TL; DR: Software-defined storage provider StorPool is helping hosting providers reinvent the way they build private and public clouds. The software increases performance and boosts margins by combining the capacity of all drives into a single, scalable storage pool. With the recent release of StorPool 18.02 and plans for further expansion, the company is making fast and efficient distributed storage software available on a global scale.
For today’s internet-dependant businesses, high availability isn’t just a nice thing to have — it’s a make-or-break determiner of success. Whether we’re communicating internally through email, managing customer interactions with online CRM software, or running an eCommerce shop, nearly all business functions rely on internet connectivity.
Even small amounts of downtime come at a high cost. Gartner estimates that one minute of downtime costs a business $5,600. And that’s just an average: Depending on the industry and how the company operates, downtime can cost up to $540,000 per hour.
On the other side of the coin, high availability provides users with a better experience, enhances employee productivity, protects business reputations, and leads to higher overall revenue.
Boyan Krosnov, Chief of Product and Co-Founder at StorPool, knows this well. In 2011, he helped start the software-defined storage company in response to a few enlightening conversations with hosting companies.
“We asked them what problems they were trying to solve,” Boyan said. “Overwhelmingly, they told us they were trying to build highly available public cloud services, but the storage part of the equation was very hard to solve.”
The team behind StorPool believed that traditional SAN storage had become outdated, so they set out to deliver storage for public and private clouds using an entirely new approach.
Their hard work paid off, resulting in software-defined storage that increases performance and boosts margins by combining the capacity of all drives into a single, scalable storage pool. Today, StorPool is trusted by service providers as a fast and reliable solution for building private and public clouds. With its sixteenth major release, StorPool 18.02, and plans for continued innovation, the company is prepared to make its distributed storage software available to a broad spectrum of users.
A Distributed Storage System That’s Simple and Affordable
StorPool essentially combines local storage, such as hard disks and SSDs, to create a single pool of shared block storage that works on a cluster of servers. The next-generation data storage software is both fast and reliable due to its distributed architecture, which eliminates single points of failure.
Any business that needs shared storage or builds clouds can leverage StorPool’s solutions. “We’re helping hosting companies become more competitive and provide a better service for their customers,” Boyan said. “Hosting services are often used by business people, so if you want to be a successful hosting provider, you need to take care of your customers to help their businesses grow.”
Boyan said that many of his customers are competing with industry giants like AWS. “The public cloud space is extremely competitive,” he said. “Our customers must be able to deliver highly available services to survive in this market.”
The software includes built-in redundancy through synchronized replication across the cluster. “Typically, data needed by one StorPool Client is located on drives, which are located in all of the servers in the cluster,” Boyan said. “This provides high performance and load balancing in real time.”
Software-defined storage removes the need to purchase expensive server hardware, be it a SAN or an all-flash array. It also works with standard hardware, which reduces costs and keeps maintenance simple. StorPool designs solutions on a case-by-case basis dependent upon exact storage requirements as well as the capacity, performance, and features of the storage system itself.
Room to Grow: Scale Linearly in Capacity and Performance
Emerging businesses need hosting providers that can accommodate sudden growth without the risk of downtime. To that end, StorPool provides a high degree of flexibility in terms of volume management. Every disk added to a StorPool cluster increases the capacity of the cluster — not just for new data, but for existing data as well. “It’s a scalable solution, meaning when they grow, they just add another server to the cluster, and they get the performance of the server added to their whole pool,” Boyan said.
Kualo Web Hosting, a London-based company with tens of thousands of clients worldwide, serves as a shining example of StorPool’s scalability solutions. According to a case study on the StorPool site, Kualo deployed numerous software-based storage solutions in the past, only to encounter scalability and performance issues. As each provider failed to meet its needs, Kualo outlined four non-negotiable standards: performance, redundancy, scalability, and affordability.
“StorPool delivered superbly in all of these areas — something no other product they have tested or deployed has been able to do,” Storpool representatives stated in the case study. “Now they can add servers as they need and can even redeploy existing servers with minimal hardware changes.”
StorPool is so scalable that Kualo plans to use the software-defined storage in other areas of its business, including storage solutions for its shared and enterprise-level managed hosting clients.
Furthermore, a look at the company’s SiteGround case study will give you a good idea of what StorPool can do in terms of performance. As Ivaylo Nikolov, CIO of SiteGround, said: “StorPool’s solution and scaling model allows us to achieve hundreds of times faster performance and scale both computing and storage clusters instantly.”
Low Setup Costs and an Incremental Pay-as-You Grow Model
It’s no secret that today’s hosts find themselves in an increasingly crowded market. Staying competitive in this environment is a matter of finding efficiencies and lowering costs for a higher ROI. StorPool acknowledges that customers must optimize their storage and are looking for a scalable solution with incremental pricing.
The company increases cost efficiencies in multiple ways. First, it offers a pay-as-you-grow pricing model with zero upfront costs. Second, it lowers the software-defined datacenter footprint by placing storage and compute on the same servers, which reduces utility costs and management expenses.
On the shared hosting side, StorPool offers Highly Available Shared Hosting (HASH) in which traditional, bare metal shared hosting servers are converted to virtual machines, providing better performance and availability at a lower total cost.
“A lot of shared hosting websites are hosting, say, 1,000 websites on a single physical server, and if anything happens to that physical server, the customers suffer,” Boyan said. “The HASH concept eliminates that problem by handling hardware failures without any downtime.”
Without downtime, hosts can avoid paying uptime guarantee compensations while decreasing customer churn rates. Boyan said the highly available scale-out architecture in the new setup allows hosts to handle many of the operational issues automatically or remotely, without having to send a technician to the datacenter.
StorPool’s New 18.02 Release and Further Industry Expansion
StorPool recently released the latest edition of its distributed storage software, Version 18.02, which places a greater emphasis on integrations, enhances hardware platform compatibility, and reduces resource use.
The new release will also feature Kubernetes integration, 30% lower storage latency, support for new Linux distributions, support for hyperscale datacenter networks, and enhanced insight into analytics and metrics.
“We added optimal use of hyperscale leaf-spine networks, integration with the leading container orchestration platform, Kubernetes, and a myriad of small improvements,” Boyan said. “StorPool’s performance was already exceptional, but we like to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Looking toward the future, Boyan said StorPool is turning its attention to helping SaaS and private cloud companies build reliable, fast, software-defined infrastructure to develop and run applications. Like StorPool’s other solutions, its SaaS solution eliminates single points of failure, increases uptimes, and improves speed.
Whether it’s helping businesses thrive online or enterprises to build low-latency platforms, StorPool’s mission is the same: to deliver better performance and reliability at an affordable price point.