Your occasional storage digest with Lightbits Labs, Western Digital and Samsung

In this week’s roundup Lightbits Labs strengthesm the enterprise credentials of its NVMe/TCP array; Western Digital says it needs fewer layers with its 3D NAND than others suppliers; and Samsung has introduced a cheaper PCIe gen 4 gumstick NAND drive.

LightBits adds snapshots and clones

Lightbits Labs has added snapshot and thin clone functionality to its LightOS software. The company supplies an NVMe SSD array accessed over NVMe/TCP to provide RDMA-class block data access latency and speed over vanillaTCP/IP networks.

LightOS already features thin provisioning, compression, high-availability and data protection. A Lightbits spokesperson told us most legacy vendors provide this functionality already. For customers and proponents of software defined storage over NVMe/TCP, this capability is new and it bolsters the overall value of this approach.

LightOS 2.2 lets users create space-efficient snapshots and clones. It supports up to 1,024 snaps and/or clones on a single volume, and up to 128,000 snapshots and clones per cluster. Making a read-only snapshot needs a few seconds and trace metadata only is retained. Changes applied to the parent volume are reflected in the snapshot in 4K blocks, with corresponding snapshot storage capacity usage.

For backup applications, snapshots can be scheduled, isolated from production workflows, and backed up reliably in the background. You can also quickly and easily revert/restore back to earlier snapshots as needed, helping to maintain operational uptime and Quality of Service (QoS) thresholds that might otherwise be compromised by data loss or corruption events.

Thin clones are writeable snapshots. They consume flash capacity with changes applied to the parent or the clone itself. Whereas 100 clones of a 10GB image would otherwise consume 1TB of storage, LightOS allows you to maintain the 10GB total storage footprint across all 101 images, allocating additional storage capacity to the 100 clones only as changes are applied.

Western Digital /Kioxia need fewer 3D NAND layers

Western Digital’s Srinivasan Sivaram, President for Technology and Strategy  claims WD and Kioxia need fewer 3D NAND layers than Micron, Samsung, and Sk hynix do, because they scale – shrink – their NAND in more directions. 

Presenting to an investor conference on March 18, he declared: “If you do not scale you perish. Scale or perish has been our mantra throughout in the flash industry.” When you scale the cost per bit decreases and new markets open up. 

Sivaram said that to “the lazy man, scaling is just adding more layers.” But only adding more layers is inefficient; it just adds more cost. The better way is if you laterally scale and use the vertical layering dimension as a lever, as a multiplier, then you can see greatly improved results.

He suggests that “when someone tells you, aha, I gotten … a 128-layer, 168-layer, 176 layers, you have to be careful. You ask, why are you a 128 layers, why can’t you do with less? This is what we have delivered with our BiCS5 generation. When the industry is saying a 128 layers, we get the same scaling through 112 layers with aggressive lateral scaling.”

Samsung adds DRAM-less PCIe gen 4 SSD

Samsung’s 980 NVMe SSD is a successor to its 970 EVO Plus and does away with an on-drive DRAM buffer, using instead a set-aside part of the host system’s memory; Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology. This overcomes any performance drawbacks of dumping the drive’s own DRAM, and makes it cheaper, the company says.

The 980 stops at the 1TB capacity point whereLIghtbits Labs, as the 970 EVO Plus went up to 2TB.

According to Samsung, the 980 has six times the speed of SATA SSDs. Sequential read and write speeds come in at up to 3,500 and 3,000 MB/sec, while random read and write performances are up to 500K IOPS and 480K IOPS respectively. A larger SLC buffer helps keep the write spreed high.

We have tabulated the main details for the 970 EVO Plus, the new 980 and 980 Pro and a comparison WF Blue SN550 drive.

Samsung says the 980 has up to 56 per cent better power efficiency compared to the previous 970 EVO, meaning improved laptop battery power time.

The 980 is available for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $49.99 for the 250GB, $69.99 for the 500GB and $129.99 for the 1TB version.


Gartner said Cloudian (HyperStore), Cohesity, Nutanix (Nutanix Files and Nutanix Objects) and Veritas (Enterprise Vault) have all been recognised as a 2021 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage. 

IDC has published its annual DataSphere and StorageSphere forecast reporting that In 2020, 64.2ZB of data was created or replicated. A revised model forecast that global data creation and replication will experience a 23 per cent CAGR over the 2020-2025 forecast period. IoT data (not including video surveillance cameras) is the fastest-growing data segment, followed by social media.

A Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 found that 58 per cent of backups fail leaving data unprotected. It says businesses are being held back by legacy IT and outdated data protection capabilities, and COVID-19 challenges.

Acronis has released Acronis DeviceLock DLP 9.0 to provide data loss protection for endpoints. It has integrated user activity monitoring, new analytic capabilities, and discovery support for Elasticsearch databases. Administrators can exercise granular control over allowable actions and processes while maintaining regulatory compliance and use built-in auditing and analysis tools.

Alluxio, a supplier of open source cloud data orchestration software, announced the integration of RAPIDS Accelerator for Apache Spark 3.0 with the Alluxio Data Orchestration Platform to accelerate data access on Nvidia computing clusters for analytics and AI pipelines. Validation testing of the integration showed 2x faster acceleration for a data analytics and business intelligence workload and a 70 per cent better ROI compared to CPU clusters.

DataStax today announced a collaboration with IBM to deliver DataStax Enterprise with IBM in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. DataStax Enterprise is scale-out NoSQL database built on open source Apache Cassandra.

Elastic has announced Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Elastic Cloud v7.12 with a frozen data tier, save search in background, autoscaling improvement and new instance types in Elastic Cloud.  Elastic Enterprise Search 7.12 has a new architecture. Elastic Observability 7.12 gets a new correlation capability in Elastic APM. Elastic Security 7.12 gets analyst-driven correlation and behavioural analysis in the Elastic Agent.

Hammerspace v4.6 is available in the AWS Marketplace and adds a Global File System with a single namespace across different geographical sites. Data and metadata can be replicated across these sites and data in global shares is available for read-write on multiple sites at the same time. Hammerspace can be deployed across different Availability Zones for data and access resilience within an AWS Region. V4.6 also has metering-enabled Consumption and Backup and Recovery.

Redstor has announced a scalable backup for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) purpose-built for Microsoft cloud partners to protect Kubernetes, Azure machines and M365 workloads. It allows IT administrators of all levels – not just Kubernetes experts – to protect and recover all data, including that held within Kubernetes clusters on Azure, in minutes. 

Object (and file) storage supplier Scality says it has a Container Storage Interface (CSI) compatible provisioning capability planned for RING SOFS. This will augment existing NFS v4/v3 and SMB 3.0 file protocols to provide automated volume provisioning from containerised applications running in Kubernetes. It see this as a requirement from existing customers and expects the trend to increase. Scality has updated its RING8 scale-out filesystem software adding high-availability business continuance and disaster protection, detailed utilisation metrics for billing and chargeback, improved speed and ease of use, plus support for the open-source Prometheus system monitoring tool and API.

SoftIron is introducing Ceph support services at, it says, highly competitive pricing and branded HyperSafe. Options include SoftIron Ceph Support Takeover – resuming services from a previously existing support vendor. They also include HyperDrive Migration from a legacy Ceph installation to SoftIron’s HyperDrive appliances, and emergency assistance.

Yellowbrick has appointed Jonathan Reid as iChief Revenue Officer. The company has a new Velocity Partner Network and has entered into a distribution agreement with Arrow Electronics.

Cloud backup and storage service supplier Backblaze  has appointed Mark Potter as Chief Information Security Officer.