Your occasional storage digest, featuring Rackspace, AWS, Nvidia Covid-19 initiatives and more

The Covid-19 pandemic dominates this week’s storage roundup with Rackspace, Nvidia and AWS seeking to support researchers into the coronavirus.

And in other news, Acronis is using Western Digital JBODs in its data centres and Huawei has notched up another storage benchmark. Finally, we have assembled items from CTERA, Igneous, iXsystems, NGD, Scale Computing and others to help while away your stay-at-home hours.

Rackspace, AWS and Nvidia COVID-19 initiatives

Rackspace has developed special offers to help customers affected by the quickly moving situation around COVID-19. I has a webpage providing access to experts, resources and services. It will use this page to capture the response efforts of the technology community, its partners, ecosystem, and Rackspace staff, to get services to customers faster.

The hosting firm is setting aside $10m in no-cost OpenStack public cloud  hosting resources over the next six months for organisations participating in COVID-19 response efforts. Also, existing customers can add Microsoft Teams to their Office 365 account for free for six months.

AWS has launched an initiative to accelerate the research, diagnostics and, testing of Covid-19, committing $20m for customers working on diagnostics solutions. The programme is open to accredited research institutions and private entities that are using AWS to support research-oriented workloads for the development of point-of-care diagnostics (testing that can be done at home or a clinic with same-day results). The AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative includes 35 global research institutions, startups, and businesses focused on tackling this challenge.

Nvidia has made its Parabricks genome-sequencing software available at no charge to researchers sequencing the coronavirus and the genomes of those suffering from COVID-19. Parabricks can cut the time for variant calling on an entire human genome from two days to one hour on a single server.

Covid-19 disrupts HDD manufacture in Malaysia and the Philippines

Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers this week told subscribers: “Some of our HDD industry checks have pointed out that HDD manufacturing could be meaningfully disrupted by closures in Malaysia & the Philippines. While the extent of the closures, imposed by the governments, is unknown, we would note that the HDD industry has meaningful supply chain and manufacturing concentration in these countries – e.g., Seagate, Western Digital, Showa Denko, Furukawa, Nidec, etc. These companies are likely appealing for provincial government waivers.”

Huawei posts another SPC-1 benchmark result

Huawei has grabbed the sixth best SPC-1 benchmark result with an OceanStor 5310 V5 array, scoring 1,600,658 SPC-1 IOPS. This benchmark tests storage system responsiveness in terms of IOPs and provides measures of overall response time and price-performance in terms of $/K-IOPS.

The Huawei box had an 0.68 millisecs response time, beaten by the NetApp A800 at 0.59ms and a DataCore Parallel Server at 0.28ms. Huawei provided prices in Chinese currency only. We converted them to US dollars to fill in the system cost and price/performance columns in our table of top 10 results; 

The 0.44 $/IOPS number is pretty good, beaten only by two DataCore systems and a Huawei FusionStorage array.

Acronis uses WD JBODs 

Acronis, the data protection and security biz, is using Western Digital Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 JBODs (Just a Box of Drives) in its 14 data centres around the globe. These are high-density enclosures and intended to meet capacity demands and support long-term expansion plans.

Ultrastar Data60.

Alex Beyk, director of global technical operations at Acronis, said: “With Western Digital, we’re getting a storage solution that we can trust, with a total cost of ownership that other storage vendors could not match.”

Ultrastar Data102

The Ultrastar Data60 and Data102 are 4U, high-density, high-capacity 12Gbit/s SAS JBODs that can be configured with up to 60 x 3.5-inch and 102 x 2.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) with up to 900TB and 1.5PB raw capacity.

Up to 24 of those drives can be SSDs. Western Digital said they have anti-vibration and thermal zone cooling tech to enhance reliability.

Code42 improves remote worker data loss threat detection

Inside threat detector Code42 has added new capabilities, free for 60 days, that pinpoints suspicious data activity among remote employees. 

