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Greenbytes crunches up ex-Apple man's Zevo ZFS

Flash array vendor gets Tens Complement

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Networked flash array vendor Greenbytes has bought Zevo ZFS for Mac from developer Tens Complement, and gained itself a new chairman, storage industry veteran Stephen O'Donnell.

Tens Complement was founded by ex-Apple engineer Don Brady and has been developing Zevo, a version of ZFS (Zettabyte File System) that was built for Mac's OS X.

ZFS is file system originally developed in 2004 by Sun Microsystems. Oracle thus has a ZFS Storage Appliance which uses its acquired Sun technology, and start-ups Nexenta and Coraid produce storage arrays that also use versions of ZFS.

At one time Apple planned to use Zevo ZFS in the Leopard and Snow Leopard versions of its Mac OS X operating system, but later decided not to adopt the technology. Brady was Apple's engineering lead guy on that project and started up Ten's Complement after the Apple project folded.

With GreenBytes effectively buying Ten's Complement, we can look forward to an improved version of GreenBytes' Solidarity flash array, which already uses ZFS. GreenBytes says it will continue with ZEVO ZFS and is now in charge of the future possibilities for the product and technology.

New chairman

GreenBytes has appointed virtualisation and storage guru O'Donnell as chairman of its board. O'Donnell also chairs the advisory boards of both flash array start-up Violin Memory and Rackwise, and he's CEO of Chalet Tech, a Big Data security firm. He has a lot of storage industry experience having been involved with ESG and having been global head of data centre operations at British Telecom in the past.

GreenByte's canned statement says O'Donnell "plans to work closely with the executive management team as the company continues to innovate and develop industry-leading optimisation solutions for virtual infrastructure."

O'Donnell's own quote said: "Information Technology stands at the crossroads of the growth of cloud computing and BYOC, combined with the solid-state data centre. GreenBytes is poised to be at the forefront of innovation as this critical market continues to mature."

"The solid-state data centre" implies all primary data, the actively accessed data needed by applications, will be stored on solid-state memory devices, either in the servers or networked to them. Disk drive arrays are then relegated to being data repositories for less active data and backups for the solid-state storage.

Flash storage paradigm shift

We are entering one of those fabled paradigm shifts. In this one primary data promises to migrate off fast-access disk drive arrays and onto purpose-built solid-state devices. How the disk-drive array vendors – which have had a literally fabulous run for two or three decades – negotiate this shift is going to be a constant backdrop to storage industry events for the next two to five years. The shift, of course, threatens to destroy one of their most profitable businesses.

EMC has its project Thunder to develop a network flash array using Lightning PCIe cache cards from its VFcache product. NetApp is going into flash storage memory – flash as an adjunct to main memory – in servers, and is actively telling everyone who will listen that the storage array's future is as a big fat data tube feeding server flash storage memory. There is no networked flash array role in this big picture as far as NetApp is concerned.

IBM could do things with its SAN Volume Controller. Dell has no networked flash array product that we know about and neither has HDS nor HP. El Reg thinks they are going to have to leap aboard the networked flash array train or get left behind. ®

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