Today SolidFire is announcing Element OS 6 (Carbon), our next major system update that further increases SolidFire’s lead as the most feature complete all-flash array on the market today. Only SolidFire combines the 5 key elements needed for true storage agility in Next Generation enterprise and service provider data centers: scale-out architecture, guaranteed application performance, automated management, extreme high availability, and full in-line efficiency.


The Carbon release builds on this core architecture with both highly requested features as well as some groundbreaking new capabilities, including:

  • Native 16Gb Fibre Channel connectivity in an active/active scale-out configuration, which can be used simultaneously with our existing 10Gbit iSCSI support
  • Real-time remote replication for long distance data protection and disaster recovery, with one of the most flexible replication topologies of any storage system and integrated compression and deduplication
  • Mixed-node cluster support, allowing customers to mix any current-generation SolidFire nodes in a single cluster, along with future systems, giving customers immediate access to the latest flash technologies and completely eliminating the forklift storage system upgrade
  • Integrated backup and restore to secondary storage, including any object storage that supports the S3 or Swift APIs, with direct data transfer and support for efficient incremental backups

Carbon is a free upgrade to existing customers with all the new functionality, including replication, included at no additional charge.


I’d like to add a few more words on the importance of each of these features for our customers.


Although many see converged Ethernet networks as the future single fabric for the datacenter, Fibre Channel has a significant install base and is going to be a long-term fixture in many data centers. SolidFire is uniquely positioned to help customers both leverage their existing Fibre Channel investments and transition to next-generation Ethernet based storage networks over time, with an architecture that can scale out with either (or both) while supporting our complete feature set including guaranteed Quality of Service, replication, and in-line data reduction.


While remote replication has long been standard on high-end disk arrays, its absence is particularly notable on the all-flash array side, where no other ground-up all-flash architecture currently offers native remote replication, instead relying on external software or hardware replication appliances. Highly efficient remote replication is a key requirement for many business critical applications, and SolidFire now enables those applications on a scale-out all flash architecture with guaranteed performance.


Scale-up disk and flash architectures have long had a critical failing: They lock you into a set of technology for a 3-5 year period, with no ability to leverage the latest and greatest hardware improvements short of replacing your actual controllers. At the end of that time, when it is time you replace your hardware, you are forced to plan and execute a complex data migration effort which often involves application downtime or performance impact to move data. SolidFire’s scale-out architecture and new mixed node support completely eliminates this headache. Customers only buy the capacity and performance they need to start, and can scale their systems “just in time” as needed. Furthermore, they aren’t locked in to the hardware they started with – they can integrate the latest and greatest SolidFire nodes into their cluster and take advantage of the continued performance and capacity increases in flash. As old hardware is amortized out, it can transparently be removed from the system and recycled internally or externally. No other flash system offers this level of storage agility.


Backup is one of the most critical aspects of any storage strategy, but one that is most often bolted on or overlooked completely when it comes to primary storage. While host-based backup agents and stand-alone backup servers can work with any storage system (including SolidFire), the next generation datacenter calls for new backup approaches that are more transparent, more scalable, more efficient, and less expensive. Our new integrated backup and restore feature, fully supported through our REST-based API, allows customers to easily push and pull compressed backups directly between SolidFire and other secondary storage systems for cost effective and scalable data protection.


SolidFire’s software-based flash architecture provides unique advantages for rapid innovation over hardware-centric approaches to flash. Not only can we rapidly adopt the latest flash advances from multiple flash vendors, but we can spend our engineering efforts building deeply value added capabilities on top. Our Carbon release further proves this by rapidly closing feature gaps with legacy disk based systems while pushing the bar even higher for all flash systems.


And we’re just getting started.


Dave Wright

Dave Wright, SolidFire CEO and founder, left Stanford in 1998 to help start GameSpy Industries, a leader in online videogame media, technology, and software. GameSpy merged with IGN Entertainment in 2004 and Dave served as Chief Architect for IGN and led technology integration with FIM / MySpace after IGN was acquired by NewsCorp in 2005. In 2007 Dave founded Jungle Disk, a pioneer and early leader in cloud-based storage and backup solutions for consumers and businesses. Jungle Disk was acquired by leading cloud provider Rackspace in 2008 and Dave worked closely with the Rackspace Cloud division to build a cloud platform supporting tens of thousands of customers. In December 2009 Dave left Rackspace to start SolidFire.