StorPool shows international ambition in the block storage market

On the occasion of the IT Press Tour Paris, part of the team from the Bulgarian start-up StorPool traveled to take stock of its distributed storage technology. Its CEO, Boyan Ivanov, also told us about his international growth strategy.

“Performance, reliability, scalability, we have redesigned everything from the beginning in terms of storage technology.” Since we last met in January 2021, StorPool has come a long way. Launched in 2011 by Boyan Ivanov (CEO), Boyan Krosnov (CTO) and Yanko Yankulov (head of engineering), the Bulgarian start-up has grown significantly. Offering a block storage solution in distributed mode, StorPool is aimed primarily at companies wishing to combine high performance, low latency and extreme reliability. “We built from the ground up and revamped everything: in-house drive format, revamped protocol for block mode, networking, quorum management, and more,” says Boyan Ivanov, CEO and co-founder of StorPool, in the introduction.

“It upgrades AFA, high-end SANs, and other storage software when building a demanding, large-scale IT infrastructure,” he adds. Today, the company presents itself as a robust and organically growing supplier. Although it focuses on primary flash storage, StorPool also covers other tiers, including backup. Far from being a “Silicon Valley start-up”, it surfs on its image as a European company, and claims to have developed from scratch. She has just published her 20e and last version 3 weeks ago, which brings additional capabilities.

Significant benefits for customers

First, note the addition of support for volume provisioning using NVMe over Fabrics, TCP Transport – next-generation block storage protocol that runs over a standard Ethernet network. This v20 “provides fast, low-latency access to NVMe protocol-based StorPool storage systems. The implementation is software-only and does not require specialized hardware,” says its CTO, Boyan Krosnov. Finally, in the event of a node failure, StorPool fails over targets from the failed storage node to another node on the cluster. This release brings another major change: StorPool customers can now migrate monolithic workloads to AWS, “which was not economically feasible with other technologies until now,” says Boyan Krosnov.

On the cost side, this version saves CPU cycles and achieves better performance on the same hardware, a significant point in the adoption of the technology. Customers will also be pleased to hear that StorPool has added support for running highly available NFS file servers inside StorPool storage clusters for specific use cases. “The NFS services provided are suitable for high-speed file workloads shared between internal and external end users (video rendering, data management applications, etc.)” says Boyan Krosnov, adding that “provisioned storage cumulative of all exposed shares from each NFS server can reach 50 TB”.

Adapt to an ever-changing market

With more than ten years of existence, StorPool can claim to know the market. “Storage has been improved as software running on standard servers,” says its CEO, Boyan Ivanov. Scaling up, increased performance and quality of service are all improvements noted in 10 years. “The other big change is the nature of the customer. The end user changes. Fifteen years ago, Fortune 500 companies spent the most money on technology in general. Today, there are more heavy users of technology, including many service providers, public cloud companies and private cloud SMEs and large companies.

To date, StorPool claims customers around the world, such as Atos, CloudSigma, eApps, Namecheap, Nasdaq Dubai, or Togglebox. She says she also works with NASA, the European Space Agency, Siemens, Deutsche Börse Group and even CERN. The United States thus represents 30% of its turnover. Indicating to be profitable recently, StorPool specifies that it does not plan to raise funds soon. “We are not at the mercy of the financial market. We see a lot of competitors in the market showing up loudly raising money, spending $10 to get $1 in income, which doesn’t really make sense, but I think a lot of that will go away concludes the CEO of StorPool.

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