Storage news ticker – April 11

Reuters reports that AWS has lost an S3 and Dynamo DB patent infringement case brought by Kove IO. The jury awarded Kove $525 million. The case took place in an Illinois federal court and was initiated by Kove in 2018, alleging that AWS violated three of its patents for its in-house software inventions: US Patent No. 7,103,640, entitled “Network Distributed Tracking Wire Transfer Protocol”; US Patent No. 7,814,170, entitled “Network Distributed Tracking Wire Transfer Protocol”; and US Patent No. 7,233,978, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Managing Location Information in a Network Separate From the Data to Which the Location Information Pertains.” They relate to systems and methods for managing the storage, search, and retrieval of information across a computer network. AWS will appeal this jury decision. Kove has separately sued Google for infringing its patents.

Cloud storage provider Backblaze has joined the US Trusted Partner Network and achieved Blue Shield Status – a security initiative wholly owned by the Motion Picture Association. The Trusted Partner Network provides content creators and service provider partners with standardized methods to share critical security status specific to the industry. To achieve Blue Shield status, TPN members submit self assessments of their security posture which interested companies can then review when assessing their product or service.

BackupLABS, which offers protection for SaaS apps like including GitHub, GitLab, and Trello, has added coverage of Atlassian Jira and Notion backup. It will be adding more apps to protect over the next few months and is currently looking at Zendesk, Microsoft Entra, and Asana. It has also added additional features such as 2FA, audit trails, multiple backups, longer retention, and more.

Cohesity says IBM is joining Nvidia as a strategic Cohesity investor, completing a $150 million F-round of fundraising. This takes Cohesity’s total funding to $955 million, making it possibly the highest funded storage startup ever. It is notable that this funding was announced after news of Cohesity’s acquisition of the main Veritas data protection business. IBM also integrated Cohesity capabilities with its cyber resilience platform to strengthen joint customers’ ability to recover from data breaches and cyber attacks, bringing together Cohesity DataProtect with IBM’s Storage Defender offering to help joint customers protect, monitor, manage, and recover data.

Cohesity has partnered with Intel to bring its confidential computing capabilities to the Cohesity Data Cloud via the Fort Knox cyber vault service. Confidential computing enabled by Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) will enable Cohesity customers to reduce the risk posed by potential bad actors accessing data while it is being processed in main memory. The Intel and Cohesity setup will protect encryption keys that secure customer data in a hardware-secured environment, leveraging Intel SGX for confidential computing in the cloud. The data is not viewable or downloadable by any privileged accounts when the data is being processed in memory as it is encrypted. Cohesity customers can verify that their Intel SGX is legitimate by using Intel Trust Authority, which has the latest patches and only runs the dedicated Cohesity application before extracting the data encryption key. 

Storage exec Ashley Baird, Commvault
Ashley Baird

Commvault has appointed Ashley Baird as its VP and MD of Market Expansion into the hyperscaler area. Curiously, Baird will also serve as chief of staff to Commvault’s president and CEO, Sanjay Mirchandani. Baird issued a statement: “Commvault has helped thousands of companies accelerate their transition to the cloud, where data protection, security, and resilience are key. I look forward to working closely with cloud providers to extend our partnerships while helping customers advance their cyber resilience in the ransomware era.”

Lakehouse supplier Databricks announced its Data Intelligence Platform for Energy, a unified AI platform. It enables enterprises to harness vast streams of energy data and develop gen AI applications without sacrificing data privacy or their confidential IP. It offers offers packaged use case accelerators designed to jumpstart the analytics process and offer a blueprint to help organizations tackle industry challenges:

  • LLMs for Knowledge Base Q&A Agents – Easily build an LLM-powered chatbot with Databricks that is pretrained with industry context and a customer’s knowledge base to offer an elevated, personalized experience to end users;
  • IoT Predictive Maintenance – Ingest real-time Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) data from field devices and perform complex time-series processing to maximize uptime and minimize maintenance costs;
  • Digital Twins – Process real-world data in real time, compute insights at scale and deliver to multiple downstream applications for data-driven decisions;
  • Wind Turbine Predictive Maintenance – Analyze wind farm productivity and predict faulty wind turbines through a mix of AI/ML and domain-specific models;
  • Grid-Edge Analytics – Optimize energy grid performance and prevent outages by unifying data from various IoT devices and training a fault detection model to easily spot and address anomalies;
  • Real-Time Data Ingestion Platform (RTDIP) – Enables optimization, surveillance, forecasting, predictive analytics, and digital twins with a cloud-native open source framework focused on data standardization and interoperability.

Read a blog to find out more.

