iXsystems’ open-sorcery – scale-out file/block/object HCI software

TrueNAS SCALE is an open-source and scale-out hyperconverged infrastructure software system announced by iXsystems, which has more than a million software deployments and more than 10EB managed by its FreeNAS and TrueNAS products.

Think of iXsystems as an alternative to IBM’s Red Hat business unit. Paid-for TrueNAS and no-charge FreeNAS software are both based on OpenZFS — an open source version of the ZFS file system. TrueNAS software is an alternative to proprietary file/block and object software and software/hardware systems. 

ESG senior analyst Scott Sinclair says: “[With] feature-rich storage that delivers scale-out performance and hyperconverged capabilities, TrueNAS SCALE is a significant entrant into enterprise-grade open source storage.”

iXSystems’ EVP Brett Davis emphasises the open source alternative story in his announcement quote: ”TrueNAS is enabling a new era in open storage data freedom for businesses in every sector that has requirements for reliable, secure, and agile data access that goes beyond the status quo.”

The product is based on the TrueNAS Enterprise software which can scale up to 20PB. TrueNAS SCALE is clusterable and can scale out to 2 exabytes. It provides both file (clustered SMB, Glusterfs) and object storage (S3 API with Minio) access.

“SCALE” is capitalised because it is an acronym — or perhaps an acrostic:

iXsystems graphic for TrueNAS SCALE.

The software has been in alpha and beta testing phases for a year, by more than 4,000 TrueNAS community members and has about 100PB under management. 

Applications can run on TrueNAS SCALE clusters as either KVM VMs, Docker containers, or Kubernetes pods. There are dozens of pre-tested and packaged applications including Plex, Nextcloud, HomeAssistant, and others. Application catalogs enable community contributions such as the free catalog of applications from Truecharts.org.

TrueNAS SCALE runs on the same platforms as TrueNAS CORE and TrueNAS Enterprise and allows for the migration of workloads. Customers can start with TrueNAS Enterprise and migrate to TrueNAS SCALE when their applications need scale-out capabilities.

TrueNAS SCALE is now available for ordering and shipping on a wide range of TrueNAS platforms, including the TrueNAS M-Series, R-Series, and even Minis. The upgradable and single or dual-controller M-Series starts from less than $15,000 with the M30 (24x 3.5-inch drive bays), and runs through the M40 and M50 to the top-end M60 product. This supports up to 20 PB and 20GB/sec on a single node, and 100 of them in a cluster supports 2EB of capacity.

The M-Series will will be developed to support high-availability (controller failover) in the first quarter of 2022.

TrueCommand v20, iXsystems’ management software, includes a cluster webUI for deploying larger TrueNAS SCALE clusters. Its features include granular stats collection, customisable alerts, predictive analytics, Role-Based Access Control capabilities, and auditing. TrueCommand can be deployed as a docker container or provided as a cloud service.