Exablox's New On-Site/Cloud Storage Needs No Software Install

Exablox combines the on-site and cloud worlds with an on-premises storage appliance and a cloud-based management system to handle unlimited storage.

If it's possible to reimagine enterprise storage, newcomer Exablox believes it is doing exactly that. By this is meant a storage system so simple that all one has to do is plug in the power cord and a network cable, and off it goes.

Exablox, a promising VC-backed startup that launched its first product April 24, combines the on-site and cloud worlds by offering an on-premises storage appliance coupled with a cloud-based management system to handle unlimited cloud storage. As a unit, these provide a full feature set for storage administrators and uneasy boards of directors who want to know where their business data is at all times.

With its new OneBlox system, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Exablox claims that it has the industry's first scale-out and object-based appliance accessible with Server Message Block (SMB) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) network protocols.

System Can Be Used in Any Size Business

In short, any enterprise—regulated, nonregulated, large, small or medium-sized—with data storage requirements can find a system package here. It also is able to be operated by line-of-business employees, not necessarily skilled IT experts, and can be managed using any browser.

"When I started in the network secure business 15 years ago, you bought your firewall from CheckPoint, your VPN [virtual private network] from Nortel Connectivity, your IPS from TippingPoint or OneSecure, and the rest of your software stack came as you formed a best-of-breed solution," Exablox CEO Doug Brockett told eWEEK.

"Don't need all that here. Everything is already included. The system finds all the nodes automatically just by plugging in the network and the power," Brockett added. "What we're doing here in storage is bringing together a rich set of features in a single easy-to-use solution. There is no software to install. It's all point-and-click to run."

Hard to believe? Wouldn't blame you a bit for thinking that. But this is what Exablox does.

Not only does Exablox use no software, but also no RAID (redundant connected disks), no LUNS (logical units) and no storage volumes. All those conventional things that had to be preconfigured, tested, deployed and tested again are no longer.

One Large Virtual Pool of Storage

All the storage appears in one large virtual pool, either on site or in the cloud, whichever you prefer for the requirement.

OneBlox has built-in enterprise features that include inline deduplication, continuous data protection and zero configuration storage expansion, Brockett said. The storage pain points at which Exablox is aiming the system include complicated installation procedures, cumbersome storage management, lack of data security and forklift upgrades.

OneBlox can provide fully protected CIFS/SMB shares to users in less than 5 minutes with zero configuration, Brockett said. With no impact to business operations, additional OneBlox appliances can be added automatically, enabling resource-constrained organizations to scale without downtime, he said. Thus, enterprises can forget about having to do forklift upgrades and multiple disk-based targets as their business grows, Brockett said.

Protection Against System Failure

When applications fail, files often are accidentally deleted, and site failures can occur. OneBlox's real-time replication protects against local and remote failures by giving IT managers a global file system across multiple locations, so that when a failure does occur, business disruption is minimized, Brockett said.

By default, all information written to OneBlox is automatically encrypted. Data is protected with AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard).

"We spent the last two years working with customers and partners to build a next-generation storage solution that addresses the pain points they're confronting as they deal with the explosion of unstructured data," Brockett said. "We're tearing down the technology barriers that have forced customers into choosing between the features they need and the solutions they can afford."

OneBlox 32TB starter systems (without remote replication) run about $10,000, and the 64TB systems go for around $40,000. For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...