Storage news ticker – November 17

Commvault has appointed a new Area VP & GM of UK & Ireland: Stuart Abbott. It says he brings extensive experience to his new role, including leading both UK and Ireland accounts at Dell Technologies, and building the current Global Alliances business for EMEA at Dell Financial Services, plus previously working in partnership with multinational organisations including Capgemini and Atos.

Databricks vs Snowflake wars — round 3. Databricks now claims that Snowflake’s rebuttal of Databricks performance superiority in a TPC-DS Power benchmark run over Snowflake was wrong. A blog states: “We stand by our blog post and the results: Databricks SQL provides superior performance and price performance over Snowflake, even on data warehousing workloads (TPC-DS).” The blog claims Snowflake used a different (prefaced) dataset in its testing which skewed the results in its favour. When Databricks used the official TPC-DS dataset with Snowflake’s SWsoftwarethe result was worse than Snowflake’s number:

BSC is Barcelona Supercomputer Centre test result.

Databricks’ blogger writes: “We agree with Snowflake that benchmarks can quickly devolve into industry players ‘adding configuration knobs, special settings, and very specific optimizations that would improve a benchmark’. Everyone looks really good in their own benchmarks. So instead of taking any one vendor’s word on how good they are, we challenge Snowflake to participate in the official TPC benchmark.” Well … yes.

Datacentre composability supplier Liqid released a white paper with industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) to highlight the potential of technologies like its Matrix composable software as part of a sustainable ecosystem for next-generation applications such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI+ML), high-performance computing (HPC), cloud and edge computing environments to drive intelligent global infrastructure expansion.

Nebulon announced its smartIaaS infrastructure-as-a-service offering, designed to help cloud providers deliver new services at lower cost across both hosted and customer-owned datacentres. It also announced that UK-based service provider Inca Cloud has chosen smartIaaS with Supermicro as a part of its new cloud service: WSO by Inca. The service will be built for both hosted and private cloud deployments and will provide enterprises with a multi-cloud solution as an alternative to standalone Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure. As a reminder, Nebulon’s technology can streamline the costs of a CSP’s existing services by offloading all data services from the server CPU, memory, and network to Nebulon’s SPU (services processing unit) IO controller in each server. 

Fox Sports is using OpenDrives’ scalable NAS systems for NASCAR and NFL, and will be deploying it for Qatar 2022, the FIFA World Cup event. The two say OpenDrives provides a modular, portable system with a turnkey installation to dramatically reduce complexity, physical footprint and set-up time. A traditional architecture takes days or weeks to set-up while OpenDrives’ solution can be up and running in less than an hour. Using IP-based standard open protocols, OpenDrives integrates with best-in-class broadcast technology and data solution providers, including CMSI, EVS, Western Digital, Signiant, Google, Aspera and Arista, to serve as the centralised hub powering seamless onsite connections and real-time access to content.


There will be a SmartNICs Summit event at the San Jose DoubleTree Hotel from April 26–28, 2022. It will focus on network adapters that can process data and protocols faster. SmartNICs promise better networks with little extra cost or complexity. The Summit will feature vendor keynotes, expert tables and technology and market updates. It will also offer sessions on architectures, development methods and applications. And it will include panels on choosing the right adapter and long-term trends. Chuck Sobey, Summit chairperson, said: “The event will educate designers, present the state of the art and describe standards and open source projects.”

Big Data analytics supplier Vertica is partnering with NetApp to use its StorageGRID object system as an on-premises data source for its cloud-native analytics software. Vertica with NetApp StorageGRID has a fast multi-site, active-active architecture and can perform queries 10–25 times faster than conventional databases. Customers experience improved node recovery, superior workload balancing, and more rapid compute provisioning. Vertica says the separation of compute and storage architecture of Vertica in Eon Mode allows administrators to use NetApp StorageGRID as the main data warehouse repository or as a data lake.

Western Digital is shipping 20TB capacity Ultrastar DC HC560 and WD Gold disk drives with its OptiNAND technology. They use a 9-disk platform (2.2TB/platter) with a CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording) recording format — these are not shingled drives. Both drives have a SATA interface and spin at 7,200rpm. The Gold is “for use in enterprise-class datacentres and storage systems” while the DC HC560 is for “hyperscale cloud, CSPs, enterprises, smart video surveillance partners, NAS suppliers and more”. They overlap, in other words.