Nebulon reveals first public customer win for service processing unit tech

Startup Nebulon has announced for the first time a customer win for its storage processing unit-based smartCore infrastructure. The client – South African MSP SYSDBA – said choosing Nebulon was a “no-brainer.”

The Service Processing Unit (SPU – originally called a Storage Processing Unit) is a PCIe card added to a server and controlled through the public cloud to provide server infrastructure management, offloading mundane infrastructure management from the server’s CPU cores. This means the server can run more application code and the infrastructure housing it can be managed more efficiently; that’s the Nebulon pitch for its smartInfrastructure-branded products.

The Nebulon SPU.
Marc Pratt

Marc Pratt, Strategic Alliances Manager at SYSDBA, provided a canned quote: “The fact that Nebulon smartInfrastructure can be provisioned, managed and maintained from anywhere gives significant flexibility in terms of control. What made Nebulon even more attractive, however, was the fact that we cut our costs in half versus purchasing disaggregated storage and compute solutions.”

He added: “Because the solution doesn’t consume any server CPU, memory, or networking resources like hyper-converged infrastructure alternatives, we are able to use 100 per cent of our server for the applications we run. Based on this alone, choosing Nebulon was a no-brainer.”

SYSDBA has deployed a bunch of HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 servers with Nebulon smartInfrastructure to host its customer environments and internal operations. It says it can now control its environment from anywhere and reduce infrastructure maintenance efforts through behind-the-scenes (delivered from the cloud in the background) software updates. These features can be critical for certain customers in Africa who may lack skilled resources to manage large infrastructures as well as others located in areas with difficult or limited access.

Nebulon started up in 2018 and announced its first product in June last year. There is no other equipment quite like it, and it partially overlaps the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), SmartNIC and Data Processing Unit (DPU) markets as well as rendering storage arrays redundant.

In essence it has a new product category positioning problem, and so the first public customer win is a big deal.

Nebulon co-founder and CEO Siamak Nazari said: “Service providers like SYSDBA rely on solutions to help them address key time-to-value and management challenges they experience in their core and hosted data centres. With Nebulon smartInfrastructure, not only can they address these challenges, but they can save infrastructure costs doing it.”