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Minio prepares new object storage dish for 2019

The CEO of object storage startup Minio wants to change the way people talk about his company in 2019, beginning with the way they say its name.

Most people pronounce it “MIN-EO” but CEO and founder Anand Babu Pariasamy said he wants the company known as Min-IO, as in “minimal IO.” The effort to reduce latency is reflected in a new hardware product that Minio plans to launch in 2019 to optimize its object storage software performance.

Minio is an object storage server released under Apache License 2.0 and compatible with Amazon S3 cloud storage. Periasamy bills Minio as object storage for AI.

Like most object storage vendors, Minio started out selling private cloud storage. But now it is aiming for data centers and private clouds by targeting specific applications.

“We want to see more applications built on object storage,” Pariasamy said during a recent press event at its Palo Alto, California, headquarters. “If you tell customers object is better than file and block, it’s not going to work. They need applications.”

Periasamy also wants people to change the way people talk about object storage and its relationship to AI. “AI is big data,” he said. “Object storage uses cases are machine learning, big data analytics, and application data. The primary use case for Minio has been replacing Hadoop.”

He said developments such as Amazon Outposts and Microsoft Azure Stack that bring public cloud technology into on-premises data centers will blur the lines between public and private clouds.

“In the end, the enterprise IT will look like AWS,” he said.

He sees his main competition coming from the likes of Cloudera Hadoop software and Pure Storage’s FlashBlade all-flash array for unstructured data.

Minio is working on its own flash performance system that Periasamy said will ship in 2019. He said Minio has worked with hardware partner Samsung for six months on the storage system.

The hardware is an all-flash box that uses high-capacity quad-level cell (QLC) NVMe drives, up to eight servers with Intel Skylake chips, and Mellanox CX5 1000 Gigabit per second Ethernet switches. The system will perform erasure coding and bit-rot detection for data protection.

Periasamy said the server-based architecture is different from a typical storage array.

“We don’t come from the storage world, and that’s our strength,” he said. “We don’t look at this from a storage point of view. The problem with storage is, they’re all like chefs. They teach other chefs and if anyone tries to make changes to their recipes, they hate it.”

So 2019 may be the year that Minio either cooks up something different and tasty, or becomes one more chef that spoils the soup.

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