By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. February 8, 2017
IT industry trends seldom follow a straight line. Instead, they can be and are blown hither and yon by many factors, including the strength of the underlying technologies, vendors’ investment and commitment and market enthusiasm. But perhaps most important of all are the dynamic feelings and changing needs of IT customers. That’s why the form and functions of solutions often change radically after they initially appear.
Cloud computing provides an excellent example of how this has worked. While the term came into common use over a decade ago, after Amazon introduced its publicly-available Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006, cloud-based services and solutions have gone through numerous permutations since then.
However, organizations that wanted to gain the benefits of cloud in their own private data centers were in a quandary, since implementing systems from the ground up required substantial resources and technical expertise. IT vendors, including Cisco, Dell EMC and IBM responded first with converged systems and then hyperconverged appliances designed to simplify on-premises cloud deployments, and their solutions gained significant market traction.
But is there another, better way for supporting on-prem cloud? Cloudistics, which launched last year, would argue there is—an approach the company calls Superconverged delivered via its Ignite cloud software platform and Model-S hardware components. The launch this week of Cloudistics’ new Ignite 3.0 software offers a chance to take a closer look at the company and its offerings.
Cloudistics’ superconverged solutions
I was introduced to Cloudistics by Dr. Jai Menon, the company’s chief scientist and an industry figure with lengthy, substantial experience in innovative solutions development. Menon spent over 20 years at IBM where he amassed many of his over 50 patents as a member of its storage research team. During that time, Menon impacted every significant IBM RAID product and also led the IBM team that created the industry’s first, and still the most successful, storage virtualization product.
Menon was named an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor, and also served as the CTO for IBM’s Systems Group. In 2012, Menon joined Dell as VP and CTO for Dell’s Enterprise Solutions Group, and the following year was appointed the company’s Head of Research and Chief Research Officer. He joined Cloudistics in 2016 as it was preparing to launch its first product.
Menon noted that despite their myriad benefits, converged and hyperconverged solutions also harbor significant challenges. In the former case, utilizing legacy storage architectures tends to heighten platform costs and result in overly complex storage management. Though hyperconverged appliances can be more cost-effective, their network virtualization tools are far from simple and generally need to be separately acquired. Plus, since server, storage and networking components are tightly coupled via software, they do not scale effectively. In addition, storage redundancy in hyperconverged solutions tends to be far less efficient than what converged systems offer.
Cloudistics’ superconverged offerings are designed from the ground up to combine the best aspects of converged systems (efficient storage redundancy and effective scaling) and hyperconverged appliances (open technologies, simple management and low cost storage). Plus, the company’s solutions enhance performance and value with four new capabilities: simplified virtualized network management, single-pane-of-glass systems management, multi-tenancy and application centricity.
How does it get there? Cloudistics’ Ignite is based on four core pieces of software:
- Adaptive Overlay Network (AON) – Layer 3 networking virtualization enhances agility and supports line speed performance.
- Adaptive Operating System (AOS) Hypervisor – Based on KVM technology, this offers built-in high availability (HA) and redundancy, along with integrated container support. As a result, customers enjoy world class resource management without paying a “VMware tax.”
- Ignite Cloud Controller (ICC) – Allows applications and hardware at multiple Cloudistics sites to be managed with a single console from anywhere. Also supports a built-in application marketplace.
- Elastic Block Flash (EBF) Storage – All-flash commodity storage supports 200K IOPs per 2U, scaling through federation, direct-block access, app aware access and disaster recovery. In other words, customers enjoy enterprise quality storage functions and performance without the cost.
Add in the fact that Cloudistics achieves this without third party software or proprietary hardware. The company’s Model-S compute, storage and network block hardware is currently based on Dell’s FX2 chassis (the company expects to engage with other hardware vendors in the future), and is provisioned, managed and controlled through the Ignite Cloud Controller.
Cloudistics Ignite 3.0
What did Cloudistics announce with the new Ignite 3.0 version of its cloud software? Significant new additions, including:
- Composable cloud: Enables customers to dynamically assemble resources from federated pools to run workloads, get a unified view of utilization and consumption and pay only for what they use. Ignite 3.0 also scales in real-time without re-architecting or disrupting applications.
- Flex DR (Disaster Recovery): Ready-to-use disaster recovery that can be enabled for an application within three clicks. Flex DR includes manual and automatic snapshots with marketplace integration, stateless revert, site-to-site replication and tiered snapshot retention.
- Federated Flash Storage: Delivers increased performance, including improved snapshot performance and capacity. In turn, that enables the faster data ingestion and computation needed to support modern big data and containerized applications.
- Web Services: The Cloudistics on-premises cloud can be controlled from existing scripts, tools and utilities. Also enables quick application deployment and orchestration.
- Native Container Support: Provides native support for Docker and Kubernetes. Customers can easily deploy, run and scale container-based applications, including those that need to persist or share data.
- Built-in Application Marketplace: In what the company says is an industry first for an on-premises cloud solution, Ignite 3.0 delivers ready-to-run, reusable, pre-built applications and Docker Zone VMs that include preconfigured and optimized images for fast, easy deployment. Supports Microsoft, VDI, Splunk, Docker, MapR and Hortonworks.
- Versatile cloud platform: Includes high-availability, oversubscription and hot-plug support for CPU, memory and storage.
Companies that claim to have found innovative new solutions to complex problems are far from uncommon in the tech industry. In fact, you could say that the industry’s stellar reputation for innovation is largely based on the activities of people who believe there are better ways to do things. But companies that are actually capable of developing those solutions and delivering on their claims are few and far between.
Cloudistics appears to be one of those companies. Since its launch in 2016, the company has steadily built awareness for its solutions in the media and among investors, channel partners and customers, including the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball organization, the Chickasaw Nation and cloud-virtualization software player, Turbonomic. More importantly, Cloudistics has continued to evolve its solution portfolio, including the features, functionality and performance enhancements noted in its Ignite 3.0 release.
In my view, it is no surprise that prospective customers and partners want to learn more about Cloudistics’ innovative on-prem cloud solutions and services. In the coming months and years, I expect that the larger IT industry will learn more about Cloudistics, as well.
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