Hello from the other side. Mangstor completes EXTEN reboot

Mangstor, a pioneer in NVMe-over-Fabrics array technology which crashed and nearly burned, has escaped the undead. The company, now known as EXTEN Technologies, has launched HyperDynamic, a NVMe-oF target drive chassis management and operation software product for OEMs and system integrators.

EXTEN website

The change of name from Mangstor to EXTEN took place in 2017. But this is the first sign of product since then.

HyperDynamic

EXTEN’s HyperDynamic software runs in embedded systems that front-end a chassis containing NAND or Optane Solid state drives and functions as target termination point for NVME-oF links. These can use RDMA or TCP across Ethernet. iWARP. InfiniBand and OmniPath connections- but not NVMeFC – are supported. RDMA and TCP can run in parallel.

Because of this support for multiple link types EXTEN classifies HyperDynamic as software-defined NVMe-oF. It is built on a shared-nothing architecture and uses a microservices-based design.

EXTEN software schematic

The embedded system can use Intel or AMD X86-64 processors, as well as ARM chips and also custom SoC (system-on-chip) enclosures. HyperDynamic supports Redfish and Swordfish open industry management standards within its RESTful  API.

It includes automatic volume provisioning and service classes for bandwidth management.

Boxing clever

EXTEN has teamed up with AIC, a Taiwanese OEM, to produce a target NVMe-oF storage device. This consists of:

  • AIC J2024-04 JBOF (box of flash drives) with 24 hot-swappable, dual-ported NVMe drives 
  • 4 hot-pluggable Broadcom PS1100R Stingray controller cards for management with
    • 64 PCIe lanes for networking 
    • 64 for storage
  • HyperDynamic SW running in Stingray cards
  • Support for drive-level redundancy with RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50  
  • Uses standard MPIO and Linux drivers
  • High-availability dual-controller and dual-port, fail-over support with no single point of failure.

EXTEN said the software has composable data paths, enabling system administrators to share storage resources in multiple locations across compute nodes.

The software provides more than 40GB/sec of bandwidth per node. NICS from Broadcom, Chelsio, Intel, Mellanox, and Solarflare are supported. It adds less than one microsecond of overhead latency to an NVMe access to a direct-attached drive.

TL;DR

The HyperDynamic software stack looks capable. But EXTEN needs partners to implement it and take to market. It has promise as a technology for skilled DIY NVMe-oF customers and also as NVME-oF software for system builders who don’t wish to use NVMe-oF storage from mainstream vendors or startups such as Apeiron, E8, Excelero and Pavilion Data Systems.


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