Fusion-io Buys UK-based ID7

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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ID7 gives Fusion-io software-defined storage for its flash-based campaign

Flash storage specialist Fusion-io has agreed to acquire ID7, a Cheshire-based firm which develops software-defined storage (SDS) technology and is the developer of SCST, a widely used open source storage software subsystem designed for Linux.

Utah-based Fusion-io, a long-time customer of ID7’s SCST offerings, said it became more familiar with ID7 when the two companies collaborated on the development of Fusion-io’s ION Data Accelerator software-based storage appliance.

Engineering expertise

Fusion-io said it decided to buy ID7 to add the company’s SCST expertise to its own ranks and integrate SCST more tightly into the ION Data Accelerator. The move also cuts Fusion-io’s costs, as it eliminates the royalties the company previously paid to ID7.

“ID7 has provided valuable contributions to the industry, making us excited to welcome them to our ION Data Accelerator team as we continue to grow our business with the expertise of many of the world’s most innovative engineers,” said Fusion-io chairman and chief executive David Flynn in a statement.

virtual machine network security browser web map © Sergey Nivens ShutterstockID7 said it will continue to maintain the open source version of SCST, and to actively contribute to the open source version.

The SCST software stack, implemented as a set of kernel drivers, is designed for high performance and high reliability, with features including replication, thin provisioning, deduplication, high availability, and automatic backup. It supports existing SCSI protocols including iSCSI, Fibre Channel and SRP (SCSI RDMA Protocol), as well as local storage interfaces such as SCSI pass-through, block I/O and file I/O.

SCST value

The stack is used in products offered by major storage vendors including EMC, HP and IBM, as well as smaller vendors such as InMage, Kaminario, Open-e, Qstar, Scale Computing and Starboard Storage Systems, as well as primary storage adapter makers such as Emulex, Marvell and Mellanox.

ID7’s SCST expertise will help Fusion-io in the development of SANs that network flash-based storage via Fibre Channel, Ethernet or Infiniband, according to the company. Fusion-io said it expects to integrate SCST’s advanced features into its own products during the course of this year.

Fusion-io has said it is looking to challenge the likes of storage giant EMC with its products based on software-defined storage, using the term to refer to storage systems based on off-the-shelf servers.

Large Internet companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon currently use such systems, based on massive grids of servers, but this model is not always practical for smaller organisations such as hosting and cloud providers, which widely rely on proprietary storage systems, according to Fusion-io. The company is looking to target this market by adapting the model used by the “hyperscale” users and providing high-end storage functionality on commodity hardware.

Software-defined networking

Software-defined storage is part of a wider move toward software-defined networking (SDN) in the data centre; the trend is toward virtualising storage, server, networking and security resources so that they can be defined by software and provisioned automatically.

The trend has received wide attention, particularly after VMware acquired SDN start-up Nicira last year for $1.26 billion (£830m).

The financial terms of Fusion-io’s acquisition of ID7 were not disclosed.

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