Joe Payne, Code42 CEO, said: “The way we work is changing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The number of employees logging in from home is surging along with their reliance on collaborative technologies. Employees are sharing files, Slacking and messaging colleagues to get their work done.

“Suddenly security teams are on the hook to manage a spike in data activity that now lives outside their typical network infrastructure. What they had visibility into last week is invisible this week. To help organizations during this time, we are offering them an organisational-wide view of data risks posed by their remote workforce at no charge.”

The new functionality can;

  • Pinpoint remote employees whose file activity represents the greatest risk.
  • Detect unauthorised usage of Dropbox, iCloud, Box, OneDrive and Google Drive.
  • Provide an organisation-wide view of browser upload activity, including attachments to personal email, and uploads to personal cloud sync systems. 
  • Alert security teams to users who are executing risky file activity based on file type, count and size.
  • Offer historical user activity profiles to speed insider threat investigations.


ATTO claims Ethernet storage networks can be fully optimised within minutes when built with its FastFrame 3 Ethernet network interface cards (NICs) and managed by its 360 Tuning, Monitoring and Analytics Software.

Cloud file storage gateway and security supplier CTERA said it had a strong 2019 with a 60 per cent year-over-year annual recurring revenue increase. It says its product is used in more than 50,000 enterprise locations and millions of corporate devices in 110 countries.

iXsystems is unifying its FreeNAS and TrueNAS products. FreeNAS is the free open source software an TrueNAS is the enterprise version. The vast majority of code is shared. With the recent 11.3 release, TrueNAS gained parity with FreeNAS on features such as VMs and Plugins. The 12.0 release coming in the latter half of the year will also unify both products into a single software image and name; TrueNAS. There are no plans to stop releasing a free version. TrueNAS CORE will be the name of the free version with TrueNAS Enterprise being the paid-for version.

Cloud data warehouser Snowflake has a released a Federated Data Access (FDA) connector integration with Adobe Campaign, part of Adobe Experience Cloud. The integration enables Adobe Campaign users to extend their data into Snowflake to get marketing campaign data insights in real-time, and with zero-management.

On-premises and Cloud data warehouser Yellowbrick Data has signed a partnership deal with global telco systems house Digital Outcomes Now. John Gillespie, CEO of Digital Outcomes Now, said: “Yellowbrick Data has created a breakthrough in processing analytic datasets that is extremely well positioned to deliver on this coming 5G opportunity.  In 1/20th the rack space of traditional Data Analytics platforms, Yellowbrick Data is able to process complex data queries at over 100x the performance of traditional systems.” 

Netlist has filed new legal proceedings for patent infringement against SK hynix RDIMM and LRDIMM memory products in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. In October 2019 the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a Notice of Initial Determination finding that Netlist’s standard-essential ‘907 patent is being infringed by Korean manufacturer SK hynix. The ITC has issued a target date of April 7, 2020 for completion of the Investigation and issuance of a Final Initial Determination.

Quantum Spatial, a US geospatial data mapping firm is standardising on hyperscale file data management supplier Igneous. Carl Lucas, VP of Information Technology at Quantum Spatial, said: “We move petabytes of data each month as we offload and process customer projects.  Igneous’ SaaS-based monitoring alerts us if anything is happening. It helps me sleep at night.”

TRU SDS (Software Defined Storage) vendor StorONE has partnered SQream, a provider of accelerated analytics on massive data stores, to provides a high-performance massive data analytics offering. With the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform, S1, SQream DB can saturate a multi-node, parallel file over 100GbE, ensuring the NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs the software uses are fully utilized.

Private virtual storage array supplier Zadara has teamed with backup provider Veeam to drive application and data availability in a flexible, 100 per cent-OpEx backup-as-a-service model. This brings a unified, single platform solution to companies looking to take back control over ransomware attacks, improving defences without the need to make disruptive changes to their IT infrastructure.