Seanodes: Small Company Willing to Stand Up Against All Data Storage Conventions

Seanodes is a true "disruptive" factor in the data storage business -- not because it has a new concept, but because it has taken an older idea and refined it for the virtualized world of IT. Its shared internal storage concept clashes completely with conventional enterprise storage operations because it requires no external storage hardware.

PARIS -- A little more than two years ago, eWEEK published an article about "Ten Disruptive Storage Technologies." At the top of that list was a startup called Seanodes, based here in a city much more known for romance than data storage.
We called Seanodes a "disruptive" factor in the data storage business -- not because it has a new concept, but because it has taken an older idea and refined it for the virtualized world of IT. Its shared internal storage concept clashes completely with conventional enterprise storage operations because it requires no external storage hardware.
That's correct. It requires no external storage hardware. No storage box, no controller, no SAN or NAS -- nothing. There are no distributed software agents; every node in the system with an IP address gets discovered and accounted for, and the storage it contains flows into the central pool for production.
An enterprise's data becomes tucked away in chunks throughout a system, including in production and non-production database servers, Web servers and dedicated application servers. IT managers can choose which servers they want to use for storage and which ones they don't.
This pooled-storage concept was used in some systems in the mainframe days of the 1960s through '80s, but not to the extent that Seanodes uses it.
"Most of a data center system's storage capacity is wasted, just sits there, and is never utilized," Seanodes CEO and founder Jacques Baldinger told me. "Its overhead disk space that never gets used because the conventional wisdom is to always have much more than you actually need to get the work done."
And the convention says: "If it works well enough, then leave it alone." This is certainly not the most efficient way to run a data center, but it is the way it's done in most data centers.
Seanodes' Exanodes was originally designed as an architecture for high-performance computing and enterprise environments.
Seanodes, which totals only about 100 employees -- in its development center in Colomiers, France, and at its corporate offices near Paris and in Cambridge, Mass. -- also brings to the table an intriguing green IT concept: It puts to work virtually all of a system's wasted spinning disk capacity for a hugely less power draw than a typical one that spins up numerous NAS, SAN and SATA disks and cools them in racks.
Naturally, conventional storage companies downplay the whole concept of jettisoning external storage racks to move it over to internal production capacity.
"I've never heard of a dumber thing in my life," one marketing rep from a prominent data storage company told me. "Why would anybody want to mix up dedicated application and DB servers with tiered storage? Two different animals, totally. Talk about mixing oil and water!"

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...