March 22, 2014

Wherein I Weigh In On Object Storage, SDN, And Commoditization (and Coho Data!)

Today marks the launch of a new enterprise storage company, Coho Data. I’m very excited about the core technology within Coho’s storage solutions, and am pleased to present two video discussions about this.

Note that Coho Data did not hire me to make some promo videos. I was pre-briefed on their product (back when they were known as Convergent.io) and spent some time with their CTO, Andy Warfield, during my Truth in IT seminars earlier in the year. But it’s the technology that really has me interested, not the promise of big piles of cash!

I was so interested in their combination of object storage and software-defined networking (SDN) that I jumped at the chance to record a few videos on these topics. You’ll notice that I’m not really talking about Coho Data here; I’m talking about the promise of object storage and the ability of SDN to transform the datacenter. But of course, this is exactly what Coho Data is trying to do, so I think our little arrangement worked out just fine!

Stephen Foskett Talks Object Storage

In this video, I talk about the evolution of enterprise storage, from block to file to object. This is a crucial trend, as anyone who’s seen my “Stack of Lies” presentation knows: It’s incredibly difficult to scale a “fake disk” storage system like a SCSI (FC/iSCSI) array simply because the protocol was never intended to do this! File storage (NFS/SMB) is a bit more capable in this regard, but few file storage vendors have the internal “plumbing” to make it work. Object storage (including true cloud storage systems) have no problem scaling, but they aren’t compatible with conventional applications.

The ideal mechanism for scalable storage is to use object storage internally and put a conventional gateway in front. This is what companies like Coho Data and Exablox are doing, and why they’re so important to the future of our industry.

Stephen Foskett Weighs in on Marriage of Software-Defined Networking + Storage

Software-defined networking (SDN) technology is awesome, but it can seem like a solution in search of a problem. If you’re not Facebook or Google, what are you going to do with OpenFlow really? There’s been a lot of work done exposing SDN and creating applications for it (see NEC and HP, for example), but I’m unaware of any company making it central to their product like Coho Data is doing. This is really cutting-edge stuff, and I sincerely hope this team can pull it off!

Disclaimer: Coho Data sponsored a few dates of my “Truth About Virtualization” seminars with Truth in IT, but I am not at all involved in selling sponsorship for that. They will also be presenting at Storage Field Day 4 in November, and I manage (and sell) that event. But the only “payment” I got for these videos was a bottle of good Bourbon.

  • Tom Morgan

    These are good. Insightful and useful.