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EMC snaps up Israeli soft-storage startup

Could a creature with a thousand ARMs be on the cards?

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Another Iraeli storage startup, ScaleIO by name, has reportedly been scooped up by EMC for an estimated $200 - $300 million.

ScaleIO makes Elastic Converged Storage, ECS virtual SAN software. A VSAN turns direct-attached storage on one or more connected servers into a shared block-level access storage resource pool, a virtual storage appliance (VSA). EMC Makes SAN storage arrays, such as VMAX and its VNX line. The beauty of a VSA is that you don't have to buy a storage array. The downside is that it is capacity-limited, and a lot of server CPU cycles are used up operating it as well as server network bandwidth.

A VSA, by the way, is pure software-defined storage with no storage array lock-in.

ScaleIO's edge, it says, is that unlike other VSAs, its ECS is enterprise-class: meaning it can support and work with thousands of servers, and cope gracefully with surrounding infrastructure changes, rebalancing data across the grid of servers. It also has high resiliency, uses a parallel architecture, and has storage quality-of-service (QoS) attributes.

ScaleIO was started up in 2011 by Erez Webman, currently its CTO. We hear he was a chief architect at XtremeIO before EMC bought that company in May last year for $430 million. There's another EMC connection: Ex-Data Domain CEO Frank Slootman is an investor in ScaleIO. The company has a Palo Alto facility as well as its Israeli base and has received about $12 million in funding. It's a quick exit for the VCs who get a lovely payday.

ECS runs on x86, ARM and other processor chipsets. How about the idea of a thousand-ARM VSA storage server nodes? Think of that kind of number of VSA storage nodes also running upper-level storage-related software, such as analytics or a SQL operation - scale-out storage and compute engines. In this sense an EMC ScaleIO product set could compete with Nutanix which also converges compute and storage in a single appliance.

El Reg views the acquisition as EMC aiming to offer enterprise customers the option of storage running as a managed and operated set of software-based services instantiated on third-party hardware, alongside its own array-based offerings. ®

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