Scality CEO on Why the Future of Infrastructure Is Open Source


“Tape will not die. HDD will not die. Or at least, not in the next 20 years. There is a place for three tiers of storage technologies, silicon (memory, NVME, SSD, or other variation), rotating magnetic disk (HDD), and tape.”

ScalityOpens a new window CEO Jérôme LecatOpens a new window gives a lowdown on open source storage and how Cloud IT, the most transformative technology can help IT leaders effectively transition from legacy infrastructure to cloud-hosted applications. Along the way, he dishes out why the future of infrastructure is open source and how tape is still far from being relegated to the trash cans of technology history (Scality is planning a revival of sorts for tape). Additionally, he also shares why hyper-converged solutions, the new industry buzzword is not the best choice for large scale storage needs, especially if your application workload requires higher performance.

In the last few years, Scality has seen tremendous growth. Four of the world’s largest national libraries use Scality RING Opens a new window to preserve their collections, with governments relying on Scality RING for law enforcement, transportation, space exploration, defense, research, energy pagency, federal banking, patent records, deeds and other legal documents, satellite and surveillance data, and more. Besides governments, 12 of the world’s largest financial services companies have deployed Scality RING for use cases ranging from backup to big data archive, digital content repositories and more. Of late, Scality launched the latest generation of their flagship product, RING8 that packs robust enterprise file and object storage, and enables hybrid cloud data management solutions.

Key takeaways from this interview:

  • How open source storage platforms can help avoid vendor lock-in
  • How Cloud IT has been the biggest driver of digital transformation
  • Why hyper-converged solutions is not a one-size-fits-all solution for all storage needs

Here’s the edited transcript of the interview with Jerome Lecat:

In your view, how is Scality’s solutions portfolio disruptive as compared to another leading vendor Pure Storage?

Pure Storage and Scality are both examples of a new breed of storage companies founded around 2010 with a vision of pivoting traditional IT to Cloud IT. Both companies have developed enterprise-grade storage solutions for hybrid, multi-cloud IT and are focused on delivering both high availability and utmost simplicity to their customers. Pure Storage focused on delivering solutions for the 20% of the data that needs very high performance, while Scality focused on solutions for the 80% of the data that needs performance but where cost of storing matters more. Both companies are very successful in their respective space.

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How do scale-out object storage solutions from providers like Scality prepare enterprises and mid-sized companies for next-generation workloads?

There is a transformation going on in the world of business. The 4th Industrial Revolution truly touches every business and public service. With this business transformation comes an IT transformation — Cloud IT.

Cloud IT is often wrongly assumed to be just the Public Cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), but it is much more than that. Cloud IT is IT composed of software-based, distributed systems deployed on industry standard rack-mounted servers with a high degree of automation. What first appeared the decade after the year 2000 with the growth of Facebook, Amazon and Google is at the same time more performant, more reliable, and cheaper than traditional IT. There are no trade-offs, just benefits.

With the 4th Industrial Revolution, a larger portion of enterprise competitiveness is based on their IT, and enterprises that leverage the power and cost-effectiveness of Cloud IT will be more than enterprises that stay stuck with traditional IT.

Cloud IT can be deployed in the enterprise data center (private cloud), leveraging Public Cloud (Iaas), leveraging SaaS (Software as a Service, such as Salesforce or Office 365), or be a mix of all this (Hybrid Cloud).

Now, specifically for Scality, we are relevant for any organization that needs to store and serve huge amounts of data and wants to leverage Cloud IT, whether in a private cloud or a hybrid cloud.

Our software is relevant for traditional workloads such as backup and archive, or video streaming, and also to new generation workloads such as cloud services (including private cloud), user generated content and AI/ML. It delivers the benefits of the cloud: performance, reliability and cost efficiency. In addition, we have developed many security and control features for our enterprise and government customers. Scality software handles these workloads whether they are expecting an object store, or whether they are expecting a scale-out NASOpens a new window . We have uniquely developed a Scale-Out File System that is native to our object storage technology.

In your view, how do Object Storage solutions help organizations in their multi-cloud initiatives?

Not all object storage solutions will help organizations in their multi-cloud strategy. You need to choose a vendor who has built-in cloud data management policies such as data-replication and cloud-data movement (lifecycle tiering), and who has done so for all major public clouds. Indeed, different public cloud storages have different APIs. This is what we have done at Scality, make hybrid Cloud and multi-cloud are core to our strategy.

Learn More: How Storage Management Software Differs from Traditional HSMOpens a new window

The adoption of hyper-converged storage solutions, that help bring computing, storage, and networking under the same roof is poised for double-digit growth over the next few years. Do you think enterprises are ready for hyper-converged solutions?

Hyperconverged is a very effective solution to move traditional IT workloads to a distributed software based solution. It should definitely see huge growth as it is an easy way for enterprises to move to more of a cloud IT without redeveloping applications. But hyperconverged is not the solution for everything, and it is not a good solution for large scale storage needs, especially if your application workload requires higher performance.

How will the trend of open-source data storage evolve in the future? Can you tell us how the S3 Server, Scality’s first open source software, has shaped up since its first launch in 2016?

We believe that the future of infrastructure is open source and this is why we launched the S3 Server and also Zenko and MetalK8s in open source in 2016. This software got millions of downloads and hundreds of contributions. Scality will continue developing open source software, and also rely on other open source software to deliver a complete solution to its customers.

