Composable Infrastructure direct-connects compute and storage resources dynamically, using virtualized networking techniques controlled by software. Instead of physically constructing a server with specific internal devices (typically storage or NICs), or cabling the appropriate device chassis to a server, composable enables the virtual connection of these resources at the device level as needed, when needed.
Not bound by a fixed ratio of CPUs to storage or networking, etc., these products can assemble or “compose” bare-metal compute systems with the desired hardware configuration, essentially at run time. And, they can “disassemble” it when no longer needed, returning those resources to a common pool. Some solutions also support GPUs and/or FPGAs.
DriveScale, founded in 2013 (first release in 2016), is an independent vendor that developed a composable solution that essentially maps DAS devices to servers in an Ethernet-connected environment, using DriveScale or third party storage adapters. Instead of a purpose-built, blade-style, modular chassis, DriveScale’s solution is built around a software composing engine that creates clusters of third-party storage devices and diskless servers using iSCSI and NVMe-over-fabric protocols. Using Ethernet to connect all resources with server nodes and the Composer software, DriveScale clusters can scale to thousands of nodes.
The DriveScale Composer is the orchestration and management layer that controls the creation of bare-metal server instances from templates, or containerized applications with Kubernetes and Docker integrations, using connected compute and storage resources. The Composer can map individual HDDs or SSDs (or SSD “slices”) to a Server to create compute instances. The Composer also manages shared resource pools and cluster configurations, plus RAID partitioning and encryption key management. It provides ongoing health and performance monitoring of DriveScale clusters and connects to Cloud Central, a cloud-based administration site for updates and monitoring of multiple DriveScale deployments.
The DriveScale SAS Storage Adapter is a SAS-to-Ethernet bridge that enables the connection of JBOD/F (Just a Bunch of Drives/Flash) and eBOD (Ethernet Box of Drives) third party storage chassis into the cluster. The DriveScale NVMe Adapter is a 24-drive, dual-controller NVMe storage chassis, providing NVMe flash capacity (with user-supplied SSDs) and support for iSCSI and NVMe over Fabrics using RoCE v2. Its embedded software performs “SSD slicing”, creating partitions that can be shared between servers and increasing resource utilization and efficiency. The Adaptor Software also provides network monitoring, security and load balancing functions.
DriveScale Server Agents run on diskless servers, (the lowest level of compute in the DriveScale System), capturing node inventory and server configuration information for the Composer. They also execute encryption and implement RAID levels. GPUs are supported in DriveScale cluster, but are not mapped separately from the server.
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