While at the SC16 show in Salt Lake City, SoftIron, a storage startup and SUSE partner, launched their HyperDrive storage platform. There are several aspects of their offering that on which I would like to provide comment.
The first is that SoftIron bridges a gap between the proprietary storage arrays from the traditional vendors and the do-it-yourself world of software defined storage. This enables customers to have an experience that is similar to their existing enterprise storage systems at a lower expense. By offering the best of open source software-defined storage in an appliance form factor, SoftIron is well positioned to serve as the bridge to a software-defined data center. An added benefit is that SoftIron sells AND supports these appliances. This is a major risk reducer for enterprise customers.
Another bit that makes the HyperDrive system interesting, is SoftIron has chosen to leverage the ARM v8 architecture. This choice means that customers can experience potential cost savings at the time of acquisition from a lower cost of goods and during day-to-day operations from reduced power requirements. The ARM v8 architecture also enables SoftIron to leverage accelerators like network , encryption engines, erasure coding accelerators, etc. that the SoC vendor may have included in silicon. These additions enable the potential for higher levels of performance for these functions, and when combined with the ability to have significant memory bandwidth available, the performance can only benefit.
The hardware and software optimization SoftIron has already done and continues to do, have a lot of potential benefit for customers. It’s plenty easy to assemble a system; it’s a different thing to engineer and plan for vibration, air flow optimization, and maximum performance of the hardware platform when running Ceph.
Personally, I look forward to seeing how customers adopt and deploy HyperDrive systems. The potential power and cost savings are best experienced in the multi-petabyte scale, which is the perfect place for hardware like this that is simple to deploy and manage and maintain.