An Alternative Path to Storage Modernization – Coraid Briefing Note

Disruption is the hallmark of today’s storage industry. The steady maturation of new delivery models (cloud services), media (flash) and access protocols (NVMe) evidence the fact that legacy storage architectures are no longer sufficient. Businesses are turning to ever-growing data pools to innovate, to maximize customer and employee satisfaction, and to uncover other new competitive opportunities. As a result, the storage infrastructure must become more adaptable, more resilient, and more scalable.

With disruption and the need for change comes opportunity, and there is no shortage of new technologies, new solutions, and new vendors cropping up to address the need for storage infrastructure modernization. There is clearly no shortage of interesting solutions emerging, and Storage Switzerland’s conversations with buyers indicate open minds to working with new vendors and to trying new approaches.

Coraid VSX 8.1.0

Coraid, the storage brand of SouthSuite, Inc., is just such as solution. Coraid’s core technology, ATA over Ethernet (ATAoE), is effectively storage over Ethernet. The ATA protocol is transferred directly over Ethernet cabling, which accelerates performance and lowers overhead.

Coraid sells EtherDrive SRX-branded storage arrays. Coraid’s SRX software is licensed separately and also decoupled from underlying hardware, but is sold as a pre-integrated, turnkey appliance. This approach balances simplicity of deployment and support with the ability to more cost-effectively tailor the hardware to specific requirements, and to take advantage of existing infrastructure investments as well as new technological developments. The latter is a core component of the SRX value proposition; in fact, SRX arrays may be purchased without any internal storage at all, if the customer wants to transfer storage media from an old system to the new.

To enable this flexibility and to facilitate maximum performance from lowest-cost underlying hardware, Coraid’s arrays rely on the SRX operating system software to provide key storage features. SRX arrays are sold as single units that can logically address individual drives and create logical storage volumes. They are designed to be simple to install, update and manage, for instance by including remote login capabilities.

The most recent development from the Coraid team is an updated version of its VSX storage virtualizer, the VSX 8.1.0, which offers customers a way to scale beyond a single SRX system and adds a more holistic range of storage services. The updated platform is designed to aggregate SRX appliances into an elastic, scale-out architecture that can flexibly aggregate storage volumes and that applies enhanced thin provisioning to increase utilization.

Core to the VSX 8.1.0 value proposition is a redesigned high-availability protocol, which enables two VSX arrays to remain in direct communication for no single point of failure. Business continuity is further enabled by enhanced snapshot and remote disaster recovery capabilities.

StorageSwiss Take

From creating a “bring your own drive” architecture that empowers customers to optimize investment in storage hardware, to developing a new network protocol designed to unlock new levels of performance from that underlying storage media, Coraid’s innovation has always been closely tuned in to modern and evolving storage needs. The VSX 8.1.0 marks the next step in this innovation, most notably through providing more robust data services designed to maximize business continuity, and also through enhancing the ability to enable a more cloud-like experience on premises.

The Coraid approach is unique and offers a compelling option for storage buyers battling against the need to meet stringent data availability and performance service level agreements (SLAs), along with the need to continually optimize all investment dollars. Its key to broader adoption is amplifying this message in a differentiated way, in a competitive environment crowded with startups through large incumbent vendors also working to address similar pain points.

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Senior Analyst, Krista Macomber produces analyst commentary and contributes to a range of client deliverables including white papers, webinars and videos for Storage Switzerland. She has a decade of experience covering all things storage, data center and cloud infrastructure, including: technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her previous experience includes leading the IT infrastructure practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research, and leading market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

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