Hammerspace: Other vendors are trying to copy us


Hammerspace says it is making such good progress that other vendors are trying to replicate its data orchestration technology.

Hammerspace’s Global Data Environment (GDE) provides a global namespace within which all of an organization’s file and data assets can be found, accessed and moved as required. It provides fast access to data. The GDE is not a storage repository, but a metadata-driven data catalog and orchestration layer of software that sits above file and object storage systems – both on-premises and in the public clouds.

Molly Presley, Hammerspace
Molly Presley

Molly Presley, SVP marketing at Hammerspace, told an A3 TechLive audience that she couldn’t identify competing vendors. “We don’t really have a direct competitor. It’s a new concept.” She admitted that, as a marketeer, that’s what she would say, but it’s true all the same.

Customers are realizing that they need some way of cataloging and orchestrating data when they have distributed and different data silos and need to tie them together. For example, they may need to move data from silo to silo between stages in a distributed workflow involving remote offices and have no easy means of doing that, apart from building their own software.

The whole data orchestration area is new. “There is no Gartner MQ for data orchestration,” and GigaOm is one of the few analyst groups looking at it.

Several vendors have file fabrics that link remote and central offices and the public cloud, such as NetApp’s data fabric and the cloud file services vendors like CTERA, Nasuni and Panzura, but they all have their own preferred silos. Whereas Hammerspace, not being a storage vendor, doesn’t have such a bias.

She said other suppliers draw Hammerspace into deals. “Azure pulled us in to several customers in Europe – to unify data across cloud regions, which it cannot do. We have strong local partnerships with Pure to unify data across multiple sites, which Pure does not have.” This is helping Hammerspace revenues. “We’re close to being cash-flow positive at this point. We’re in a very strong position with regard to growth.”

Some vendors recognize that Hammerspace’s technology is relevant, according to Presley. “We know for a fact other vendors are trying to build a technology like this … Weka is working on technologies like this [and] VAST is working on something like this.”

Jeff Denworth, VAST Data
Jeff Denworth

Which is true as far as VAST is concerned. It has just published a blog by CMO Jeff Denworth, entitled Our Biggest Software Release, Ever. This mentions new releases of VAST software which includes a a Catalog feature: “The VAST Catalog is an extension of the Element Store which now makes it possible for VAST clusters to catalog each and every file and object written into an extensible tabular format.”

This is needed because “the IT industry has been accustomed to the idea that structured, unstructured and semi-structured data stores should all be distinct only because no single system has been designed to achieve true data synthesis, until now. … Now users and administrators can tap into a powerful tool that provides global insight into their vast reserves of data with a fully synthesized and synchronized data catalog that requires no integration and where your catalog is never out of sync with your datastore.”

Then Denworth gets to the heart of its Hammerspace-like concept: “VAST clusters now also support the ability to share and extend snapshots to multiple remote clusters. Each remote site can mount another site’s snapshots and even make clones of this data to turn a snapshot into a read/write View. This capability lays the foundation for other work we will unveil, relating to building a global namespace from edge to cloud.”

Hammerspace would say it already has a a global namespace from edge to cloud, and one that is not limited to VAST storage clusters.

Global data catalogs and orchestration are becoming a pair of capabilities that large and distributed organizations are going to need more and more. Cloud file services players and hierarchical storage management suppliers are going to get pulled in that direction by their customers.