Storage software

Vast Data will offer containerized storage software, but not yet

Vast Data will provide a containerized storage software version of its product. And that’s not too much of a stretch, because the all-NVMe flash “universal storage” vendor that claims to be the hard drive’s nemesis is indeed built on an architecture that includes a containerized control layer.

But the shift to a containerized storage software product won’t happen for some time, because for now Vast is focused – in the grand scheme of things – on smaller targets in enterprise storage.

We asked Vast – during its recent live event – if the company plans to offer the container component of its product as a software-only offering.

This decision would make sense because Vast’s architecture is based on providing QLC and 3D Xpoint flash storage hardware, with a software control plane including stateless Kubernetes containerized servers with a view of all underlying storage. It therefore follows that the software control plane could be refactored on other supports, at the choice of the customer perhaps.

“We have a lot of plans in this space,” said chief technology officer Sven Breuner. “But today we have specific hardware dependencies on a relatively small scale. But we could build great infrastructure with basic capacity.

“Right now we want to focus on our specific platform, although some customers are already running Vast as a containerized deployment on bare metal as proofs of concept, but not many.”

Vast Data’s architecture relies on bulk, yet fast-access storage provided by NVMe-connected QLC flash memory. QLC, is relatively inexpensive for flash, but is the least durable of all flash generations, and is best used for sequential input/output (I/O). To ensure traffic is sequential as much as possible, Vast places a layer of 3D Xpoint to shape I/O into fewer, less random patterns.

According to Vast, there are 18TB of XPoint (in 12 x 15.36TB drives) for every 675TB of QLC, or about 2.5% of system capacity.

The result of all of this is a set of storage savings and usage profiles that Vast says spell the end of spinning hard drives and tiered storage. It calls itself “universal storage” and “a shutdown level event for hard drive tiering.”

Despite being all NVMe flash, Vast claims to offer a storage cost per GB that is “a short distance” from the price of HDD and “below the cost of hardware”, according to CME Jeff Denworth. That’s because it’s using QLC for most of its capacity and using very granular data reduction – at the global namespace level – which packs more data into less space.

Vast aims to get customers bringing data back from cloud storage and offers the promise of not having to deal with capacity management. It targets use cases that include analytics and AI, HPC, transactional processing, VMware workloads, container deployments.

Vast can provide storage for use cases in any sphere, “that doesn’t need block storage primitives,” Denworth said, namely “SCSI persistent reservations” akin to the file locking and allow only specified nodes to access a LUN.

Despite building a tagline around “democratizing rapid data access,” Vast only provides file and object modes that include NFS, SMB, and S3, but also direct memory access via RDMA and a container persistent storage via CSI drivers.

However, the company is happy to live with that for now. “Files and objects are the best place to sell flash infrastructure,” Denworth said. “We are not consciously targeting the block storage market. The file and the object are the “easy” button. Also, most data is in file or object storage, and you can do most things with a file. »