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July 25, 2016 Issue



Software Defined All-Flash Array for Managing Flash Memory in Data Centers Offering High Performance with 600K IOPS for 4KB Random Writes



Dr. Charles Tsai



AccelStor, Inc.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 25, 2016


CEOCFO: Dr. Tsai, what is AccelStor?

Dr. Tsai: AccelStor is actually the provider of software defined All-Flash Arrays. Since All-Flash Array has been categorized by well known companies as a very special category to improve the performance inside the data center in enterprises, it has become a flagship product among all of the storage offerings. We are a bit unique because we do it in a way in which we would like to call it software defined All-Flash Array. That is because we leverage standard server platforms and add our software FlexiRemap, a very advanced one, which is specifically designed for managing Flash memory, which opens up the enterprise features in the data services and makes a commodity of the shared hardware with solid state drive and turns that into a premium, high grade, high performance All-Flash Array.


CEOCFO: How did you realize that software was the way to go to make a difference?

Dr. Tsai: There are actually many ways of doing All-Flash Array. You can start from scratch, doing proprietary hardware, firmware, proprietary software and so on. However, we realize that in contrast to competing with a giant company that is doing everything from scratch – they are actually risk takers – we can do it in a smarter way. With the software defined architecture we are able to leverage the latest advancements of the processor architecture and harness the power of the semiconductor, new generations of products, while our software is fitting on top of such new technology, new platform; and overall this software defined All-Flash Array becomes very high performance, and development cycle could be very short and stay on top of competition.


CEOCFO: What has been the reception in the marketplace?

Dr. Tsai: I think we are not alone. There is a trend that the software defined storage becomes a buzzword in the industry. When speaking of the All-Flash Array there are a few players doing a similar approach and each with their own exclusive technology, including us. There are smart people around the globe and we are one of them and we do what we do best in terms of building an All-Flash Array.


CEOCFO: What is different about your software?

Dr. Tsai: Compared to people that have been in the storage industry, there are actually many software developers that develop enterprise storage and all kinds of features like that. However, only a very tiny group of the people that can do software at the same time also have extensive domain knowledge about solid state storage. Our team consists of experts from the software industry as well as from the Flash memory industry, so the combination of the two makes our software fully optimized for the nature and the internal working of flash memory. That is what is special about our software.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about recognition in CIOReview as One of the Twenty Most Promising HPC Solution Providers?

Dr. Tsai: That is very interesting, because normally when people talk about high performance computing, or, HPC, the first thing that comes to their mind would be the bottleneck on the computation power. However, once the bottleneck on the computation power has been removed, the next bottleneck will be on the storage performance. Therefore, being a provider of the high performance All-Flash Array, AccelStor actually resolves the bottleneck on the storage side and our product, NeoSapphire series, has very good performance in terms of random I/Os. When the computation bottleneck has been resolved we pick up the next task to resolve the storage bottleneck. Enhanced together with other industry leaders on the computation side, our All-Flash Arrays can provide a better solution to overall audience in the high performance computing sector.


CEOCFO: Who is using your services today?

Dr. Tsai: For an example, there could be a large scale simulation in the HPC segments. Although they can deploy many of the servers to enhance their computing power, however when it comes to the data they still need to have the high performance storage to back it up, so that the overall simulation time can be reduced. We have a customer who is working on chemical simulation and by replacing conventional disk arrays with our All-Flash Array we have successfully reduced their time for getting simulation results.


CEOCFO: You have a range of products such as NeoSapphire 3401 and 3501? What is the difference in the products?

Dr. Tsai: NeoSapphire series is designed for different market segments. We start from a very niche product which comes with 300K IOPS for 4KB random writes, but not very big in capacity. They are for niche projects. On the other hand our flagship product, NeoSapphire 3413, comes with 600K IOPS for 4KB random writes and also a big capacity of thirteen terabytes. When we mentioned the capacity we actually report usable capacity. This is a bit different from some of the vendors who only report the raw capacity. Therefore, when we say thirteen terabytes usable, it means the user can safely write that amount of data without any hesitation to this All-Flash Array. Therefore, we believe that we complete on this ground of the enterprise and industry storage at the performance tier without ignoring the capacity requirements.


