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Nexenta eyes object, VSAN, orchestration

ZFS storage veteran Nexenta is moving into the crowded object storage market.

Nexenta this week revealed plans for NexentaEdge as part of its strategy to expand beyond its NexentaStor software that runs on commodity hardware and takes advantage of open-source ZFS.

Unlike NexentaStor, the vendor has developed Edge from the ground with its proprietary IP along with “some ZFS DNA,” according to CEO Tarkan Maner. NexentaEdge will run on industry standard x86 servers and support iSCSI block storage, OpenStack Cinder and Swift, and Amazon S3 Object APIs. It will use global deduplication to reduce network bandwidth and cryptographic hashing for data integrity.

Maner points to global deduplication as the major differentiator for Edge. “A problem with object storage is it requires a lot of network bandwith,” he said. “We reduce that bandwidth with deduplication.

Nexenta will preview Edge at VMworld next week, and then begin an open beta program. Maner said he expects the software to become generally available by the end of 2014.

Object storage adoption is picking up steam, but Nexenta will have to make its 1.0 product mature quickly. Its competitors include EMC, Quantum, Cleversafe, Scality, Caringo, Exablox, and Amplidata.

IDC storage analyst Ashish Nadkarni said Nexenta faces stiff competition, but at least it not a newcomer to storage. Nexenta has been in the storage market since 2008.

“It’s a first generation product, and it’s going to get compared to what’s already in the market,” Nadkarni said. “And what is already in the market has been around at least two or three years and is probably ahead from functionality and maturity standpoints. Nexenta will have to play catch up. But on the positive side, they have an existing business and experience with storage customers. Having a lot of storage experience can help them come up to speed quickly.”

Nexenta also upgraded NexentaStor and added a VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) addition to its NexentaConnect storage acceleration and management software this week. NextenaStor 4.1 now supports all-flash storage systems running on commodity hardware, providing optimization for low latency. NexentaConnect for VSAN adds SMB and file services to VSAN, which only supports block storage.

Maner said Nexenta will also add a Fusion product in 2015 that allows customers to manage and analyze Nexenta and other file, block and object storage systems through a common interface. The first version of NexentaFusion will include multi-tenant monitoring and real-time analytics with version 2.0 adding storage provisioning and orchestration, according to the vendor’s roadmap.

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