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Fusion-io founders bring 'Woz' to Primary Data

Newcomer Primary Data appears to be a different kind of storage company than Fusion-io, but the management team looks a lot like the server-side flash pioneer that SanDisk bought out last June.

Primary Data founders CTO David Flynn and Rick White and CEO Lance Smith all came from Fusion-io. White was a Fusion-io founder, Flynn was a founder and Fusion-io CEO, and Smith was Fusion-io COO. And today, Primary Data introduced Apple founder Steve Wozniak as chief scientist, a role he also held at Fusion-io.

So what’s the old gang up to at their new company? We won’t know for sure until it starts shipping GA products – probably around mid-2015 – but the startup is demonstrating its technology at DEMO Fall 2014 this week at San Jose, California. That’s where Wozniak was introduced.

Unlike PCI flash storage vendor Fusion-io, Primary Data is a software company. Flynn says his new company is virtualizing data and separating it from physical storage. “This allows us to tap into new storage infrastructures, such as flash, server-side storage, object storage, the cloud,” he said. “We’re creating a single global space where objects can live without applications knowing the difference.

“When we were at Fusion-io, EMC pointed fingers and said, ‘The great stuff is in your servers, but data is trapped on an island on your server.’ Here we are fundamentally freeing data to reside on any storage system.”

Flynn and Smith said Primary Data’s platform consists of a data hypervisor, data director, policy engine and global dataspace. According to their descriptions, the storage hypervisor decouples data’s access channel from the control channel, is protocol-agnostic and allows data to be placed across third-party storage under the global dataspace. The data director is the central management system and a metadata server for data hypervisor clients. Customers use the policy engine to set parameters for automated data movement across storage tiers based on price, performance and protection needs, and the global dataspace gives administrators visibility into all storage resources in the enterprise.

Smith said Primary Data will support NetApp arrays, EMC Isilon, Nexenta NexentaStor and some third-party arrays out of the gate, and there is one early customer already running the software on Isilon storage. “This product is real,” he said.

According to Primary Data’s press release on Wozniak, he will work with the startup on technology vision and architecture. He will also “share the Primary Data storage” with technology innovators around the world.

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Several problems with this article. First, HP hasn’t sold RISC servers in a long time as PA-RISC has been long EOLed and was HP's last RISC based architecture. Intel's Itanium, which is now primarily sold by HP, is NOT RISC, but EPIC architecture-very different architecture. Intel x86 just like Itanium and IBM Power is in fact proprietary architectures as there is only one designing vendor for each CPU type although many re-sell x86. Whats even more interesting is that the current RISC server unit marketshare leader is actually Oracle's SPARC today which isn't even mentioned in article. Why not? Oracles SPARC as well as Fujitsu SPARC RISC processors, are actually not proprietary as they are both based on an IEEE standard open to anyone to develop. And furthermore, MS Windows is more proprietary/closed source than any of the UNIXES which share many of the same code and libraries as open source alternatives. Windows only runs on x86, locking you to a single architecture while OSes like Solaris, run on x86. Unix servers have declined faster than x86 servers because while x86 performance increases have been minimal between generations (~15-30% each generation), SPARC and Power have seen 2x performance improvements every generation, requiring much smaller, less expensive servers than previously. Todays SPARC & Power servers outperform x86 systems by a wide margin and in many cases, especially with latest SPARC T5, shows better/lower TCO than alternative x86 Linux/windows systems. And when you consider that Oracles previous high end M9000 server with 64 x SPARC64VII+ CPUs sold for ~$2-3M, todays $100K SPARC T5-4 can easily replace it. Clearly, lower revenue and units due to the massive performance gains we've seen over last 2=3 years!
This article represents a continual, albeit sinister attempt to promote Microsoft technology at the expense of factual evidence to the contrary.

Under no circumstances should the Intel X86 line of servers be described as "Wintel" in the context of this article, since a significant proportion of Intel X86 Servers are RedHat Enterprise or other Linux operating Systems (OS) based, or even running one of the BDS UNIX-like OS.

It is even further insulting to anyone's intelligence to characterize the contest between X86 and RISC as a battle of Wintel against "proprietary”, as if either Intel or Microsoft are somehow "non-proprietary" (sic).

Many of these Techtarget articles are insidiously promoting Microsoft only and posing as a purely technically informative or thoughtful publishing for some time now.

Such deceptions are vile in their nature, and totally discredit Techtarget as having journalistic integrity.

It's ironic that many of the improvements to XEON came about from migrating features from the Itanium series, and before the Oracle death blow, Intel dealt a crippling blow to Itanium by holding up one of major upgrades because they wanted to integrate the new features with Xeon.. wasn't that the 9300 Tukwila series? held up for 2 years or summat... irony of ironies.. HP's 'deal with the Intel devil'...
Oh, and yes, it should be Intel x86_64 running RHEL , not 'Wintel'....