DataStax says it’s one of the first Google Cloud Platform partners to integrate with Vertex AI, with Astra DB API extensions to Google Cloud’s Vertex AI Extension and Vertex AI Search. This makes it easier for developers working in Python, JavaScript, and Java to build and scale up generative AI and RAG applications. Using these integrations, DataStax developed a generative AI application called Fashion Buddy – a fashion recommendation app that utilizes the Gemini Pro Vision foundation model in Vertex AI. It also spun up NoSQL Assistant – a customer support chatbot that harnesses Vertex AI’s text-embedding model and Astra DB’s vector search to deliver precise answers. Read a blog to find out more.

Dremio, the unified lakehouse for self-service analytics and AI supplier, has unveiled capabilities that include ingestion, processing, and migration. They simplify the process of building and managing an Apache Iceberg data lakehouse. By automating Iceberg management processes, Dremio reduces TCO, enhances data team productivity and improves overall time-to-insight. They are available immediately.

MRAM supplier EverSpin announced a new PERSYST brand name for its persistent memory product family. EverSpin’s legacy toggle MRAM parallel and serial products, 1Gb ST-DDR4 and new EMxxLX xSPI Industrial STT-MRAM will use the PERSYST brand.

Index Engines announced CyberSense v8.6, supporting smarter recovery from ransomware attacks, customizable threshold alerts to proactively detect unusual activity, and AI-powered detection of ransomware-based data corruption to accelerate recovery. It claims this update provides all the information needed to support a curated recovery of clean data quickly and efficiently to resume normal business operations. The threshold alerts are based on metadata and content changes to files and can be created based on the quantity or percentage changes of modified files, altered file type, added or deleted files, or entropy/encryption across any host. They allow for the generation of alerts when specific files exhibit unusual behavior.

CyberSense 8.6 has a CyberSensitivity Index (CSI), the AI-powered brain behind CyberSense, which measures normal activity vs probable data corruption from ransomware. The CSI has been trained on thousands of variants and hundreds of millions of datasets to detect signs of data corruption caused by ransomware with 99.5 percent accuracy. The CSI is now available for users to monitor and, optionally, adjust based on the needs of individual hosts. 

CyberSense 8.6 also supports the RHEL 9.2 (LTS) operating system and VMFS file systems, and has a revamped user interface. CyberSense 8.6 is available now to Index Engines strategic partners. Their implementation and release schedules may vary.

High-end storage array supplier Infinidat announced a strategic partnership with global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). It builds on an existing partnership and will focus on new services that TCS will provide to augment Infinidat’s InfiniBox and InfiniGuard systems. As they both sell to the Forbes Global 2000, TCS and Infinidat already share some of the same enterprise customers across industries –including financial services, insurance, retail, biomedical, and manufacturing. Erik Kaulberg, VP of Strategy and Alliances at Infinidat, declared: “We are excited to expand the strong business we have with TCS and our joint customers, opening the aperture more broadly for our step-change capabilities, including cyber resilience, AI-powered automation, ease of use, high availability, and storage consolidation. Customers can use the combination of TCS services and Infinidat storage to free up IT budget and resources, allowing them to focus on higher-level areas such as generative AI.”

SaaS data protector Keepit, which stores backup data in its own datacenters, is opening two bit barns in Switzerland, based in Equinix colos and its first ones there. They will enable Keepit to comply with Swiss laws and regulations for businesses inside and outside Switzerland. Keepit also has datacenters in Germany, Denmark, UK, US, Canada, and Australia. Keepit provides Backup-as-a-Service for SaaS platforms such as Microsoft 365, Entra ID, Azure DevOps, Power Platform, Dynamics 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, and Zendesk.

Micron issued an SEC 8K form today with an update around the expected impact of the recent Taiwan earthquake on DRAM output. It currently estimates that the earthquake will result in an impact of up to a mid-single digit percentage of a calendar quarter’s company-level DRAM supply.

Micron low-power double data rate 5X (LPDDR5X) memory, Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 3.1, Xccela flash memory and quad serial peripheral interface NOR (SPI-NOR) flash have been pre-integrated for the latest generation of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon automotive solutions and modules – including the Snapdragon Cockpit Platform, Snapdragon Ride Platform and Snapdragon Ride Flex System-on-Chip (SoC), all of which are intended to handle the increasing requirements of modern and future workloads for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Open source object storage software supplier MinIO has hired Mark Khavkin as its CFO. Current CFO and co-founder Garima Kapoor becomes the co-CEO with current CEO and co-founder Anad Babu Periasamy. Khavkin brings more than 15 years of experience, most recently serving as the CFO of Pantheon Systems, where he helped lead the company’s growth from $10 million to more than $100 million in ARR, with an associated increase in valuation to over $1 billion. A MinIO spokesperson explained that the AI ecosystem is exploding and MinIO is taking advantage of the market opportunities presented by the revolution in large scale AI data infrastructure. It’s adding Mark as CFO because he brings 15+ years of experience in enterprise tech, that will be invaluable in helping scale financially and operationally to meet the requirements of its growing enterprise customer base.

