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Vast boosts QLC flash offer with ransomware-proof snapshots

Vast majors on QLC flash bulk storage with 3D Xpoint cache to smooth out traffic into sequential flows

QLC flash storage specialist Vast Data has updated its operating system to include ransomware protection via immutable snapshots, cloud-based management functionality and data analytics for capacity planning.

The upgrade is to VastOS version 4 of Vast’s Universal Operating System, and sees the introduction of indestructible snapshots that provide customers with a key layer of ransomware protection. These can ensure that critical read-only snapshots and snapshot policies are immutable and protected from accidental deletion and attackers who gain system credentials.

Meanwhile, Uplink Cloud Management allows customers to monitor their Universal Storage clusters anywhere in the world by accessing the same portal that Vast’s support teams use. This centralised, cloud-based management pane provides a consolidated view into an enterprise’s Universal Storage environments.

On the analytics front, Data Flow Monitoring allows customers to understand how applications and users are interacting with Universal Storage via visual displays of performance statistics. Visualisation of predicted future patterns of use allow for capacity planning.

New, more fine-grained data reduction is also part of version 4, which is based on global data deduplication to find patterns at byte level.

Vast Data offers arrays based on bulk storage using NVMe-connected QLC flash. QLC, while relatively cheap, is the least durable of all the flash generations and best used for sequential input/output (I/O).

To get around this limitation, Vast does its best to ensure traffic is sequentialised with a layer of 3D Xpoint that shapes I/O into fewer, less randomised patterns.

Read more about QLC flash

Vast hardware comprises 18TB of XPoint (in 12 15.36TB drives) for every 675TB of QLC flash to make up about 2.5% of the system capacity.

The resulting economics and use profiles provide what Vast claims is the death knell for the spinning disk hard drive and tiered storage. It calls itself an “an extinction-level event for hard drive tiering”.

Despite being comprised of all-NVMe flash, Vast claims to offer storage cost per GB that is “within spitting distance” of HDD pricing. 

Vast Data provides an on-premise solution suited to unstructured and semi-structured data at a time when many customers are heading to the cloud, so its target market is likely to be for workloads customers would rather keep in-house. Customers that Vast highlights on its website are dominated by HPC and analytics workloads, though there is also a cloud service provider.

In its use of rapid access bulk QLC for analytics and secondary data it is fishing in the same pond as Pure Storage and its FlashBlade family. The addition of immutable snapshots as protection against ransomware is also a move that Pure has made.

Perhaps with cloud service provider customers in mind, the latest upgrade to VastOS also includes Policy-Based Data Isolation in which customers can specify performance in particular pools of storage, and limit data migrations and access along hardware and network boundaries, which could be of use in multi-tenant environments. 

“Data is the lifeblood of every organisation, and providing fast, affordable and safe access to that data is our mission,” said co-founder and CEO of Vast, Renen Hallak. “Our disaggregated and shared everything architecture is the foundation for all data within an organisation. Now customers have the only platform they need for their modern applications, including AI, big data, backup and containers.”

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