Early last week, I had a catch up with my friend. He was excited to share with me the new company he just joined. It was ProphetStor. It was a catchy name and after our conversation, I have decided to spend a bit of my weekend afternoon finding out more about the company and its technology.
From another friend at FalconStor, I knew of this company several months ago. Ex-FalconStor executives have ventured to found ProphetStor as the next generation of storage resource orchestration engine. And it has found a very interesting tack to differentiate from the many would-bes of so-called “software-defined storage” leaders. ProphetStor made their early appearance at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong back in November last year, positioning several key technologies including OpenStack Cinder, SNIA CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface) and SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) to provide federation of storage resources discovery, provisioning and automation.
The federation of storage resources and services solution is aptly called ProphetStor Federator. The diagram I picked up from the El Reg article presents the Federator working with different OpenStack initiatives quite nicely below: There are 3 things that attracted me to the uniqueness of ProphetStor.
1. The underlying storage resources, be it files, objects, or blocks, can be presented and exposed as Cinder-style volumes.
2. The ability to define the different performance capabilities and SLAs (IOPS, throughput and latency) from the underlying storage resources and matching them to the right application requirements.
3. The use of SNIA of SMI-S and CDMI Needless to say that the Federator software will abstract the physical and logical structures of any storage brands or storage architectures, giving it a very strong validation of the “software-defined storage (SDS)” concept.
While the SDS definition is still being moulded in the marketplace (and I know that SNIA already has a draft SDS paper out), the ProphetStor SDS concept does indeed look similar to the route taken by EMC ViPR. The use of the control plane (ProphetStor Federator) and the data plane (underlying physical and logical storage resource) is obvious.
I wrote about ViPR many moons ago in my blog and I see ProphetStor as another hat in the SDS ring. I grabbed the screenshot (below) from the ProphetStor website which I thought did beautifully explained what ProphetStor is from 10,000 feet view.
The Cinder-style volume is a class move. It preserves the sanctity of many enterprise applications which still need block storage volumes but now it comes with a twist. These block storage volumes now will have different capability and performance profiles, tagged with the relevant classifications and SLAs.
And this is where SNIA SMI-S discovery component is critical because SMI-S mines these storage characteristics and presents them to the ProphetStor Federator for storage resource classification. For storage vendors that do not have SMI-S support, ProphetStor can customize the relevant interfaces to the proprietary API to discover the storage characteristics.
On the north-end, SNIA CDMI works with the ProphetStor Federator’s Offer & Provisioning functions to bundle wrap various storage resources for the cloud and other traditional storage network architectures.
I have asked my friend for more technology deep-dive materials (he has yet to reply me) of ProphetStor to ascertain what I have just wrote. (Simon, you have to respond to me!)
This is indeed very exciting times knowing ProphetStor as one of the early leaders in the SDS space. And I like to see ProphetStor go far with this.
Now let us pray … because the prophet has arrived.