In another sign that the locus of control over data center storage is moving to the server, Dell this week announced an agreement with Scality under which it will resell software-defined storage software that can manage petabytes of data. Under terms of the agreement Dell will offer Scality’s object-based storage Ring on its PowerEdge servers running Linux.
Travis Vigil, executive director for Dell Storage, said the alliance is being driven by the fact that customers are now looking for ways to more easily scale to petabytes of storage.
“We want to make it simpler for customers to buy a complete range of software-defined software from Dell,” said Vigil. “The issue is that existing file systems have limitations.”
Erwan Menard, COO of Scality, said its approach to object storage differs from others in that it can still present a familiar file system option to an application. Underneath that file system, however, is an object storage system that enables applications to scale gracefully, said Menard. In fact, thanks to Scality Ring, a volume can now be any size, he said, eliminating all the management headaches associated with managing legacy file systems.
The Ring architecture provides native REST, S3, SMB, NFS, and OpenStack support in a single system, which Menard noted makes it simpler for IT organizations to transition between legacy file systems and more modern data center storage architectures. The software requires a minimum cluster size of six storage servers that can then be scaled out to span thousands of x86 servers.
Because Ring is based on a peer-to-peer architecture that distributes both user data and the associated metadata across server nodes, the software itself has no single points of failure and requires no downtime during any upgrades, said Menard.
Naturally, the pace of transition to object storage systems will vary widely from company to company. Menard said that partnering with Dell makes available an entire services team that will soon have the expertise needed to help customers make that transition.
As IT organizations make the shift to public and private clouds, it’s become apparent that from a scale perspective legacy file systems are quickly becoming too complex to manage. As a result, the shift toward more agile cloud environments generally forces IT organizations to take a hard look at object-based data center storage systems in one form or another.
Of course, most cloud service providers have for the most part already made that move. The issue now for many IT organizations is finding a way to replicate that same functionality inside private clouds that need to be able to support both legacy and modern applications with differing storage requirements.