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Hammerspace acquires Rozo Systems for storage tech

French software-defined storage vendor Rozo Systems becomes a new feature and performance benchmark for Hammerspace data management capabilities later this calendar year.

Software-defined storage vendor Hammerspace has acquired Rozo Systems, a high-performance scale out NAS vendor founded in 2010.

Hammerspace will integrate Rozo Systems' RozoFS -- its sole product -- into its data management software. This will add data resilience and a smaller data footprint while also providing Hammerspace customers with a consistent performance for storage access.

Hammerspace provides a global namespace through metadata and file tagging across a variety of hardware, said Marc Staimer, founder and president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. But edge cases could appear.

Performance for Hammerspace software may not have always been consistent when corralling a vendor products and off-the-shelf hardware, Staimer noted. RozoFS could provide a more consistent performance baseline.

"They could see it as a solution to some of their installations where they've found challenges," Staimer said. "They may run into corner cases where they need load balancing."

The acquisition closed in November 2022 but is only now being publicly acknowledged. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pierre Evenou, co-founder and CEO of Rozo, joined Hammerspace as vice president of advanced technology. Rozo CTO Didier Féron and vice president of engineering Jean-Pierre Monchanin also joined Hammerspace as senior staff software engineers.

Rozo's technology and features will be available within Hammerspace by third quarter of 2023, Hammerspace representatives said. The features will become standard for the Hammerspace product at no additional cost. Hammerspace is priced by usage in gigabytes.

Sow and reap along the Loire

Rozo is headquartered in Nantes, France, with offices in the U.S. It offers its scale-out file system through channel partners. Customers using the software include science industries, media and entertainment as well as higher education, according to Evenou.

Despite existing for over a decade, Rozo never grew at the rate of competing products, according to Dave Raffo, an analyst at Futurum Research.

"They stressed high performance and had some customers in the HPC and media [and] entertainment markets, but they had little funding," Raffo said. "Their market share was tiny compared to Nasuni, Panzura and Ctera. But their technology can be valuable for the right use cases."

RozoFS is hardware and cloud agnostic; it can be deployed on Linux as VM, public cloud instance or running on dedicated hardware. It uses a proprietary erasure coding named Mojette Transform for redundancy.

Erasure coding breaks data into fragments across multiple storage media locations and eliminates redundant data. The process also enables data protection by restoring uncorrupted data from segments stored in other drives.

Prior to the Hammerspace acquisition, the software was bundled with hardware from HPE, Dell and Lenovo in the past and was available through AWS. The company also considered iRODS a partner, an open-source data management platform in competition with Hammerspace. RozoFS has been compared to smaller startups MinIO and StorPool .

The integration into Hammerspace should benefit existing RozoFS customers as many were beginning to scale out across a variety of storage mediums, Evenou said.

"That's where we fell short. Because we can deploy RozoFS everywhere, but then you have several Rozo [instances], and you have to operate them differently," he said. "You can't use them seamlessly."

Hammerspace currently uses whatever storage software a customer prefers or offers its own version of XFS scalable file system, according to Tony Asaro, senior vice president of strategy and business development at Hammerspace.

XFS uses mirroring for data protection and recovery, however, increasing storage demands to keep data copies for backups, Asaro said. The erasure coding capabilities of RozoFS should eliminate some of those demands, he added.

"You get that high level of performance without having to have a proprietary agent," he said. "You're just using standard protocols … and you're getting a very low overhead in terms of data protection."

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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