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Fujitsu, Intel tilt at hyperscale storage with Ceph-powered arrays

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Fujitsu is taking another tilt at software-defined storage hardware by announcing that it's going to create a line of appliances that will combine Intel hardware with the Ceph file system.

The Japanese company was for some time the only server-maker to bother bundling NetApp's Virtual Storage Appliance. Virtual arrays have become rather more important in the years since, as have object storage and big data, and Fujitsu is now targeting all three markets.

All will be revealed at Intel's Developer Forum next week, but for now Fujitsu is telling us Xeon chippery will power its forthcoming storage nodes targeting big data applications. Chipzilla also has the disk gig: its solid state gewgaws are on the parts list.

The software-based distributed storage (SBDS for those on vowel austerity programs) will provide “new levels of scalability, flexibility and agility”, Fujitsu says. It's currently working with Intel to integrate Chipzilla's Virtual Storage Manager into the system for Ceph cluster management.

The Ceph system Fujitsu is using is its file system variant, which the project says provides a POSIX-compliant interface to its underlying object storage system for “virtually unlimited” storage.

Since Ceph is also part of the OpenStack project, Fujitsu is also hoping its solution will be attractive to OpenStack users. Other target markets will include cloud providers, financial institutions, and streaming users like media and broadcasting companies. And although customers can always roll-their-own Ceph deployments, Fujitsu is hoping that a pre-pack wrap-up will be more attractive.

It's not the only vendor to think that: back in April, Red Hat splashed US$175 million in the direction of lead developer Inktank as a buy-in to the Ceph ecosystem.

Chipzilla already ships plenty of Xeons to array-makers, to server-makers whose boxen are pressed into service as virtual storage arrays and to HPC types. Unless there's something extraordinary about Fujitsu's designs, there's nothing revolutionary here: just Intel making sure it can sell into lots of niches.

And NetApp? The game has moved on a very, very, long way since ONTAP-V. The Big Blue Staple's response to virtual arrays hinges on much, much, more than a past partner batting its eyelids in other directions. ®

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