What role did the partnership with HPE play in scaling Scality’s growth as a promising player in the software-defined storage industry? Are you looking to build more partnerships with companies offering enterprise-scale servers to consolidate your position in the market?

HPE is a strategic partner for Scality. We have a mutually beneficial relationship as HPE is the market share leader for servers and the #2 in the world for storage. They have been, and they are instrumental to our success. Also, their Apollo servers are very reliable and very good fit for our software. We also work with multiple other partners, other server manufacturers such as Cisco, Dell, Super Micro and Penguin Computing, some cloud partners such as Microsoft, and many, many applications partners. We have certified over 80 applications from 60 different vendors.

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In your opinion, what are the emerging major trends in the data storage industry? Will legacy technologies like Tape, HDDs be completely eliminated?

I have heard about the death of tape for as long as I have been working in the storage industryOpens a new window . Tape will not die. HDD will not die. Or at least, not in the next 20 years. There is a place for three tiers of storage technologies, silicon (memory, NVME, SSD, or other variation), rotating magnetic disk (HDD), and tape. Tape can get to a cost of storage 10x cheaper than HDD, which at raw cost remains 10x cheaper than silicon. Actually, we are currently working on projects to make tape accessible through S3 API and be presented as object storage.

Many experts believe that in the future, organizations will store large volumes of data using a combination of public cloud vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud (hybrid cloud) and on-premise data storage will become obsolete. In what ways will the transformation impact edge computing, data analytics, and the cost of data storage and processing?

I do not think that on-premise IT or on-premise data storage will become obsolete. I do believe that traditional IT will become non-competitive, and that all enterprises will move to cloud IT, which includes private cloud.

The cloud phenomena has been growing very fast in the past 10 years, but I consider that you cannot predict from a phenomena that has gained 30% market share in 10 years that it will gain 100% market share. My assumption is that it will reach 60% market share 10 years from now, and will saturate at 70%.

Meanwhile, the total worldwide spend on IT, and the share of value creation that is IT related continues to increase worldwide.

The storage vendor landscape is heavily dominated by legacy players like Dell EMC, and new entrants like Pure Storage? Where do companies like Scality fit in, and which industries Scality is going after? Is Asia the next growth market?

I would qualify Scality as a relatively mature yet innovative mid-size company. We are definitely not as big as a Dell EMC or Netapp, but we are not a start-up either. Our growth is steady about 35% year over year. We focus on organizations that need us. Primarily these are very large enterprises around the world (often referred to as Global 2000), Hospitals (as healthcare is more and more data driven), Cloud Providers themselves, and many government services, from police forces, to city security to long term archive of national libraries. Scality has a physical presence throughout North America, Europe, and in Japan. This represents 80% of worldwide IT spending, and we serve other countries through our partners such as HPE.

Many experts believe that in the future, organizations will store large volumes of data using a combination of public cloud vendors and on-premise data storage will become obsolete. In what ways will the transformation impact the cost of data storage and processing?

We fully agree with the need to avoid lock-inOpens a new window , and this is actually one of the types of value we deliver to our customers. As mentioned earlier, hybrid cloud and being able to move or tier data to any public cloud is core to our strategy. Similarly, we embrace open source and standards so that Scality storage can be replaced if so chosen by our customers.

Learn More: 5 Reasons Why a NAS at Home is Still Making SenseOpens a new window

In 2020, what product lines can we expect from Scality and are there any plans of diversifying the product stack?

Scality will continue to provide excellent software for enterprises and organizations that want to store and manage large amounts of data with cloud technologies. We will continue embracing the latest technologies, such as KubernetesOpens a new window , to make our software always more automatized and easier to manage for our customers.

Going ahead, will the move to software-defined storage become more pronounced?

I think that in the past software-defined storage has suffered from the lack of standards. Customers want the power of cloud and the easiness of a plug and play appliance. This is what the industry needs to supply, and this is what Scality is doing.

About Jerome LecatOpens a new window :

Jérôme Lecat is CEO of Scality, a serial entrepreneur and business angel with 20 years of internet infrastructure start-up experience. From 2003 to 2010, Jerome led Bizanga, the leading email MTA for service providers, which he founded with Olivier Lemarié, Marc Sheldon and Giorgio Regni. Bizanga achieved major market penetration worldwide and was successfully sold to Cloudmark in February 2010. In 2001, Jerome became Chairman of the Board of Data Center Technology (DCT), a Belgium based start-up which developed a unique Content Addressable Storage (CAS) technology, especially for the backup market. After signing over 70 customers, DCT was sold to Veritas in 2005 with significant profit for its investors. In 1994, together with Olivier Dauchot and Olivier Lemarié, Jérôme founded Internet-Way, an ISP focused on the enterprise market. As CEO, he built the company from a garage start-up to the second largest ISP in France. In 1997, after the company had reached profitability, he sold the company to UUNET, where he served as Vice President of Products for EMEA.

About Scality:Opens a new window

Scality builds the most powerful storage tools to make data easy to protect, search and manage anytime, on any cloud. We give customers the freedom and control necessary to be competitive in a data driven economy. Recognized as a leader in distributed file and object storage by Gartner and IDC, we help you to be ready for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.

About Tech TalkOpens a new window :

Tech Talk is a Toolbox Interview Series with notable CTOs and senior executives from around the world. Join us to share your insights and research on where technology and data are heading in the future. This interview series focuses on integrated solutions, research and best practices in the day-to-day work of the tech world.

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