Dell: Could you tell us about Swiftstack and Swift for those of us who may not know what it is?
Joe Arnold: At SwiftStack we provide OpenStack Swift and as well as a deployment and management product that enables our customers to get up and running with Swift really easily. Swift is an object storage system. It allows our customers to deploy large scale storage clouds in their own data center. It’s like Amazon S3, but it allows them to run this in-house. We serve web, mobile, software-as-a-service companies that need to service lots of devices and lots of users that are using their product. They need a storage system that can scale up to serve those workloads.
Q: Can you tell us about your recent book?
A: It’s called Software Defined Storage With OpenStack Swift. You can request a copy at www.swiftstack.com/book We just explain everything you need to know about OpenStack Swift and how to build a software-defined storage system using SwiftStack.
Q: What is the added value, that SwiftStack offers beyond Swift?
A: Swift is a phenomenal storage software. But what’s missing is the control functionality which enables an operator to deploy and manage many nodes at scale. That’s what we provide at SwiftStack. We sell a software subscription to our controller, which is a product that enables our customers to deploy and manage Swift simply. We also invest a lot of energy and effort into Swift and are the lead contributor into OpenStack Swift.
Q: What are actually the largest deployments with Swift?
A: What’s interesting about some of the large service providers running Swift is that they hold their cards close to their chests. There are some very, very large deployments of Swift out there, but I’m not going to try to wager a guess at what I think some of those larger ones are. I know that we are managing multi-petabyte deployments with our product.
Q: And Swift, like you said, is primarily seen in private clouds. Are there public clouds using it as well? Korea Telecom, if I’m not mistaken, uses Swift as an alternative to S3.
A: Actually Gartner issued a study on the top 10 public cloud providers and four of them are running Swift behind the scenes. So KT is one of them, Internap is another, also Rackspace, HP and Softlayer runs Swift. Swift is absolutely a platform that people can use to build public cloud services.
Q: That private cloud availability to leverage is really interesting. It’s built for commodity hardware, is that right?
A: It’s built for commodity hardware. We call it standards-based hardware. We care more about the components that are inside the box and that we’re compatible with. We install on Red Hat, CentOS and Ubuntu.We can run environments that are homogeneous. So this quater you’re shipping in this type of gear and the next quarter you’re shipping in new, faster, better gear and SwiftStack is making sure that the storage and the access to the storage is distributed across proportionately to the right equipment.
Q: Can Swift run in multiple data centers?
A: There are some new advancements in Swift. Swift has concept of zones and regions. It uses as unique as possible data placement to make sure that replicas are placed as far apart as possible to make sure that the durability and availability remain really high. For clusters that are separated with wider geography, we make sure that there are special rules - when a write comes in there are rules on how replication will transfer the data from the different sites.
Q: So is there any really cool feature that’s going to come in OpenStack Havana?
A: It’s called Global Clusters and it provides global replication. You have the rules around how you can write in one location and have another location to serve either as a disaster recovery site or the cluster can be configured in an active-active configuration to serve data from both data centers.
Q: Joey, thanks again for joining us and congratulation on your book.
A: Thank you.