Storage Vendors Cut Costs With Open Source

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Two data storage vendors are out with new products this week that they claim can save users a bundle over more traditional storage systems.

Nexenta and ParaScale both use open source software and commodity hardware to lower storage costs for enterprises.

Nexenta uses Sun’s (NASDAQ: JAVA) ZFS file system and x86 servers to create enterprise-class storage, while ParaScale uses Linux and commodity hardware to create a “private cloud” of tier 2 file storage.

Nexenta: ZFS Will Survive

Along with NexentaStor 2.2, the latest version of Nexenta’s unified NAS and SAN solution based on ZFS, the company has also introduced a new software suite, Pomona, that automates provisioning and management of multiple NexentaStor and other storage systems.

NexentaStor 2.2 also includes additional support for both VMware (NYSE: VMW) and Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS), and the solution supports CIFS, NFS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel protocols.

The latest version also includes stronger database integration with Oracle and MySQL. Data deduplication is also planned soon, thanks to Sun’s addition of the data reduction technology to ZFS, and pNFS support is also in the works.

Nexenta claims it can save users 70 to 80 percent over proprietary solutions. The company boasts 13,000 free users and 727 paid users to date.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Terri McClure said in a statement that “Efforts like Nexenta’s are propelling storage into the 21st century, much like Red Hat and Linux did for the server industry.”

Nexenta CEO Evan Powell said the company was founded by the creators of the project, which is now part of the Linux kernel. They latched onto OpenSolaris as soon as it became available to start, and from there they moved into selling their software and services to enterprises.

Powell said he isn’t worried about the fate of ZFS if the Sun-Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) merger ever gets cleared by the European Union.

“Gigantic storage users are using ZFS. It’s the best file system on the planet and it’s open source. The code and the community will continue even if something happens counter to expectations.”

— Evan Powell

“Gigantic storage users are using ZFS,” Powell said. “It’s the best file system on the planet and it’s open source. The code and the community will continue even if something happens counter to expectations.”

A free trial of NexentaStor is available at

ParaScale Builds Clouds with Linux

ParaScale, meanwhile, unveiled version 2 of its ParaScale Cloud Storage software (PCS). The solution uses commodity hardware running Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) Enterprise Linux OS or CentOS, and can integrate applications directly onto storage nodes. The new version also provides integration capabilities for virtualized environments and Web services.

PCS is a software-only solution that can be downloaded and added to any standard Linux platform to allow hundreds of commodity servers to be clustered together as a file repository, a storage cloud with massive capacity and parallel throughput, or as a disaster recovery option for virtualized environments.

Jack Norris, ParaScale’s vice president of marketing and business development, calls ParaScale an “open cloud. We’re not trying to lock anyone into a particular stack.”

Norris said one key difference between cloud and clustered file storage is that ParaScale doesn’t have the scalability limitations of clustered systems.

ParaScale, which uses the Linux Ext3 file system, can function as a backup for virtual machines, booting them directly from ParaScale without having to move around VM images.

The latest version also includes new management, replication, chargeback, reporting and monitoring capabilities.

Mike Maxey, the company’s director of product management, cited its resilience, noting that one customer didn’t even notice they had lost a server. “It’s built to last,” he said.

ParaScale says its customers are in the “double digits.” Pricing starts at 95 cents per GB.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.
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