Nexenta – the software layer in the middle

Thomas Cornely, Nexenta

IDC reveled a new report they did with EMC: In the digital universe today only 5% of the currently available data (4.4 Trillion GB) is analyzed. Imagine that in 2020 we have 10 times as much data! That’s 44 Trillion GB of data, people! How much is 1 Trillion GB? That’s a 1 followed by 12 zeroes…. Gigabytes, that is: 12 Trillion GB! Where does all this data come from? It’s the internet of things, like sensor data, meta data, but also the vast amount of data that people create these days. Think about what people do all day on their mobile devices using social media, higher resolution personal data like photos, but also more of this high-resolution data. You can imagine that the digital universe is exploding! And again: only 5% of that data is being analyzed today. Imagine what that means in the year 2020! This is what’s called big data: analyzing the vast amount of data so it becomes useful.

Generate, store, analyze, get value out of it

But to the companies that have this data it means it has to be stored somewhere, protected and even monitored so the value get be distilled out of it over time. Today volumes grows 60% per year and this has quite an impact on the storage infrastructure. IT organisations only get a budget of 2% per year, and the budgets aren’t even growing at all. A lot of IT departments have to deal with less budget. So what happens? Data is being stored on cheaper storage, servers are being virtualized. The economics of storage needs to be changed and software defined. Compute, networking, storage: Being flexible is what counts at Nexenta. You can’t get value out of the vast amount of data without going to software defined storage.

All well known vendors like EMC, Netapp, HP, IBM sell in fact industry standard hardware with slight differences in how data is managed, but they’re all based on standards, like RAID and parity and FC or iSCSI. The value of these solutions come from the software part of the solution: this is the software defined part, this is the added value.The “soft” part of the solution is where vendors can change and adapt to what customers want for the next 15 to 20 years. Protocols, flexibility, innovation, is what needs to be monitored closely. The software enables customers and vendors to adapt quickly to changing economics. Quick adaptation is important to be able to keep up to speed with the ecstraction of value from the data.

50% Savings

Nexenta says that up to 50% of the storage costs can be saved by smart usage of this software. Without slides I must admit I don’t know where this number comes from and I think it’s a bit bold to assume this rather exact number to be used as a general figure to aim for, but let’s say with smart software you can actually achieve a more economic usage of your hardware, this means companies can operate more efficient. Nexenta is doing exactly that now for a number of years (since 2008).

True software based

So what exactly is software defined? Nexenta is very strong (Sun) ZFS centered and based on industry standard hardware. They are a 100% software company and therefore highly flexible when changes or adjustments are necessary. They have reference architectures and customize environments for the end customer. With 5,000 customers they have about 1 Exabyte capacity under management of a software company with only 200 employees. They leverage other hardware providers to help governments, telecom companies managing their vast account of data. Nexenta is the software layer between the hardware, which now has become less important and these industry standard hardware vendors now have to fight for their business, their place on the market.

Industry standard hardware

Nexenta is channel based and delivers industry standard hardware with their software on top of it.

Nexenta Store

This offers a scale out solution to hundreds of PBs using industry standard storage from Dell for example.

Nexenta Connect

This is more targeted at large storage eco systems. Look at large VDI solutions: the problems appear on the back-end of the storage, so the all flash vendors make a profit out of that. Implementing smart software on the Hypervisor allows customers to pack up to 75% more desktops on the same infrastructure. And the response times improve 10x as well. At the moment Nexenta integrates with VMware with Hyper-V coming up soon.

Nexenta Edge

This is scale out object management of 10’s of TB’s to 100’s of Petabytes of configurations all in one system. Financial and enterprise customers

Nexenta Fusion

Provides a management and reporting layer over Nexenta Store, Connect and Edge. So now there is one company that rules it all. With the right software you leverage the existing industry standard hardware, creating opportunities to extract value out of the data you’re gathering!


Nexenta’s goal in life is going after the expensive storage systems and allowing companies to operate more economical with existing hardware.


Watch all SDDC 2014 video recordings at this Youtube channel or on Vimeo.

  1. Nexenta – the software layer in the middle - pingback on April 30, 2014 at 04:29

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