Startup MaxiScale Launches Itself plus Storage Platform

The Flex Software Platform runs on commodity-type, x86-based servers. As is common among data center software producers, MaxiScale's idea is to improve performance and reduce cost, space and power requirements for Web companies that have to deal with large numbers of small files.

MaxiScale, a new storage software maker that emerged Sept. 21 from two years in stealth mode, has launched a new package designed to efficiently manage file serving for Web 2.0 sites with applications that run financial services, health records, social networks and software as a service.
The Flex Software Platform runs on commodity-type, x86-based servers and works with Windows, Linux, Unix and other operating systems.
As is common among data center software producers, MaxiScale's idea is to improve performance and reduce cost, space and power requirements for Web companies that have to deal with large numbers of small files.
"This is really a different world now," Gary Orenstein, MaxiScale's vice president of marketing, told eWEEK. "Five years ago, nobody was really thinking about how do with deal with a billion objects-here, there or elsewhere. Now that billion-object number is routine for a variety of Web and Internet-facing applications."
MaxiScale does not use RAID of any flavor. Instead, it uses its home-grown Flex architecture to replicate files that exist in peer data sets across SATA (serial ATA) drives-a group of a few disks on separate storage nodes that back up each other's data.

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Part of MaxiScale's secret sauce is that it needs only one I/O operation to locate a small (1MB or less) file within an ocean of data. This helps smooth out bottlenecks caused by systems that require multiple I/O operations for each small file retrieval.
MaxiScale configurations start with four images, but they can scale up to as many as 50,000 servers, President and CEO Gianluca Rattazzi told eWEEK.
"Instead of having to buy storage boxes with expensive connectivity like InfiniBand or Fibre Channel, MaxiScale uses Flex with much cheaper 2TB SATA drives on Ethernet connections," Rattazzi said.
Orenstein said MaxiScale's first customer is AdMob, a mobile advertising marketplace that has served more than 110 billion ad impressions in the last three years.
MaxiScale, founded in 2007, is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. The company was co-founded by Rattazzi-who previously founded Meridian Data Systems, Parallan Computer, P-Com and BlueArc-and CTO Francesco Lacapra, who previously held executive roles at Olivetti, Quantum and BlueArc.
MaxiScale's Flex software is now available. Pricing starts at $6,000 for four nodes controlling up to 32TB of storage. Go here for more information.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...