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A pair of NetApp/Topio bright young things with a dash of Storwize and XtremeIO have their very own virtual SAN startup, ScaleIO.

The idea - as with HP LeftHand's Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) and similar offerings - is to use a server's own disks, typically directly-attached, and group them with other servers' disks to form a virtual SAN minus an actual SAN's storage arrays and Fibre Channel connectivity fabric. Each server host provides both processing power and additional capacity.

ScaleIO's founder and Chief Technology Officer, according to his LinkedIn entry is Erez Webman with his time at ScaleIO starting in January 2011. Before that he was the chief architect at all-flash array startup XtremIO from November 2009 and technical director at NetApp from 2006 to 2009, coming in via the Topio acquisition where he was the Chief Architect. NetApp bought Topio for $160 million in November 2006, and closed down the Snap Mirror for Open Systems replication product based on its technology in December 2008.

ScaleIO's CEO is Boaz Palgi and his LinkedIn entry is coy, saying he works at "a software company" and has done since 2010. Before that he was the EMEA VP for Storwize, Topio business manager at NetApp, and EMEA director for Topio.

The business development manager is "Bam" Bamiyan Antonius Gobets, joining last September, and he describes SCcaleIO like this:

ScaleIO drastically reduces storage related TCO by leveraging application servers' internal disks which are deployed in a parallel scale-out design for a unified virtual SAN storage pool.

ScaleIO's website says it scales to thousands of nodes, is about to launch, and offers a free trial and a webinar to registered users. The registration confirmation page says you'll be contacted in 24 hours and has apparent but not real hot links for Products, Technology, Partners and Resources. None of them take you anywhere, drat it.

A Twitter presence talks about "Elastic storage that's as ubiquitous as RAM". A Citrix Product details site mentions vSAN with iSCSI access.

It looks like a LeftHand VSA with much greater scale. VSAs have been viewed as Noddy storage compared to proper SANs. Maybe ScaleIO will be Big Ears and not Noddy. We should hear more soon. ®

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