Time flies! It’s been 4 months since we launched the company and nearly 7 months since VAST started delivering generally available Universal Storage is a single storage system that is fast enough for primary storage, scalable enough for huge datasets and affordable enough to use for the full range of a customers data, thus eliminating the tyranny of tiers. clusters to our customers. As mentioned the company launch, we’re witnessing an unprecedented level of demand for VAST technology – so much so that our business is delivering record-breaking business performance. To all of our early adopter customers, thank you.
As a customer, affecting a technology shift within an organization can be a harrowing experience. As with any new relationship, the getting-to-know-you period between a customer and a new technology vendor is almost never long enough during the proposal period to get to complete confidence – and there can often be surprises around the corner after a commitment is made. Storage company surprises can come in every shape and form – ranging from commercial surprises (support renewals, support) to operational surprises (uptime, efficiency, data loss, etc.). While each vendor has their own set of considerations, startups add another dimension of complexity to the process by introducing a lesser-known-quantity… the old adage of “nobody gets fired for buying XYZ” doesn’t apply to a new technology company, but that’s often where the biggest innovation gains can be found. Because of this, customers have been forced to make a series of compromised decisions, until now…
After working with many of the world’s leading IT organizations, we’ve realized that a new storage architecture can reset customer success criteria and fundamentally de-risk the process of adopting advanced technology. VAST’s Disaggregated, Shared-Everything (The VAST DASE (Disaggregated Shared Everything Architecture) disaggregates (separates) the storage media from the CPUs that manage that media and provide storage services. This disaggregated storage, including all the system metadata, is shared by all the VAST Servers in the cluster. DASE allows use... More) architecture changes the storage paradigm on multiple levels, making it possible to completely reset the purchasing risk considerations while also not imposing unnecessary risk on VAST. With this new storage concept, it’s not just possible – but is actually essential – to provide our customers with a set of protections to provide the best buying experience in the storage industry.
We are proud today to announce the VAST Data Zero Compromises Guarantee.
Powered by our DASE architecture, VAST’s Universal Storage offering is now guaranteed against critical operational issues and provides commercial and support protections for customers to eliminate surprises. The result is an uncompromised purchasing process where customers can now advance a modern infrastructure agenda without compromising on risk. In many ways, this new program is a formalization of the protections we’ve been providing to customers since day 1 – and as we gain a deep appreciation for what we’ve built and listen to customers – we’ve realized it’s time to put this all on paper.
What are we announcing? This guarantee is a multi-dimensional program that covers nearly every aspect of the customer experience: uptime, data loss, efficiency, endurance, support and technical account management.
The details of this guarantee are many and can be found in our data sheet here, or feel free to lawyer-up and read the actual Ts and Cs here – it’s actually an easy read 🙂 In the interest of ensuring this blog post isn’t entirely redundant to these other documents, I’ll just add a little color to what’s being announced:
Zero Compromises Starts with an Uncompromised Storage Architecture
By disaggregating the logic from the storage media (QLC flash stores four bits in each flash cell as 16 different charge, or voltage, levels. Compared to less dense flash technology like MLC (2 bits/cell) and TLC (3 bits/cell) QLC flash has lower cost/bit and lower endurance., 3D Xpoint is a new non-volatile memory technology that has much lower latency and much higher endurance than NAND Flash. Optane is Intel’s trade-name for SSDs using 3D Xpoint as their storage media. VAST Universal Storage Systems use Optane SSDs to store system and element store metadata as well a... More), the VAST DASE architecture makes it possible to rethink system availability and persistence. Servers are stateless and any of them can present the entirety of the namespace out to applications any time – the system can survive massive server failures and keep running, and data is never cached in DRAM since the system has endless amounts of XPoint available as a distributed pool of fabric-attached memory thanks to NVMe is a new protocol designed specifically to provide systems access to non-volatile memory devices like SSDs. NVMe has much lower overhead, and allows much more parallel I/O than the older SCSI protocol. over Fabrics. The decoupling of logic and system state enables step-function level changes in terms of configurability and allows us to provide iron-clad guarantees that you’ll never lose access because of system volatility or any number of server failures so long as at least one survives.
The VAST architecture delivers saving, speed and scale – but also resilience. When thinking of a mascot for our advantage, we came across the tardigrade (aka: the water bear) – a microscopic animal that is nearly indestructible. Tardigrades can survive the most extreme conditions of any animal – 1000x more radiation than humans, temperatures ranging from -450°F to 300°F, they can live dehydrated for 120+ years. When thinking of the resilience that is possible because of the VAST DASE architecture, we realized that the system is tardigrade-tough.
Data Reduction Supremacy
Our Global Similarity Reduction is one of the most significant improvements to storage efficiency in storage history. Since launching – when data has been reducible in the past, we’re demonstrating much larger gains. Maybe more interesting – we’re seeing massive gains on data sets that people previously thought were impossible.. and we’re guaranteeing it. Bring us any (unencrypted) data set and VAST guarantees that we’ll deliver the best compression you’ve ever seen – or we’ll pay for the difference. This is an unprecedented protection, and one that is only possible due to step-change improvements that our algorithm can deliver.
QLC for 10 Years, Guaranteed
We recently did a comparison with a customer that over-wrote their whole (exabyte-scale) storage environment every 60 hours, this is the most extreme case of over-writes we’ve ever encountered. By our calculation, the VAST endurance for this application is 12 years, whereas a traditional storage system would wear QLC drives out within less than two years. VAST’s DASE architecture is designed to respect the geometry and behaviors of commodity QLC and ensure unnaturally high levels of endurance, making it possible for us to back the system with the industry’s first QLC guarantee.
No Surprises, No Risk
We’ve coupled these architecture guarantees with a new concierge support model we call Shadow Support to make it easy to onboard and become comfortable with VAST’s technology. We’ve guaranteed that customers will never see a support uplift as the system ages. We’ve guaranteed full access to VAST-OS cluster software and features throughout the entirety of your maintenance period.
No Fine Print
Finally, we’re providing customers the ability to unconditionally return the system – for any reason whatsoever – within first 60 days. Don’t like the way our system looks at you in your data center? Feel free to return it 🙂 We actually think you’ll love it.
Of course, these protections are only possible because of the new innovation we’re driving into our Universal Storage platform. Bring us your worst scenarios and please challenge us on uptime, efficiency, endurance and more! It’s a new world of possible thanks to technologies that combine to enable our DASE architecture, we’re breaking decades of compromises and tradeoffs – and we can’t wait to showcase what we’ve invented.