Startup PeerDB, which supplies a data movement platform for PostgreSQL, has received $3.6 million in seed round funding. Investors in the round include lead investor 8VC, Y Combinator, Wayfinder Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Flex Capital, Rogue Capital, Pioneer Fund, Orange Collective and several angel investors. PeerDB will use the funds to continue building its engineering team, propelling its go-to-market and client acquisition initiatives and supporting its growth. PeerDB revenue is doubling every two months.

Storage exec Jason Feist, Seagate
Jason Feist

According to Jason Feist, SVP of Product and Marketing at Seagate since December 2023, while flash offers latency advantages and prices dropped temporarily, SSDs haven’t – and never will – replace HDDs. Datacenter operators will continue to need both. He says that those who argue flash will overtake and replace hard drives are ignoring some key facts:  

  • Price: SSD and HDD pricing will not converge at any point in the next decade. According to IDC, the price-per-TB difference between enterprise SSDs and HDDs is projected to remain at or above a 6 to 1 premium through at least 2027. [B&F, which has no skin this game, thinks that leaves 2028–2034 in which prices could converge.]
  • Replacement: Swapping out HDDs for SSDs requires untenable capex investments. HDDs are far more cost efficient at delivering zettabytes to the datacenter, which is why they are still responsible for 90 percent of datacenter storage needs. [B&F: But if SSD cost premium is lowered and SSDs cost less to power and cool per TB than HDD then capex could be justified.]
  • Storage needs: Enterprise storage architecture calls for storage that optimizes cost, capacity, and performance for different workloads. HDDs and SSDs serve different needs and only a small percentage of workloads require the low latency advantages of flash. [B&F: But if SSD cost premium is lowered and SSDs cost less to power and cool per TB than HDD then the not-all-workloads-require-low-latency argument is moot.]

We aim to interview Jason to find out more.

Chinese HCI supplier SmartX says a Gartner-issued Market Guide for Full-Stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software calls it a representative full-stack HCI vendor along with the usual suspects such as Broadcom-VMware and Nutanix:

Gartner HCI list

The Gartner analysts observe: “The SmartX HCI installed base exists primarily in APAC countries such as China and Korea. SmartX HCI is targeted as a means to optimize virtualization, disaster recovery, remote-office, branch-office, edge and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
implementations, as well as cloud-native and AI infrastructure.”

SQL-based GPU data analytics platform supplier SQream announced an “in-database model training” feature, to enable customers to use its product as both an integrated analytics platform as well as a machine learning model trainer. It says in-database model training benefits include minimized time to insight, faster ingestion, and preparation of large-scale datasets, enhanced model accuracy and precision – all meaning, it claims, more valuable insights. By using the power of SQL accelerated by GPUs to train models directly within the database, SQream says it maximizes efficiency in machine learning operations and frees up organizations’ valuable resources.

Open data lakehouse supplier Starburst has a fully managed Icehouse implementation on its multi-cloud Galaxy data lakehouse service. Starburst’s Icehouse builds on the Trino SQL analytics, governance, and auto-scaling capabilities in Starburst Galaxy, and adds new support for near-real-time data ingestion at petabyte-scale into managed Iceberg tables. The Icehouse architecture underpins some of the most sophisticated lakehouses on the planet – including those at NetflixAppleShopify, and Stripe. With this, it claims, customers can benefit from the scalability, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a combined Trino and Iceberg architecture (Icehouse) without the burden and cost of building and maintaining a custom setup themselves. Additional information here.

Cloud object storage provider Wasabi has introduced Wasabi AiR – AI-enabled intelligent media storage with metadata auto-tagging and multilingual searchable speech-to-text transcription. Video files uploaded to Wasabi AiR are immediately analyzed and a second-by-second  metadata index is created. This reduces the cost of metadata creation – customers pay only for the storage and there is no additional charge for use of the AI. The functionality is based on technology Wasabi obtained when it bought Curio AI.

Israeli software RAID supplier Xinnor is rebranding its kernel-space RAID implementation to xiRAID Classic, while introducing xiRAID Opus (Optimized Performance in User Space), based on the SPDK framework and operating in user space. In parallel with the launch of xiRAID Opus, xiRAID Classic has received a significant update to version 4.1. This release reaffirms xiRAID Classic’s position as the go-to solution for Linux kernel block devices. By operating in user space, Opus offers a streamlined and independent setup compared to Classic, which relies on kernel dependencies. This architectural variance enables Opus to adapt more readily to system updates and simplifies maintenance as it does not require compatibility adjustments with kernel updates.

Opus boasts a broader array of integrated functionalities, including built-in features such as NVMe initiator, NVMe over TCP/RDMA, iSCSI target, and Vhost controller. These features facilitate direct connectivity to modern storage technologies, without relying on external components, enhancing efficiency and flexibility in networking and virtualization scenarios. Additionally, Opus is compatible with Arm architectures, allowing its deployment on Arm-based DPUs like BlueField3 from Nvidia.