Start-up Seanodes is touting technology that congregates the direct-attached disks on x86-based application servers into pools of storage so they can be managed better and achieve higher utilization.
Seanodes -- named after a 'sea of server nodes' -- is unveiling Exanodes, a software-based clustering product that installs on each server and virtualizes its RAM disk, external direct-attached storage, internal disk or solid-state block-level storage.
Exanodes creates a shared volume from the internal disks of the application server. It then layers a shared file system such as Red Hat GFS over it to virtualize the environment. The Exanodes system uses the Gigabit Ethernet network, InfiniBand or Fibre Channel as its interconnect.
Nodes can be added and removed from the network without affecting the operation of the Exanodes cluster.
In an Exanodes cluster, the system supports as many as 16 concurrent disk failures at the same time. Seanodes claims that in the event of a disk failure, it takes under 40 minutes to rebuild a 1TB disk.
Founder Christophe Guittenit says Seanodes was founded to manage the previously unmanaged block-level application data that resides on Linux servers. Two packages that work on Windows servers and virtual machine environments are under development.
The company is targeting high-performance cluster environments, although its capability could be used to advantage in businesses that want to archive data.
"Seanodes is interesting technology that can be used for a variety of different purposes," says Greg Schulz, senior analyst with Storage I/O. "The ability to rescue and reclaim direct-attached storage and make it available for other applications is interesting, but is that going to be compelling enough for businesses to say 'I have all this internal storage, why don't I use it. For some customers it will be."
"If you are in the midst of migrating storage, you want to get your primary storage off onto a NAS or SAN array," says Schulz. "With Seanodes, you could take those direct attached disks and store secondary data and archive it."
Seanodes was founded in December 2002 by Christophe Guittenit, formerly a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Frank Gana, a former investment banker. The company is funded for an undisclosed amount and has 25 employees
Exanodes is priced on the number of servers and capacity under management. The product is expected to be available the first of next year.