On July 11, 2013, EMC Corporation announced that they had signed an agreement to acquire privately held ScaleIO. ScaleIO describes themselves as “a software-only solution that uses application hosts’ local disks to realize a virtual SAN that is comparable to or better than external SAN storage, but at a fraction of the cost and complexity”.
In essence, ScaleIO allows end-users to take the available capacity that would have otherwise been stranded in application servers to create a virtual storage network. The solution can take advantage of both traditional magnetic rotating hard disk drives (HDDs) or high performance solid state disks (SSDs).
This is a smart acquisition by EMC. Building on its legacy of creating high-performance storage solutions that have traditionally been connected to servers externally, EMC is now able to help its customers build virtual storage systems that leverage the (typically) under utilized capacity that is integrated in application servers.
One of the biggest problems associated with PCIe based flash solutions is that the flash capacity is only available to the server to which it is connected. A number of EMC’s flash competitors including Fusion-IO have attempted to build network connected storage systems by front-ending flash with a server. This is both inefficient, and somewhat defeats the purpose of having a low-latency ultra high performance storage medium in the first place.
With ScaleIO, Neuralytix expects EMC to created a distributed flash solution that can benefit both servers with PCIe flash (or integrated SSDs) while sharing these benefits with those servers without a flash solution.
The acquisition further emphasizes EMC’s commitment towards software defined storage solutions, and provides its customers with additional choice depending on their budgetary constraints, philosophical views towards storage technologies and most importantly various avenues towards the evolution of their storage architectures from traditional (maybe even monolithic) architectures to a much more modular and dynamic architecture that can adapt to changing needs of an enterprise.