lowers customer’s OpEx bill, making it more efficient and more attractive to customers.

Part of what makes SSDs more efficient is that there are no moving parts. Traditional hard disk drives use a mechanical arm that moves around and reads information from a spinning platter. In addition, SSDs use non-volatile memory so that when the memory is turned off, the drive will not “forget” what was stored.

For example, WalMart recently switched from a hard-drive based solution for its analytics to SSDs. The increased efficiencies allowed it to more quickly figure out which delivery trucks went where. So rather than deliveries finishing at five in the morning, they could finish at three in the morning. That meant fewer trucks, because they did not have to dispatch as many trucks in order to restock all of the shelves in WalMart stores.

The need for flexible storage is not going down anytime soon

The data center business is growing at Intel. There is an increased emphasis on data center-based applications, whether that is in a cloud or private data center. Leszinske agreed, and brought up the data needs of the Internet of Things.

“As all of these devices get connected — be it a car or your PC or your phone — [they] are generating more and more data that gets moved up into the cloud. That drives cloud growth, allowing you to get scale on efficiency, optimize algorithms and then improve the devices,” said Leszinske. These connected platforms will lead to a cycle of growth and will continue to drive Intel forward.

Shendar agreed and said, “The beauty of software-defined, for us, is the ability to serve our customers and react to their needs.” He explained that Zadara likes to contrast ‘software-defined’ with ‘hardware-bound.’ When a customer has hardware-bound storage, if they want it to do something new, it may take two to three years until that functionality is available. With software-defined storage, Zadara can deliver new functionality to customers within weeks, and that speed has accelerated even more with the introduction of their container services, called ZCS; it allows customers to run their own arbitrary code inside a dock or container inside the storage.

With Zadara’s solution, customers can buy or order what they need, and if their needs change, it’s not a problem. They can increase or decrease the usage, they can go from on-prem to the cloud or back, with no penalty and no difficulty.

There are Zadara systems in place at Google, MS Azure and AWS, so if a client has an on-prem system with Zadara, they already have available to them Zadara’s global network of locations for cloud capabilities. The decision is completely up to the customer; they have the freedom to choose where they want their data to reside.

Watch the full interview (12:58) below:

Photo by SiliconANGLE

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