Despite the ever increasing acceptance of the cloud, an undeniable reality is most organizations will have data they will never put into the cloud. At the same time these organizations “get” the value of an elastic storage infrastructure that they don’t have to manage. But for a provider to deliver storage as a service to a single location creates economic, performance and support challenges. Providers need to overcome those challenges to offer a competitive alternative to the cloud or traditional on-premises storage. Igneous has a unique S3 compatible storage solution that it feels overcomes all of these challenges, allowing it to deliver on-premises cloud storage that customers buy in a similar fashion to public cloud storage.
Meeting the On-Premises Storage as a Service Challenge
All of the challenges an on-premises storage as a service solution faces center around one factor: lack of scale. One data center does not typically allow the traditional cloud storage design to reach enough scale for it to meet the performance and cost expectations that IT professionals have of cloud storage.
The problem is lack of granularity in scale and protection. Most private cloud (object or S3) storage systems are a cluster of individual storage servers, called nodes, with internal capacity that are aggregated into a single storage pool. When more capacity or performance is needed, administrators add an additional server to the cluster. But that means each expansion needs an entire server, which is likely overkill if you need only a small increase in either performance or capacity. It also means the failure of a one or two drives within that server impacts the entire server thus bringing it offline. The cluster then loses all of the remaining capacity and performance that the server had available.
From an “as a service” perspective the lack of granularity means the provider will need to dispatch personnel too frequently. Not only is this is a cost issue but also an access issue. Remember in this use case, the provider does not have full access to the data center like a public cloud provider does to its service.
The Igneous Solution
Igneous meets these challenges by making the point of scale more granular. As you can see in the pictures, they put the compute ON THE DRIVE. That means each drive has its own compute and ethernet connectivity. This provides plenty of performance and bandwidth for the customer and allows Igneous not to have to deploy a service technician every time a few drives fail within a server. Igneous uses JBOD chassis to store these “nodes” and each drive is independent of the other drives.
Rethinking Hybrid Cloud
The Igneous system is native S3, which means that any storage operations that work on it will also work in the Amazon cloud. Igneous essentially re-positions how an organization should look at cloud storage, instead of cloud storage being a final destination point, organizations should look at it more temporal. For example, if there is a sudden spike in capacity needs IT can store data in the cloud until it gets more on-prem capacity. Or even more interesting: data can be pushed to the cloud to leverage cloud compute and then pulled back to the data center after completion of the task.
Igneous is solving a problem that we think has plagued scale-out architectures for quite sometime: Lack of granularity in the way they scale. The ability to make each drive in the architecture essentially a storage node should deliver a massive performance improvement and allow Igneous to offer a very cost competitive storage as a service solution.