CEOCFO: Is cost a factor? How do you compare with some of the other products? Does the increased capability make up for any differences in cost?

Dr. Tsai: As you know, the storage space today has been divided into the capacity tier and performance tier. We are one hundred percent focusing on the performance tier. Therefore, when speaking of the metrics in the performance tier people generally focus on the per-IOPS dollars. That means how much the end customer pays for getting the performance that they require. In terms of the per-IOPS dollars we are actually very competitive.


CEOCFO: Is there much of a learning curve when people are using your products? What do people need to know at the other end? How do you help support any questions?

Dr. Tsai: This is actually a very good question! Among other features, our product comes with a very easy to use web based management interface. Therefore, basically any technical people fluent with web browser can configure and use our product without a problem. Secondly, our product mostly runs the standard protocols like iSCSI in terms of the block devices and also NFS or CIFS as a file system sharable device. Therefore, an average IT person can connect their host machines to our All-Flash Array and start the browser to configure that. We even provide a wizard for instant configuration, so it is very easy and we do not expect the administrators of the storage parts of the data center to encounter any issues with using this product.


CEOCFO: What is ahead for AccelStor? What are your next steps and your strategy for the upcoming year?

Dr. Tsai: We have our core technology, FlexiRemap software, and in the past few months since our establishment we have successfully converted that FlexiRemap technology into the product. Therefore, after this commercialization process, we are now going to promote this product in a bigger scale. At the same time we will still devote our engineering resources to developing more and more enterprise features that could be usable in terms of the performance tier. Therefore, on one hand we are going to market our existing product and on the other hand we will continue to invest in the engineering side and to strengthen our product with all kinds of features, without penalty to the performance.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an idea of what you might be adding?

Dr. Tsai: For example, looking back to the past eighteen months, initially we got a series of entry level models that perform very fast in terms of 4KB random writes and now shortly after we will be adding high-availability functionality to that. This is actually a perfect example, showing that we are not just having only the core technology which is specific for flash management, but we are also getting our product to the next level to whatever feature the enterprise customers may value.


CEOCFO: Are you funded for your next steps and for all the growth that you would like to do? Are you looking for investment or partnerships?

Dr. Tsai: Yes. Actually, we are backed up by very strong investors and they keep fueling us in terms of all kinds of resources that we need. Therefore, we are ready to welcome the next step of our growth.


CEOCFO: What surprised you as AccelStor has grown and developed?

Dr. Tsai: There are actually two aspects of that. First of all, with this excellent team we are actually moving faster than we thought. From our core technology and going through the commercialization process and now it becomes the product, then we are going to market it; it actually took less amount of time than we planned. This is one aspect of that. The second aspect of that – we actually did not expect to have a revenue stream in the very first year. However, we really had that. Now we already have a recurring order from a customer. Therefore, what actually surprised me is that with this group of talented people and well coordination and communication, people inspire each other and eventually we have a momentum that is consolidated to something that we can count on.


CEOCFO: Why should people use AccelStor products?

Dr. Tsai: AccelStor is a young and energetic company with a very solid foundation from the technology point of view and also the professionalism of different aspects in terms of sales, marketing, engineering and so on. This company is going to be a professional producer of the premium software defined All-Flash Array. We will grow with our customers, and our product will keep enhancing itself, and we can make the storage world a better one.


“Being a provider of the high performance All-Flash Array, AccelStor actually resolves the bottleneck on the storage side and our product, NeoSapphire series, has very good performance in terms of random I/Os.” - Dr. Charles Tsai


AccelStor, Inc.


Clara Lee, Senior Marketing Manager

+886 2 77467616 ext. 2561






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