21 Nov Wozniak still aims to simplify: Now, all of enterprise storage
The latest bid to simplify data storage comes from a team that includes Steve Wozniak, a guy who knows a thing or two about making technology easier.
The co-founder of Apple has joined former colleagues from flash storage maker Fusion-io at Primary Data, a Silicon Valley startup that says it can put all of an organization’s storage capacity in a single virtual pool. The enterprise can keep the gear it already has and even take advantage of public cloud storage, while leaving it up to Primary Data’s software to allocate the right resources to each application, the company says.
Wozniak is chief scientist at Primary Data, just as he was at Fusion-io. There’s a world of difference between this and his most famous startup because there’s a ready-made market for simplified storage, he said in an interview. “It’s obvious where this is going to fit in,” Wozniak said.
Primary Data’s co-founder and CTO is David Flynn, who was CEO of Fusion-io until May 2013. Its CEO is Lance Smith, another former Fusion-io executive. Their former company was acquired by SanDisk earlier this year for US$1.1 billion. Wozniak took the stage with Primary Data on Wednesday at the Demo conference in San Jose as the company debuted.
While server virtualization has made computing more efficient and network virtualization is starting to do the same for communication, storage in many cases remains tied to specific hardware platforms. Existing vendors such as EMC are starting to offer tools to unify those systems virtually for easier management. Primary Data says it’s taken virtualization all the way.
The company’s software separates the control of data from the gear where it’s stored. All storage capacity, from cloud to server-based flash, becomes part of a single global data space that can be allocated as needed for high performance or high capacity, Smith said.
That virtual space can span block, object and file storage systems, keeping specific transport protocols such as Fibre Channel in place but treating all data as files. Instead of using a new protocol, Primary Data’s software is based on the widely used NFS (Network File System).