Storage software

Datera storage software trains long-term on HPE servers

Startup Datera has recruited Hewlett Packard Enterprise as a channel partner, trying to woo IT stores that want software-defined storage on HPE ProLiant servers.

The vendors unveiled the HPE Complete Datera solution, a set of four HPE ProLiant DL Gen 10 server nodes that run Datera storage software. Product SKUs are expected in the first quarter from HPE resellers.

Datera storage primarily targets organizations that develop cloud-native applications. Vendor iSCSI block storage provides connective tissue to build a scalable server farm from commodity hardware. The Datera Data Services Platform is a collection of automated data services that includes data compression, snapshots, and replication to manage data between nodes.

Three 2U Datera HPE Complete nodes are planned, reaching 96 TB of hybrid flash. Two all-flash models, one with SATA SSDs and the other with NVMe drives, scale from 20TB to 64TB. A 1U all-flash building block provides up to 38TB.

HPE and Datera position the integrated systems as competitive against the Dell EMC VxRack Flex hyperconvergence product based on ScaleIO software and Dell PowerEdge servers.

Datera software was previously qualified to run on HPE servers, but HPE will now resell Datera software.

Customer pilots in progress

Datera entered the market in 2016 to provide provisioned and managed local storage like Amazon Elastic Block Store. This is a feature claimed by many legacy vendors and storage startups.

Datera initially bundled its software on Datera-branded storage nodes — which are being phased out — or software-licensed only on core servers.

The HPE reseller deal signals a new strategy for Datera, which changed CEOs last month when former EMC executive Guy Churchward replaced founder Marc Fleischmann. Fleischmann remains with the startup as chairman.

Churchward said the HPE partnership is a model for similar agreements with other server manufacturers.

Datera software has also been qualified by Cisco, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Samsung and Supermicro.

“This [approach] will become very strategic for us. Customers buy results, not just individual technologies,” Churchward said.

Datera uses a symmetric control plane to ensure consistent latency and performance characteristics at scale. The minimum number of Datera storage nodes is three. Fleischmann said the HPE-Datera integrated system scales up to 64 nodes. Customers could mix different server hardware and add nodes to a Datera cluster with a single click.

Fleischmann said Datera has proof-of-concepts underway with about half a dozen cloud and software-as-a-service companies, including Morae Global, Packet and Ultimate Software.

IDC analyst Chris Kanthan said Datera storage appeals to enterprises with high-performance production workloads.

“They are focused on very large, high-end customers who have very complex data center requirements. You can specify how many IOPS an application will need for reads or writes,” Kanthan said.

He said Datera’s claim to provision cloud clusters in minutes is “impressive” if true. “But they’ll probably need another round of funding if they really want to take off,” Kanthan said.

Datera’s new approach is the opposite of Dell EMC’s strategy of limiting its ScaleIO software to PowerEdge servers. Churchward said Datera wanted the flexibility to package its software on any vendor’s hardware instead of tying it to its own device.

“Datera received a big gift when Dell EMC decided to put ScaleIO on an appliance,” said Churchward.