Software Defined Storage Moving Up to Host More Tier One Applications; Interview with Nexenta’s Chairman and CEO, Tarkan Maner, Part 3

Organizations may view true software defined storage (SDS) software as only appropriate to host their tier two and tier three applications. However, many known and named accounts now use SDS software to host their tier one applications.  In this third and last installment of my interview series with Nexenta’s Chairman and CEO, Tarkan Maner, he explains where SDS software initially gets a foothold in organizations and why it rapidly gains traction and moves up to host tier one applications.

Jerome:  Where are organizations primarily deploying SDS in their infrastructure now?

Tarkan:  Deployments range from cold archive all the way to high performance computing. We see it being used to host home directories of file share applications, high performance computing for research, high-end trading applications at financial institutions, high-end databases and transactional ERP systems.

However, we usually start in home directories, file shares, backups, archives, active archives, open stack archives and cold archives. This is our sweet spot because we have such a new solution and new way of going to market. Customers like to start with the tier two and tier three type of applications to prove the value, and then find themselves naturally going up to tier one.

Companies like GoDaddy, and Qualcomm; many agencies in the public sector like NASA, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Treasury, government of Brazil, Bertelsmann in Germany– the reasons they chose Nexenta are because they have a lot of backup data, a lot of archival data, and they have a lot of tier one storage. This costs them [as much as] $1,000 per terabyte (TB). They want to first prove the value of Nexenta in the backups, the archives, and in the home directories and file shares, and then move up from there. All of these companies started using Nexenta with their tier two and tier three applications and moved up to tier one.

Today at Korea Telecom, we have 200 terabytes under production. At GoDaddy, more than 30 petabytes under production. Nexenta is a very smart technology service provider. I will tell you, when VMware started its journey 15 years ago, nobody believed or gave credit to VMware to virtualize the servers, especially the server companies. Server companies mocked VMware. Look where they are today.

The same thing is happening within the storage industry. The storage industry mocks software-defined storage. They belittle us. They say that we have no understanding of the storage market. They say customers love monolithic, expensive, legacy, mainframe hardware.

Guess what, the times are changing. We are pushing very hard to change the industry. Obviously, we believe all of the other players in the space, even though they might be in different categories, , are also trying to change the industry in a big way. We believe we are in the best position to do so because of our customer base and our solution support for a variety of workloads.

To give one example, the CIO of Cambridge University is going to be at OpenStack Summit giving a keynote presentation on how they are doing genomic research with Nexenta’s scale-out product, changing the game, end-to-end. We are really excited about the workloads we are supporting as we move forward.

Jerome:  Are they doing separate deployments of Nexenta for separate tier one, two, and three applications? Or are there creating one large pool of storage?

Tarkan: It depends on the deployment. In most cases, storage pools are divided; partly because organizations are so screwed up due to all of the different technology purchases they have made in the last three decades. We see them using Nexenta as a bridge to connect these storage pools together, starting with tier two and tier three type of applications before moving up into tier one.

High Bridge

Jerome:  Can you talk about an event that really started people talking about software-defined storage?

Tarkan: Dell buying EMC and other consolidation events that have happened, like NetApp doing acquisitions and so forth. showed that customers are prioritizing lower cost solutions. Customers also realize they can get their storage solutions at a lower cost because software-defined storage software is a reality.

The inflection point in the marketplace happened in the last twelve months as evidenced by all of these mergers and acquisitions. This shows that customers are looking for super levels of cost cutting. Further, we are hearing from analyst firms that inquiries around software-defined storage are doubling, from month to month, quarter to quarter. That’s also a sign that we are seeing.

In Part 1 of this interview series, Tarkan provides his definition of software defined storage (SDS) softwae and then calls out storage providers for holding their customers hostage with overpriced and inflexible storage solutions.

In Part 2 of this interview series, he provides his views into how SDS software is impacting the competitive landscape, and how Nexenta seeks to differentiate itself.