Datacenter Trends

VAST Data Unveils All-Flash Storage Architecture

With $80 million in funding raised, the startup is bent on hastening the death of the datacenter hard drive.

A New York-based storage startup emerged from stealth mode on Wednesday to unveil its new exabyte-scale data storage system built entirely from high-performance flash media.

VAST Data's Universal Storage system is designed to "break decades-old storage tradeoffs to bring an end to complex storage tiering and HDD usage in the enterprise."

This young company appears to be committed to the death of the datacenter hard drive. A slogan on its Web site (a take on Shakespeare) reads: "First we kill all the hard drives!"

And the company's pitch is compelling: "Enterprises can now consolidate applications onto a single tier of storage that meets the performance needs of the most demanding workloads, is scalable enough to manage all of a customer's data and is affordable enough that it eliminates the need for storage tiering and archiving."

The company bills its Universal Storage system as a new type of architecture, built from the ground up to exploit things such as NVMe over fabrics, storage-class memory (SCM) and low-cost QLC flash, which weren't available until 2018.

The result, the company said, is an exabyte-scale, all-NVMe flash, disaggregated shared-everything (DASE) architecture that breaks from the idea that scalable storage needs to be built as shared-nothing clusters. "This architecture enables global algorithms that deliver game-changing levels of storage efficiency and system resilience," the company said.

For datacenter operators, VAST offers "a datacenter in a rack, which uses its storage architecture to house dozens of petabytes in a single rack and provide significant reductions in the amount of floor space, power and cooling needed."

The company was founded in 2016 by current CEO Renen Hallak; Shachar Fienblit, vice president of research and development; and Jeff Denworth, vice president of products. Hallak served a research and development stint at XtremeIO, an early mover among all-flash-array startups. The company also announced that it has raised $80 million in two rounds of funding.

"Storage has always been complicated," Hallak said in a statement. "Organizations for decades have been dealing with a complex pyramid of technologies that force some tradeoff between performance and capacity. VAST Data was founded to break this and many other long-standing tradeoffs. By applying new thinking to many of the toughest problems, we are working to simplify how customers store and access vast reserves of data in real time, leading to insights that were not possible before."

The company is making its Universal Storage platform available in three ways: as a turn-key server and storage cluster appliance, as storage plus VAST container software that runs on customer machines, and as software only.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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