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OpenStack Startup Series #2 – StorPool

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OpenStack Startup Series #2 – StorPool

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Introduction

StorPool, a distributed storage startup is next in our podcast series on OpenStack startups.  StorPool was founded in 2011 by Boyan Ivanov, Boyan Krosnov and Yanko Yankulov with the goal of enabling simpler, cheaper and efficient storage on commodity servers. StorPool is head quartered with most of its employees in Bulgaria and  offices  presence in US and UK. They have raised modest amount of funding through seed level rounds of funding. We met with Boyan Krosnov to learn more about StorPool.

Why StorPool?

StorPool provides simple, efficient, high performing scale out block storage on commodity hardware. It enables different QoS  and intelligent placement without the need for any special hardware. It is also more scalable and flexible without the need for any special configuration such as RAID.

OpenStack Connection

StorPool supports multiple flavors of Linux and Linux based virtualization technologies, including LXC. StorPool supports OpenStack through their Cinder driver which is under development for Kilo release. They were also one of the startup sponsors of the OpenStack Paris Summit and will be sponsoring again the Vancouver Summit. Please check them out at Boot # T68.

Boyan felt that the contributing to OpenStack code base was challenging, given how complex and big the OpenStack software is. He also felt that startups could get more help around OpenStack certification process  It is important to note tha t since StorPool were NOT able to get their driver upstream within six months.

Customers

Currently hosting providers are the primary customers for StorPool, followed by Dev/Test use cases among software/ SaaS providers. They are also seeing more interest from media customers in private cloud environments.

Pricing Model

Boyan explained their pricing model and recommended how customers should consider the total cost of ownership vs isolated costs of infrastructure. Also, it is important not to consider only incremental costs, rather effective costs. Consider the example of adding additional storage disks. If it incurs additional 20% cost but results in doubling storage capacity, effective cost per GB of storage only  actually decreases by 40%.

With their current pricing model, effective cost (including hardware and software licenses) on an SSD grade system is about $2.5 per GB. Cost of raw storage on SSD is about $1 per GB. For SATA disks, it is much cheaper – about 1/3rd of these  the SSD prices.

Challenges

As any storage startup would face, StorPool needs to support a plethora of use cases. Variations in the type of hardware devices and configurations increase the support matrix. They are mitigating this by identifying top use cases to address, such as hosting providers and Dev/ Test use cases.

Being a small startup, StorPool lacks the visibility among plethora of SDX providers. Finally, as a proprietary software provider, StorPool lacks a large user base which being an open source software might provide.

Useful Links

Please find an overview of their offerings here and technical overview here. You can also find interesting performance test results and case studies here. You can sign up for a free trial here.

Summary

StorPool provides simple, efficient and high performing storage solution without the need for special hardware. Based on some of their performance tests, they seem to perform better than competing solutions. Though these tests need to be verified independently, StorPool’s technology has strong indications to differentiate them in a crowded SDS space.

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Published at DZone with permission of Sriram Subramanian, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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