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Storage

OpenIO wants to turn your spinning rust into object storage nodes

Seagate's Kinetic drives get a new twist on ye olde JBOD

By Chris Mellor

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Frog object storage startup OpenIO is banging on with supporting Seagate’s Kinetic disk drives, and has certified its software on the drives in a Kinetic Plugfest.

Ethernet-addressed Kinetic disk drives implement a Get, Put-based object storage facility at the drive level and, Seagate says, this allows accessing systems to sidestep disk-based IO stacks to save money and simplify things.

Instead of having a set of object storage nodes, meaning x86 controllers, software and disk shelves, you have a JBOD stuffed with Kinetic drives, each with its own Ethernet port, and fitted with a drive-level controller and firmware/software to do the object storage processing needed.

A disk drive becomes an object storage node.

Seagate designed Kinetic drives for storing large-scale unstructured data. There is a Kinetic Open Storage Project, a Linux Foundation project, intended to develop an open standard around Kinetic devices. Project members include Cisco, Cleversafe (IBM), Dell (EMC), Digital Sense, Exablox, Huawei, NetApp, OpenIO, Red Hat, Scality, Seagate, SwiftStack, Toshiba and Western Digital.

OpenIO has announced Kinetic Open Storage certification for its storage software. The startup says Kinetic object storage “drastically simplifies the software and hardware stack, and reduces the management complexity of the storage platform … OpenIO technology and Kinetic Open Storage combined replace the usual x86 servers in the data centre.”

Laurent Denel, co-founder and CEO at OpenIO, opined in a canned quote: “OpenIO is a firm believer that the Kinetic drives are part of the future for datacenter technologies. … [This] very first step anticipates an even more disruptive evolution for OpenIO to be run as a server-less platform.”

We should envisage 1000s of nodes in a single object storage system. With 4TB Kinetic drives, 10,000 of them would provide 40PB of capacity. Seagate has 12TB helium drives coming, and that would, in Kinetic form, enable a 10,000-drive 120PB system.

OpenIO is multi-tired object storage software and says it can provide storage “for any application’s data access regardless of the storage tier”, including internal drives and SSDs, kinetic drives, hybrid storage cloud, etc.

We might, if we set our imagination really flying, think about Kinetic SSDs, and note, out in the wilder stretches of our thinking, that Seagate has demonstrated a 60TB SSD. So 10,000 of these, in Kinetic form, would mean … 600PB?

OpenIO's certification is nice news for Seagate but what would be nicer still would be IBM (Cleversafe), Dell (EMC) and NetApp support. We'll know Kinetic drives really have a future when the incumbents back it. ®

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