UPDATED 12:00 EST / OCTOBER 27 2020

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Fungible launches DPU storage system with ‘unrivaled’ performance

Heavily funded data center startup Fungible Inc. today launched a new storage platform powered by its F1 data processing unit, or DPU, chip that it says can provide five times the performance of competing hardware.

Established five years ago by former Juniper Networks Inc. and Apple Inc. executives, Fungible is backed by more than $300 million in venture funding. Chief Executive Officer Pradeep Sindhu (pictured) was one of Juniper Networks’ original founders.

A sizable portion of the processing power in modern data centers is expended on low-level computational tasks such as encrypting network traffic and compressing information to free up storage space. Fungible says that its F1 DPU chip can perform many of these tasks more efficiently than a traditional central processing unit.

The storage system announced today, the Fungible Storage Cluster, harnesses the F1 DPU to provide a level of performance the startup describes as “unrivaled” in the market. It’s also promising three times better cost-efficiency than the competition when measured relative to how many data input and output operations per second the platform performs. 

The Fungible Storage Cluster has two main components: the FS1600 storage system and the Composer management software. Thousands of FS1600 systems can be deployed in a cluster and controlled using Fungible Composer.

Each FS1600 system packs two of the startup’s F1 DPU chips, along with 24 NVMe flash storage drives, into a two-rack-unit chassis the size of a standard server. Fungible says that a single FS1600 can provide aggregate performance of 15 million input and output operations per second or IOPS, which it says is up to five times more than the performance offered by storage systems based on standard CPUs. A data center rack fully equipped with FS1600 systems is said to be capable of providing 300 million IOPS. 

Electricity consumption is another area where Fungible is positioning its platform as a more compelling alternative to traditional storage hardware. At 17,647 IOPS per watt consumed, the startup claims the FS1600 is the most power-efficient offering in the category.

The F1 DPUs inside the system handle the low-level computational operations involved in managing stored data. Among other things, they encrypt files, compress them to free up capacity and use a technique known as erasure coding to ensure that information remains available even if some of the systems in a cluster suffer an outage. 

“The Fungible Storage Cluster is not only the fastest storage platform in the market today, it is also the most cost-effective, reliable, secure and easy to use,” said Sindhu. 

The individual FS1600 systems that make up a Fungible Storage Cluster deployment are orchestrated by Composer, the management software the startup has developed to power the platform. It manages the storage hardware and the network that links the individual FS1600 systems together, while collecting telemetry data for monitoring purposes. An application programming interface allows it to interact with the other services that run a company’s infrastructure.

The Fungible Storage Cluster is launching in a time when Fungible is facing increased competition from other data center suppliers. This month, Nvidia Corp. introduced a DPU of its own that, like the F1 DPU, is optimized to perform low-level data center tasks. Startup Pensando Systems Inc. offers a similar product that Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. recently started offering with some servers. 

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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