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Symbolic IO

Symbolic IO, founded in 2012 and based in Holmdel, NJ, is the first computational defined storage solution solely focused on advanced computational algorithmic compute engine, which materializes and dematerializes data – effectively becoming the fastest, most dense, portable and secure, media and hardware agnostic – storage solution.

see also:- Symbolic IO - mentions on StorageSearch.com, Symbolic IO products page

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Who's who in SSD? - Symbolic IO

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - StorageSearch.com - October 24, 2016

Symbolic IO emerged from stealth in May 2016.

From the storage point of view the company's products can be viewed as being aimed at the rackmount SSD market but they also include necessarily compatible applications servers too.

Although technology details have not been available at the time of writing this Symbolic IO appears to be pushing technology boundaries in 2 related technologies:-
  • SSD software:- inasmuch as the entire product architecture is built on assumptions related to a memory oriented architectures with clearly designated zones of latency, capacity and compute. This is an architectural view of the datacenter which I postulated would be compatible with a solid state storage view and which would shape the computing market for the next decade in my 2012 article - an introduction to enterprise SSD silos.
In my view (and irrespective whether it ships any products in a near term timeframe) Symbolic IO is one of the most significant companies in the SSD market right now because it will change expectations about the boundaries of what is possible in enterprise systems architecture.

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memory intensive data architecture emerges in a new family of latency roled boxes - unstealthed by Symbolic IO
Editor:- May 25, 2016 - 1 petabyte usable storage in 2U along with a flash backed RAM rich server family which uses patented CPU level aware cache-centric data reduction to deliver high compute performance are among the new offerings unveiled today by Symbolic IO which has emerged from stealth mode.

Founder & CEO, Symbolic IO - Brian Ignomirello, said - "This industry hasn't really innovated in more than 20 years, even the latest offerings based on flash have limitations that cannot be overcome. Our goal at Symbolic IO was to completely redefine and rethink the way computing architectures work. We've completely changed how binary is handled and reinvented the way it's processed, which goes way beyond the industry's current excitement for hyper-conversion."

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the fastest SSDs - click to read article
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Giving a clue to performance Ignomirello said - "One of our early tests, allows us to run a full cable class content delivery network over 80+ nodes, while streaming 80+ full-featured movies simultaneously on one channel and requires less than 8% of the CPU capacity and we had plenty of headroom to run more. IRIS (Intensified RAM Intelligent Server) is 10,000 times faster than today's flash."

Editor's comments:- I hadn't spoken with Symbolic IO (when I wrote this) but my first impression was that the company is in line with at least 3 strategic trends that you've been reading about on StorageSearch.com in recent years:- Their company profile summarizes their capability like this...

"Symbolic IO is the first computational defined storage solution solely focused on advanced computational algorithmic compute engine, which materializes and dematerializes data effectively becoming the fastest, most dense, portable and secure, media and hardware agnostic storage solution."

For more about the company's background see this article - Symbolic IO Rewrites Rules For Storage on Information Week.

From the marketing point of view it's interesting to see that in its launch press release Symbolic IO positions itself in the DIMM Wars context in this way "IRIS... is 10 times faster than 3D XPoint."

Symbolic IO says the new systems will be start to become generally available in late Q4 2016.

From an enterprise segmentation viewpoint the IRIS systems will be proprietary. There is space for such approaches in the future market consolidation roadmap because not everyone needs the fastest performance. But many webscale SSD companies are already using data reduction techniques for their own utilizations and acceleration purposes.

The new thing - if there is a new thing - is that Symbolic IO will make available boxes which incorporate modern data architectures from a single source.

Although like all new systems companies they'll have to wade their way through the apps accreditation and compatibility lists before their revenues create any ripples - an adoption dampening factor I wrote about in my 2013 article Scary Skyera.

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One of the most potentially most rewarding market challenges which SSD companies are grappling with right now is - how to make enterprise solid state storage attractive to users who aren't worried about their hard drive performance and don't even think they need SSDs.
exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs
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In my view (and irrespective whether it ships any products in a near term timeframe) Symbolic IO is one of the most significant companies in the SSD market right now because it will change expectations about the boundaries of what is possible in enterprise systems architecture.

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Symbolic IO appoints CTO
Editor:- July 12, 2016 - Symbolic IO (which unveiled its new memory intensive data architecture in May 2016) today announced that Rob Peglar, formerly VP, Advanced Storage at Micron has joined the startup's executive team as Senior VP and CTO.

"What Symbolic IO is doing, is quite frankly, the most innovative approach to stored data in 20 years, with huge implications on compute and how we architect systems in general and distributed systems in particular, " said Peglar. "It's not every day that a company comes along with a truly innovative and new technology. What Symbolic IO is doing is a once-in-a-generation, breakthrough approach to the problem of optimally storing and using data for efficient computation. Just like all the major players got their start, we've created new category called computational defined storage."


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data dematerialization in the DIMM?
Editor:- July 27, 2016 - Some of the big SSD ideas in recent years have been:-
  • in-situ processing, and
  • DIMM wars.
One way to interpret the essence of Symbolic IO's architecture - which was partially unveiled in May 2016 - may be as a coming together of the 2 concepts in the same place...

What got me thinking this way was a recent blog - a look at Symbolic IO's patents - by Robin Harris on his site - StorageMojo.com .

Symbolic IOs founder Brian Ignomirello who saw and liked Robin's post - said among other things on linkedinpulse - "yes we (do) materialize and dematerialize data." ...read the article

PS - In a conversation I had about the market yesterday (which I'll write about next month) I noted how during the past year the SSD industry has been thinking about memory systems architecture as the next emerging core for innovation in the same kind of way that the market used to buzz about apps acceleration using SSDs on the SAN and in servers (via PCIe cards) 8 to 10 years earlier.

It's because of all that previous market experience with PCIe SSDs in servers especially and the comparisons with other ways of getting similar results with arrays of SAS / SATA SSDs in storage - and the feel-good confidence from having made those difficult changes - that the data computing market is now receptive to being more ambitious with re-engineering memory.

The business incentive being that the gap between what is possible and what is being done every day with current products is so huge and wasteful. (Huge savings for users. Multi-billion dollar new markets for vendors.)

We've already seen a lot of different approaches coming down the pipe in the past year with technology announcements. But even though the implementation details are so different - they're tackling the same problem.

With more toys in the memory, SSD and software tool kit - there are now more permutations for delivering applications servers which exceed previous performance limits and slash away at legacy cost assumptions.

The DNA of the semicondata market continues its ruthless quest of doing more for less.


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There hasn't been a stable market template for vendors to follow from one seemingly chaotic year to the next as they encroach on new markets.
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