Greg Blomberg - Fotolia

ScaleIO Node bundles software on EMC appliances

ScaleIO Node models will bundle software-defined storage with EMC-branded commodity servers and Arista network switches.

EMC this week previewed a bundled hardware configuration for deploying its ScaleIO software-defined storage platform.

ScaleIO Node will give customers the option to purchase ScaleIO software preinstalled on commodity hardware. The inaugural bundle includes a production version of ScaleIO software, EMC-branded x86 storage servers by Quanta, and Arista networking switches. EMC is providing integrated technical support.

ScaleIO Node is in limited deployment now, with large-scale enterprise customers. It's expected to be generally available by March 2016.

EMC has sold ScaleIO as software-only since 2013, when it acquired the startup.

ScaleIO Node will be available in four pre-validated configurations. The Capacity Storage (CS100) and Capacity Compute (CC100) nodes scale to 28.8 TB of raw storage, with a mix of SAS hard disk and enterprise multilevel cell NAND flash-equipped solid-state drives. The Performance Compute (PC100) and Performance Flash (PF100) models provide 24 TB and 19.2 TB of raw storage, respectively. The performance configurations are split into four sub-nodes, each with dual CPU motherboards. EMC claims customers can cluster more than 1,000 nodes.

ScaleIO is SAN software that pools local hard disk or flash and presents it as scalable block storage. It can be installed on separate servers for parallelism and redundancy, or on a single server in a hyper-converged model.

"Initially, the whole reason behind acquiring ScaleIO was to go the software-driven route. We want to give customers choice and maximum flexibility. However, we had a lot of customers come back and say, 'Hey, I need EMC to bundle this together, so I can just turn it on,'" said Jyothi Swaroop, head of product marketing for EMC ScaleIO.

A lot of bigger enterprises may be shifting to software-only, but the mainstream buyer still wants an integrated appliance.
Ashish Nadkarniprogram director for enterprise servers and storage at IDC

Swaroop cited cloud service providers, telecoms and financial services companies among early customers of ScaleIO Node. He declined to specify pricing, but said it would be comparable to buying the hardware components and software licenses separately.

Ashish Nadkarni, program director for enterprise servers and storage at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said ScaleIO Node will appeal to customers who feel more comfortable buying appliances than installing software on their own hardware.

"Keep in mind that most buyers are skewed toward procuring everything on appliances. A lot of bigger enterprises may be shifting to software-only, but the mainstream buyer still wants an integrated appliance," Nadkarni said. "Such buyers need to be able to benefit from emerging technologies like software-defined storage, but may not be ready to give up the comfort of having everything on one box."

Next Steps

EMC says storage virtualization completes the software-defined data center

Does software-defined storage popularity mean hardware is on its way out?

ScaleIO acquisition fits EMC's software-defined storage strategy

Dig Deeper on Storage vendors