UPDATED 09:00 EDT / JUNE 23 2020

nebulon INFRA

Nebulon emerges from stealth to disrupt data center storage

Nebulon Inc., a startup led by a group of storage industry veterans, today emerged from stealth mode with a product it bills as the “first ground-breaking innovation for server-based primary storage” since hyperconverged infrastructure.

Nebulon is led by Chief Executive Siamak Nazari, a onetime principal engineer with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s 3PAR array business. Chief Operating Officer Craig Nunes served as vice president of worldwide marketing at the business.

Fremont, California-based Nebulon doesn’t sell a standalone storage array but rather enables enterprises to create a storage environment from the solid-state drives in their servers. It achieves this with the Nebulon Services Processing Unit, a compact PCIe card that the customer attaches to their servers. The card doesn’t require installing any extra software on the machine to which it’s attached and handles the processing involved in managing the solid-state drives.

Administrators can manage their environments via a cloud-based administration platform called the Nebulon On. It also provides monitoring features, analyzing tens of thousands of data points per hour from Nebulon Services Processing Units to provide visibility into operations. The startup is touting the platform as a better alternative to traditional on-premises storage management and monitoring, as well as to other cloud-based tools on the market. 

“Some have a cloud that sort of monitors your storage,” Nunes told SiliconANGLE in an interview. “We have that but also in this control plane is the administration, so [administrators] can take action. We’re not just saying, ‘There’s a fire,’ but ‘Here’s what you may need to do, should we do it?’”

Another advantage the startup is promising is self-service storage provisioning. “If I’m an application owner, I use the public cloud to write and test the application,” Nunes explained. “On-premises, a lot of application owners need to lean on infrastructure managers to let them do that. Our idea is to have more of a self-service provisioning of infrastructure on-premises.”

Under the hood, Nebulon On runs on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. It stores diagnostics data using a time-series database that, according to Nunes, can provide answers in seconds to queries that might take other cloud-based tools hours to process. The Nebulon Services Processing Unit that attaches to the customer’s on-premises servers, in turn, provides data services such as deduplication, compression, encryption and erasure coding.

Nebulon’s go-to-market strategy is to sell the Nebulon Services Processing Unit through server suppliers. It has lined up three partners so far, including Super Micro Computer Inc. and HPE. Nunes explained that enabling customers to purchase the product via the existing supplier from which they buy their servers simplifies the procurement process.

Even in a time when enterprise workloads are increasingly moving to the cloud, Nebulon sees its on-premises storage solution addressing a key need. “There’s a ton of data that for a variety of reasons — compliance, cost or service levels — people are forced to keep on-prem,” he said.

With reporting from Robert Hof

Images: Nebulon

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