The debut product from newcomer Exablox was an immediate hit in the eyes of our judges. Exablox OneBlox is a cloud-managed scale-out object storage appliance that can serve as primary storage or a backup system.
OneBlox includes a global namespace for data access from multiple servers, as its object-based file system presents itself as a network-attached storage box to applications.
The system's data management features include continuous data protection, inline deduplication and remote real-time replication of changed dedupe objects. All of these features are built into the base price.
The eight-bay 2U appliance scales to 32 TB of raw capacity in one box. Customers can use any 3.5-inch SAS, SATA or solid-state drive (SSD). Each system has one internal SSD drive to store file system metadata to increase performance. The system doesn't use RAID or LUNs. Configuration is a drag-and-drop process.
Exablox claims a system can be installed and configured in five minutes. To scale the system, a node is added dynamically to a ring architecture. Each ring supports 48 drives.
The OneSystem multi-tenant cloud-based management platform proactively monitors and manages OneBlox. Maintenance can be performed from a Web interface.
OneBlox won especially high marks from our judges in the innovation, ease of use and functionality categories.
"Probably the most innovative system in this space," wrote one judge, "leveraging object storage in a low-cost architecture for general-purpose applications."
Another judge added: "For its target use case this is a game-changing solution. You can reuse any drives and take advantage of objects under a scalable file service, plus dedupe, and drag-and-drop DR [disaster recovery]. It's not high performance, but cost efficient even as data grows."