Hammerspace has updated its data management software to enable visibility into structured and unstructured data silos across the globe.
The vendor's new Global Data Environment (GDE) is now generally available to all Hammerspace customers.
Hammerspace's GDE creates a single global namespace for all customer data, giving visibility and accessibility to data siloed in on-premises hardware or cloud storage. Users can access, move and copy data as though it were available locally through caching, while maintaining data integrity through snapshots, versioning and replication.
GDE further expands these capabilities beyond visibility into unstructured data storage to include structured block storage as well. All forms of cloud storage from hyperscalers AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are supported, whether it's block, object or file.
The GDE enables customers to separate storage hardware and services from the data itself, according to David Flynn, CEO and co-founder of Hammerspace.
The Hammerspace software abstracts the data itself from the storage hardware and format it actually exists on into a filespace digestible to most end users.
David FlynnCEO and co-founder, Hammerspace
"It's the exact same file system across all of [your storage]," he said. "Your data can live beyond the lifetime of the storage holding it. The data can't be used to hold you hostage to a given [vendor]."
Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, said speed and access may become an issue for users at the edge, but the Hammerspace product can be valuable for organizations operating with a variety of storage silos.
"I'm not sure how it will work in a [large] geographical distribution, but it's a smart play," Staimer said. "Performance will be the stick that determines where you put certain data, but you're not going to differentiate [silos]."
The software can be deployed in bare-metal installations, virtual machines and through all three hyperscaler marketplaces, among other methods. The software is available as a subscription or perpetual license. Replacing or removing the service requires a NAS migration, but the company offers services and scripts for the process.
Visibility into silo and permutations
Maintaining visibility of data across myriad silo locations and storage hardware permutations is valuable to even modestly sized businesses, according to Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget.
"IT organizations continue to scale at a fast rate," he said. "We're going to have more data, and it's going to be spread over a larger number of localities than it ever has before."
The ability to now integrate block storage into the existing visibility, Sinclair noted, adds a compelling new capability to Hammerspace's existing toolkit.
"What's interesting about their solution is the breadth [of storage types] they support," he said.
Out of stealth
The update is partially a rebranding of Hammerspace's existing unstructured data management capabilities alongside a new marketing and channel partner push, according to Eric Burgener, a research vice president at IDC.
"The messaging was not as good as their product, in my opinion," Burgener said. "I think that's been one of the challenges Hammerspace has had in the past. The narrative I'm seeing with this Global Data Environment is much more cohesive than in the past."
Flynn confirmed Burgener's observation of a renewed marketing push for GDE alongside the software update announcement. He said the company expanded its marketing and sales leadership with new executive hires. Hammerspace has also created a new channel partner program called Partnerspace.
"We're coming out of stealth with the global data technology, but it's heavily proven technology," he said. "We're no longer just a technology company; we're building a strong go-to-market business."
Right tool. What job?
As Hammerspace's software emerges from stealth with the release of GDE, analysts differed on the target customers for the product.
Hammerspace competes with other data storage abstraction vendors and open source software, Staimer said. These include vendors Aparavi, StrongLink and Versity and the open source Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System.
The market for breaking vendor lock-in and silos will likely become more crowded in the years to come, according to Staimer.
"Moving data off of a storage silo into another is never easy," he said. "[Moving] data between systems based on its value or need to be accessed in a different locality, that's something users are demanding."
Burgener, however, argued Hammerspace competes with companies providing file services in cloud storage such as Nasuni or Ctera. He said Hammerspace's software can position itself as an alternative to another potential vendor lock-in scenario for medium-sized organizations operating numerous satellite locations.
The addition of storage vendor features, such as versioning and undeleting, only solidify the comparison.
"They go to companies that have lots of physical files distributed throughout the world," Burgener said. "Most people don't really understand all of the data they have out there."
Tim McCarthy is a journalist living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.