The Big Picture: SSD's have been looked at as a commodity in storage arrays but, what if you've got special requirements...and need unique workload-based attributes in your storage? If you're a cloud scale infrastructure or services provider then having SSD's perform uniquely...at the SSD level can be a tremendous advantage. In this short video learn how Burlywood Technology gives you the ability to have a custom SSD your way.
Mike Matchett: Hi, I'm Mike Matchett from Small World Big Data. Today we're going to talk about Flash and SSDs. We're going to dive down a level, and not really talk about the storage array so much as the SSD itself and some of the cool things that are going on in the industry at the SSD level.
Now, most of us think of the SSD as the commodity. You get this generic SSD. It's probably got some software on there, generically balanced for generic workload, and we plug it into an array, and we assume that all the higher level functionality is going to come in at the array stack, or in the cloud provider, the cloud stack that they layer on top of their SSD farms. But that's not necessarily the best place to optimize what's going on there.
We're going to talk with Burlywood today. Mike Tomky, welcome to the show. You're director of marketing. How's it going?
Mike Tomky: Going great. Thanks for having me.
Mike Matchett: Burlywood is really taking the SSD out of commoditization. You're saying, "We can help you build custom SSDs designed for your workload, and push that commoditization layer down to the NAN, Flash, or whatever the solid state material inside it." How did you guys get there? What made you want to go after this market?
Mike Tomky: We really took a look at the market and the customer problems that we're hearing and realized that by doing software defined Flash, we can give customers control over exactly how Flash works in their workload and give them the ability to built their own SSDs and take advantage of Flash really as a commodity rather than as a one-size-fits-all solution that they're used to.
Mike Matchett: I've my Mac here. You're not mostly talking about me building a custom SSD for my Mac. You're talking about megascale, tier one, tier two cloud providers mostly, right? These guys buy, I don't even know how much Flash they buy, but when you're buying at that scale, it doesn't make sense to deploy generic SSDs anymore. What kind of opportunity and, I guess, savings and benefits could a cloud provider get by making their own custom SSDs with you guys?
Mike Tomky: Yeah, you're right. The customers we're targeting are the largest hyperscale and cloud storage providers in the market. They buy hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in Flash every year. With us enabling them to build their own SSDs, they can see a 20% to 40% cost savings over what they're buying today. Multiply that times the millions of drives that they're buying every year, and that's a significant amount of money.
Mike Matchett: It's not just the dollar amounts, but I guess we'll have to dive down a little bit. What you guys do is actually provide the software stack that goes on the SSD through that, and you can push all sorts of functionality down on there and do some other cool things. Tell us a little bit about how that works.
Mike Tomky: Yeah, so the heart of our business model is that we are software defined Flash. We create the entire software stack to run an SSD and provide that to our customers along with a reference design for how to go build the SSD that they can go work with a contract manufacturer. Because we are software defined. We're running on a programmable controller, we're much more flexible. We can tune to exact workloads. We can provide new features very quickly. We can get customers to market or into production on newer Flash long before it's available commercially.
Mike Matchett: One of the things, as we were talking earlier, I really liked was the fact that I don't have to wait for a next generation of SSD to come out to upgrade to either the newer media. You guys can just reprogram the device that they've got to handle that, but you can also add functionality as you go along and tune that SSD as you go along to new workloads. Maybe just give us example of a kind of workload that you might tune the SSD to, and how that might work.
Mike Tomky: Yeah, that's a key point because those customers today, they buy an SSD. They deploy those in their arrays. Their workloads change all the time. They have developers tweaking their database, changing IO patterns, et cetera. In the existing paradigm, they have to wait for the next generation of SSDs to hopefully get new tunings for that.
Not with us. We can tune to those exact workloads, give those customers a new software load, as simple as a firmware update to their drives, and now they're running back at peak efficiency on their new workloads.
Mike Matchett: If I've got something that's a database, I've got one kind of IO pattern, if I've got a video stream, I've got a different IO pattern, and you can actually tune the drives to those as they do, and then I actually, we were talking earlier about the fact that drives are getting bigger. These SSDs are getting larger and larger, so 15, 16 terabyte SSDs are coming out. NVMe is going to come out. We're going to have higher density. You guys can help someone actually get the performance out of that, that the generic software stack's not going to deliver. How do you do that?
Mike Tomky: You're right. The generic products that are coming out now, max out around four or eight terabytes. Those drive, you see performance compromises as you get to those higher capacities. Our architecture is designed from the ground up for these cloud scale architectures, and we can support larger capacities at full performance, and I think just as importantly, we can take those large drives and with our unique technology, we can partition them, create datastreams to them that allow you to use that drive for multiple workloads, multiple applications, with different traffic patterns within the same drive.
Mike Matchett: You pushed some, I would say, volume partitioning, but you can push partitioning down into the drive and get multiple patterns of IO, so kind of a QOS by workload. You can also, I know, because now you're programming that thing, start to do some clever stuff as you move forward like pushing, we talked about, encryption, compression, and some other features that could possibly be pushed down dynamically different, erasure algorithms, all sorts of cool stuff. You guys can now help these large scale guys push down into the SSD itself. It's not longer a commodity. What's the news announcement you guys are coming out with now? This is brand new?
Mike Tomky: Yeah, so we're announcing the availability of Burlywood's TrueFlash software, so this is our software defined Flash product for enabling build-your-own SSDs.
Mike Matchett: You're prime time, ready for production cloud guys to give you a call, order millions of units.
Mike Tomky: Yeah.
Mike Matchett: I love that. I also think you're going to have a couple of RAID vendors on the horn pretty soon going, "Hey, you know, we've got some workload cases where we'd like to program our SSDs that go into our arrays at a lower level." I think that's definitely a possibility.
Mike Tomky: I agree.
Mike Matchett: Yeah, and lots of cool things then. I'm sure there's going to be an ecosystem of people coming along saying, "I want develop and push some of my functionality down into the SSD level," because there's all sorts of data protection, data management, just big data stuff that we could do very cleverly if we could get it down to the SSD level. Then just IoT. I'll just throw that word out there. You can put the smarts onto the drive and down to the media. You've got that.
You guys are launching. Should someone just go to your website? Or get in contact with you if they want more information?
Mike Tomky: Yeah. There will be more information on our website. They can contact us through there.
Mike Matchett: BurlywoodTech.com.
Mike Tomky: That's right, and we're also on Twitter and in LinkedIn.
Mike Matchett: Awesome. I want to hear more about some of the detailed used cases and some of the technologies as you push them down in there. I think that's going to have to be a much longer deeper show, Mike, but I'm glad you can come on here today. I look forward to hearing about what you guys do. I know you'd probably never be able to tell me any of your clients' real names at some point, but I'm sure we'll be using them as we go forward. Thanks for being on the show.
Mike Tomky: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Mike Matchett: And thank you for watching. Come back soon, and we'll have some more interesting stories for you, I'm sure, from Burlywood. Take care.