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November 27, 2017

Alluxio’s Storage Layer Gains Traction in China


Alluxio, the storage layer startup already working with some of China’s largest cloud and Internet providers, is expanding its reach with a deal to supply its memory-centric virtual distributed file system to one of China’s largest financial investment firms.

Alluxio, formerly Tachyon Nexus, was spun off from the open source project started by the University of California at Berkeley’s AMPLab. The startup said this week it would provide the enterprise version of its software layer to support the big data analytics platform operated by Huatai Securities. The partners said the Alluxio software framework that unifies storage systems for in-memory computing would be used to provide services such as real-time risk analysis and investment recommendations.

Hutai, China’s largest trader of securities and bonds, also plans to use the big data platform to launch new products such as data relay services.

The enterprise version of the storage layer released last year serves as an access point to merge disparate sources of data. It is currently being used to manage petabytes of production storage for Chinese giants Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) along with banks such as Barclays (NYSE: BCS).

While Apache Spark and Apache Mesos concentrated on the computing and resource management layers, Alluxio said it focused on the missing storage layer of the big data architecture. The company was re-launched last year to tap into memory throughput that has been growing exponentially as the performance of traditional storage media plateaus.

Haoyuan Li, company founder and an AMPLab veteran, describes Alluxio’s file system as simultaneously memory based, virtual and distributed. “We become this unified access point which enables different frameworks to access data stored in different storage systems,” Li told Datanami last year. “Beyond the performance benefits, we also enable these frameworks to access the data anywhere. Or, this data stored in any [file system] can be analyzed by any computation framework.”

Founded in 2015, the company’s value proposition revolves around preserving investments in storage systems by eliminating the need to move data from one storage platform to another while “unify[ing] data at memory speed,” Li added.

Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture firm, is an early investor in Alluxio. “As we confront unprecedented amounts of data, much of it in real-time, there is a shift from disk-centric to memory-centric computing,” noted Peter Levine, a general partner with Andreessen Horowitz. “This shift requires a complete re-think in file — and storage — system design.”

The investor is betting Alluxio’s storage layer can deliver on its promise of reliable data sharing at memory speed across datacenters—especially for big data applications. Backers also touted the file system’s ability to support data in traditional storage formats like Hadoop Distributed File System and Network File System along with workloads underlying big data analytics.

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