Tech Field Day Briefing with Primary Data

During the VMworld 2015 conference in San Francisco, there was another event, Tech Field Day Extra, which was going on at the same time. As one of the panelists for Tech Field Day Extra, I had the opportunity to be part of the briefing from a company called Primary Data, which was showcasing DataSphere. DataSphere is a dynamic, objectives-driven data mobility virtualization platform across different storage types and tiers.

One of the features with the release of VMware’s vSphere 6 is upgrades to the VMware vSphere API for Storage Awareness (VASA). In vSphere 6, VASA is the primary API storage control plane for connectivity and functionality for the third-party storage vendors to connect to. VASA is used in conjunction with vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOL), Virtual SAN, and vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO) as the single unified control plane for vSphere storage. The DataSphere platform serves as a universal VASA provider, enabling existing and new storage resources to be presented as a single VVOL datastore.

DataSphere provides policy-based dynamic data mobility, snapshots, and cloning to existing storage to make existing storage arrays VVOL-aware, including those that are not currently VVOL-certified. DataSphere brings three unique features to the virtual table. First, the control path is “out of bank,” which in turn gives the virtual machines a simple and direct path to the virtual disks. Second, DataSphere balances the workloads across all the storage resources. And finally, it brings pool storage resources into a single NFS global dataspace.

The team at Primary Data has been working hard with the storage policies as well as with the algorithms and analytics being used for data placement. As administrators of corporate systems, most companies are utilizing multiple types and tiers of storage, which can range from flash drives to low-performance disks and everything in between. This gives us a lot of options and flexibility for hosting a customer’s data in the best place for that server or application’s performance needs; the analytics behind the preemptive placement are based on current and future needs. DataSphere addresses these dynamic conditions with an advanced policy engine and data movement technology to nondisruptively move data throughout a company’s storage infrastructure. This ensures data is always at the right place, at the right time, for the right purpose, both now and in the future. It does this by providing dynamic data mobility and allowing data to be moved easily between servers and local, shared, and cloud storage.

DataSphere unites all storage resources within a single global dataspace. This global access gives enterprises full control over when and how data is migrated and archived, as well as over how often snapshots are copied to remote sites, including cloud and object stores. As data is moved automatically according to policy, IT no longer has to schedule and perform manual migrations. This also allows enterprises to place data across multiple cloud targets, enabling a seamless hybrid cloud.

There is some information that is not in the brochure that I believe is worth sharing.  Some names involved with Primary Data make this a company worth keeping an eye on, and worth taking a closer look at its technology. The first is co-founder and CTO David Flynn. You see, David Flynn is the very same David Flynn who was Fusion-io’s founder, CEO, and chairman. For four years, Flynn guided Fusion-io through its rapid growth and initial public offering. The second name that really caught my eye is Steve Wozniak, who is the chief scientist for Primary Data. What do you know—besides being a co-founder of Apple, Steve was also the chief scientist for Fusion-io. Let me finish painting the picture and point out that the other co-founder, current chief marketing officer Rick White, just so happens to be a co-founder and previous chief marketing officer of Fusion-io. Last, but not least, the current CEO of Primary Data, Lance Smith, also came from Fusion-io, as well as from SanDisk, before he made his way over to Primary Data.

I was already a Fusion-io fan due to the briefings that I have had with them over the last few years, and now my imagination is going along at full speed. I’ve been contemplating how this team from Fusion-io has gotten a “do over” chance with Primary Data to redefine a new way to do virtual storage going forward. It certainly gives you something to think about. In the meantime, I am looking forward to future briefings with Primary Data and plan to enjoy the show as I watch to see how quickly this company grows. This is one company to really keep an eye on.

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