VAST Data claims one flash drive to rule all storage things

VAST Data quietly boasts it will change the enterprise storage game.

We say ‘quietly’, because the venture backed start-up is in stealth mode. But if you know where to look you can see that the company makes some extraordinary claims for its technology.

Founded in 2016 by three enterprise storage luminaries, VAST Data is backed by $40m series A funding. 

It has engineering development in Tel Aviv, plus offices in New York and San Francisco. The co-founders are: Renen Hallek, CEO who led the architecture and development of XtremIo’s all flash array; Shachar Fienblit, R&D VP,  who was Kaminario’s CTO; and  Jeff Denworth, product management VP, who was CTERA’s marketing boss.

It looks to reveal its product technology in early 2019. VAST Data has clearly set the bar very high even though it is not talking in public.  However, Denworth dropped the company’s guard in a presentation at General Dynamics UT Emerging Tech day in May 2018. 

Jeff Denworth’s GD IT Emerging Tech day pitch.

A Google search yields a PDF briefing doc for the talk, and it’s a humdinger.

We reproduce the document below in full – it’s worth a read (and just in case the link disappears). Our executive summary is this:

VAST Data will store data with such a radically enhanced data reduction technology that a single TLC flash drive system can be used for all-flash arrays, filers, cloud, object and storage archive functions; collapsing “entire tiers of performance, archive and backup storage onto one scalable, performant, cost-effective and resilient all-flash platform.”

In a few months we will see if VAST is a enterprise storage game changer or yet another incremental improver. We look forward to the technology reveal. In the meantime we leave you with our transcription of the Densworth’s  briefing for the General Dynamics conference. 

Flash of inspiration

GD IT Emerging Tech day PDF briefing doc from VAST Data.

Here we go, with a couple of comments from us in italics, and three included images;

Revolutionary Infrastructure Gains Require A Total Architectural Rethink

VAST’s next-generation unstructured data storage system is a complete rethink to file and object storage. The VAST system provides performance levels on par with tier-one all-flash arrays at a lower price point than even the most cost-effective backup and archiving solutions.

Flash storage cheaper than tape? Interest sparked? Read on.

Welcome To The Post-HDD Era

For years, the storage industry has been transitioning to SSD and Flash media as a modern approach to tackling performance-oriented use cases that were once constrained by the physics of spinning media. This transition makes sense… as Flash media is the first persistent storage technology that scales performance as capacities grow, and breaks the conventional understanding that ‘disks get bigger but they don’t get faster’.

While the cost/performance case has largely been resolved, the storage component industry is still years from introducing raw Flash media that features a lower per-GB price point than HDDs. Without an all-silicon alternative, the market has been forced to combine tiers of Flash and HDD storage that are either optimized for cost/performance or cost/capacity. To move data across tiers, organizations take great pains to pipeline data using costly and complicated hierarchal data management software and protect data by using long-term backup and archive systems. As data is migrated down the hierarchy, it becomes more difficult to read and analyze… thereby forfeiting its institutional value.

Moreover, the Flash storage industry has conditioned customers to be fixated on drive endurance as conventional Flash systems are continually deleting data to free valuable capacity as dormant data is migrated to lower cost storage tiers. This is a self-created problem.

What is to be done? VAST Data has the answer.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Starting in 2018, the unstructured data market will be ripe for Flash-based modernization where a new architecture can usher in the death of the hard drive altogether. In 2018, TLC laptop flash, Intel’s 3D XPoint and commodity NVMe fabrics will combine to provide an opportunity for a next generation file and object storage architecture that can beat the cost/capacity curve of spinning disks.

  • using next-gen data reduction tools that have never before been implemented in storage, VAST can dramatically reduce the footprint of even pre-compressed datasets up to 80% or more
  • large datasets will no longer be bound by the performance limits of archival storage, data is instantly accessible at Flash speeds
  • the solution is up to 10x more dense than HDD-based solutions
  • customers can finally abandon the traditional HW refresh cycle created by HDDs – keep systems on the floor for 10 years or more

No More Tiers

Only VAST can enable organizations to collapse entire tiers of performance, archive and backup storage onto one scalable, performant, cost-effective and resilient all-flash platform. This revolutionary new architecture will enable organizations to rethink how they deploy applications altogether by finally providing memory-speed access to datasets of any scale.

VAST Data’s (now delayed) development timetable