Sanbolic Melio gains support for PCI Express flash, solid-state drives

With the new Latency Targeted Allocator module, Sanbolic Melio extends its storage management to server-side PCI Express flash and solid-state drives.

Sanbolic Inc. added a solid-state resource management module to its Melio software data management platform this week. The Latency Targeted Allocator module aggregates and pools server-side solid-state storage for high availability and volume management across hard drives and solid-state storage.

Sanbolic Melio is a virtual clustered file system and volume management suite that serves as an abstraction layer between hardware and data. The host-based software enables customers to access multiple virtual machines as one storage volume. The Latency Targeted Allocator (LTA) module is a new piece of the suite that adds support for server-side PCI Express (PCIe) flash cards and solid-state drives (SSDs).

"What we do with flash specifically is that we allow you to span a bunch of these cards [and disks] so you can build a storage pool from multiple cards [and disks] in different servers," said Momchil Michailov, CEO of the Waltham, Mass., company. "And not one single server becomes a single point of failure."

Sanbolic's LTA module can apply typical enterprise-array data protection tools -- such as snapshots, replication and live storage migration -- to server-side resources, and manage the entire storage infrastructure together.

"[Users] can take an existing spinning array and add solid-state or add server-side flash or solid-state disks, and weave them into that spinning disk infrastructure," Michailov said. "So, they get the benefits of solid-state speed and the large storage space of spinning disks."

Customers can also designate application service levels through the Melio platform, and the software will automatically choose the right storage media to meet the application's performance needs, Michailov said. The Melio LTA also helps users avoid vendor lock-in by decoupling the solid-state resources from the storage infrastructure. "You can pick any solid-state device and put it in front of an EMC or NetApp array right now and not even have to call those guys," he said.

Sanbolic calls Melio a "SoftSAN," but David G. Hill, principal analyst at the Mesabi Group, said it is really what vendors are starting to call "software-defined storage." "Sanbolic has been doing software-defined for quite a while," he said. "It's been ahead of the market."

To improve the performance of flash devices, Sanbolic is working with PCIe flash vendors Fusion-io, SanDisk and Virident to add caching capabilities to Melio, Michailov said.

The Melio LTA is available as a free module upgrade for Sanbolic customers with support contracts. The Sanbolic Melio platform is priced at $9,600, which includes one year of support.

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