Monday, May 18, 2015

What does EtherDrive 8 mean for Storage System Integrators?

When Brantley Coile acquired the CorOS copyrights for EtherDrive SRX and VSX products, he promised to continue the development of the AoE storage concept.  EtherDrive 8 is the new project that  is fulfilling that promise.  See (TBCC) for details about EtherDrive 8.

Coraid's business model was similar to most of the big name storage vendors; to manufacturer and sell storage hardware with software inside.  The only way that users or system integrators could get EtherDrive SRX or VSX storage was to buy a chassis with disks and software from Coraid.  The basic hardware platform for SRX and VSX is server chassis hardware from SuperMicro Inc..  SuperMicro continues to offer high quality, reliable, leading edge hardware designs, and has established a worldwide sales, service and support network.  SuperMicro hardware is available from local suppliers all over the world.  Over the years, Coraid received many requests from users and system integrators to just sell the CorOS Disk-on-Module (DOM).  This was especially interesting for users outside the USA.  Why pay for heavy hardware to be shipped from the USA, when the same chassis can be purchased locally.  We never sold just DOMs but, in the early days (in 2005-2009), Coraid sold assembled and tested chassis with the DOM but allowed users to install their own disks.  In 2009, following the Series A round of VC investment and installation of a new management team, this policy changed and mandated that users and resellers buy SRX with disks from Coraid.  Obviously this raised the price per SRX significantly.

TBCC operates as a software only business.  EtherDrive 8 is available as a software license.  System Integrators are able to download unlocked binary files onto a common USB dongle.  Plugging the USB dongle into a suitable multi-disk server chassis will allow the server to boot and become an EtherDrive 8 storage appliance.   The cost benefits to the user are huge.  No more price markup from Coraid for the SuperMicro chassis, CPU, DRAM or disk drives.

A list of recommended SuperMicro hardware, CPU, Memory, and Disks is located on the TBCC website.  Storage System Integrators can now easily build and support a simple storage appliance with a 10 year proven history of data storage reliability, superior performance, and unmatched value.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Good news for Coraid EtherDrive users.

The Brantley Coile Company (TBCC) has purchased the EtherDrive SRX and VSX storage appliance software rights from the company that held the intellectual property following Coraid Inc. foreclosure.  The software will be made open source and available for download from TBCC website,

This is really good news for EtherDrive storage users.  Not only will the EtherDrive appliance concept continue to be available and supported, it will be improved with new features.  Brantley Coile was in original inventor of the ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) protocol.  He also was the first to implement the protocol into a storage appliance.  Over the past 10 years, thousands of users have been getting great value from EtherDrive SAN storage.

Coraid was a hardware company.  They took low cost commodity SuperMicro server hardware and installed proprietary EtherDrive storage software to create a super efficient single purpose storage appliance.   The software was called CorOS and ran on the Plan 9 operating system, not Linux.  The resulting code enabled really low cost hardware configurations to achieve super high performance.  They didn't need to buy the fastest multi-core processor and load the server up with tons of RAM to get peak performance.  This is now all being made open source.

The Brantley Coile company will make available unlocked binary code enabling users and resellers to build and replicate storage appliances using locally purchased SuperMicro server hardware.  Users can choose the hardware configuration that best suits their application, and budget.

Brantley's new project is being called EtherDrive 8, and it incorporates the CorOS functions found in the Coraid SRX and VSX products.  EtherDrive 8 appliance code will allow users to upgrade existing SRX and VSX chassis to become EtherDrive 8 appliances, without having to move data from these storage appliances.  EtherDrive 8 is completely backward compatible with CorOS SRX and VSX.

The new things being planned for EtherDrive 8 will build upon the rock solid foundation of CorOS and Plan 9, and preserve the simplicity of the AoE storage appliance concept.

It's not often that the open source community is treated to this much high quality software being made open source.  The foreclosure of Coraid was not a pretty thing to watch.  But seeing the secret sauce of it's software being made public, and the launch of EtherDrive 8, is sure to give rise to a new Phoenix in the storage market space.