StorPool – A Toolkit for Cloud Application Providers

StorPool is a software defined storage solution targeted at cloud application and infrastructure providers. The software runs on a cluster of commodity servers, aggregating the internal storage of those servers into a shared volume. The solution, for now, is only compatible with Linux based systems. For many online application or cloud providers this should not be an issue.

What makes the StorPool solution unique is the flexibility that permeates every aspect of the product. For example, many converged solutions require a lockstep addition of storage and compute. Each time you need to add capacity or processing power you have to buy both, in the form of another server, fully loaded. Most data centers, especially service providers, don’t scale that way. There are times when they need to scale just the compute aspects of their infrastructures and others where they simply need more storage.

StorPool customers can use a converged infrastructure when the data center needs both compute and storage resources. But, if one is needed more than the other, the organization can add dedicated storage nodes or dedicated clients (hosts with no storage). This ability to mix and match between converged, dedicated compute or dedicated storage is rare.

Another example of flexibility is provided by StorPool’s API and integration layer. The company claims that they will have a web GUI in the future, but their current focus is providers. These organizations want a solution that can integrate into their workflows. Often, a GUI gets in the way of that goal. A strong API and integration layer allows providers to automate storage provisioning and gives them the means to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Recently StorPool added OpenStack integration, which may make it more appropriate for some enterprises since they can leverage that user interface.

Storage Swiss Take

It might be tempting to write off StorPool. They are, after all, not really ready for the enterprise, at least in terms of compatibility and interface. But for online application and cloud providers, StorPool sounds exactly like what they want from a storage solution. These organizations are often Linux only, don’t want to deal with a graphical interface, and want the flexibility to scale the way they need to scale at any moment in time.

At the same time the enterprise would do well to keep an eye on StorPool. When they support other operating systems and deliver a web based GUI, enterprises may too be interested in a high performance alternative to some of the current converged players on the market.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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