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January 17, 2020

Storage and Networking Bytes: PCIe5, OpenShift, and Veeam


Welcome to Storage and Networking Bytes, a new Datanami feature dedicated to covering the latest in storage, networking, and backup technology. In this inaugural column, we’ll take a look at Red Hat’s new software-defined storage, Rambus’ PCIe5 progress, and the $5-billion acquisition of Veeam by a private equity firm.

Let’s start with PCIe5, the spec for which was finalized in early 2019. Now manufacturers are now getting revved up to produce PCIe5 hardware in 2020, which will be a boon for data- and processor-hungry workloads like machine learning and AI, as well as high performance computing (HPC) workloads that rely on GPUS, FPGAs, and ASICS to process data.

The original specs called for PCIe5 to be able to move data at speeds up to 64 gigabytes per second in each direction in a 16-lane configuration. That’s double the data rate of PCIe4, which hit the market in the 2016 timeframe. The PCIe5 rate is half the speed of the PCIe6, which is expected to debut in 2021 with 128 GB/s of bandwidth across a 32-lane bus.

Rambus is one of the first chip manufacturers to incorporate PCIe5. In November, the company announced its new PCIe5 interface controller and associated code, which can plug directly into products that meet version 5.2 of the PIPE (PHY Interface for the PCI Express) standard.


“Our high-speed SerDes [serializer/deserializer]and memory interface solutions make possible amazing advancements in performance-intensive applications in AI, data center, HPC, storage, and networking,” said Hemant Dhulla, vice president and general manager of IP cores at Rambus. “Now we’ve added PCIe 5 to our industry-leading portfolio of high-speed interface solutions giving chip makers another tool to unleash the power of their designs.”

Red Hat Delivers Options with Container Storage

Red Hat this week announced OpenShift Container Storage 4, a new release of the company’s Ceph-based software-defined storage product that runs atop containers. With this release, Red Hat has bolstered the storage offering with the addition of a multi-cloud object gateway obtained with its 2018 acquisition of NooBaa.

Red Hat says the new technology creates a higher abstraction level, which gives customers the flexibility to select different data services across multiple public clouds, all from a Kubernetes-based control plane. In other words, Red Hat’s customers can move their Red Hat-based block, file, and object storage services among AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure clouds, without succumbing to the vendor lock-in that would otherwise result from using the default storage options offered by those cloud players.

The new release is expected to be a boon for users looking to move foraed with cloud storage on Kubernetes. According to IDC analyst Eric Sheppard, Red Hat is succeeding in positioning OpenShift Container Storage as the default storage option for OpenShift users.

“Red Hat integrated its persistent storage services as first class citizens into the OpenShift Container Platform, enabling customers to build the next generation of storage-intensive applications technology with many years of enterprise deployment success,” he stated in a Red Hat press release.

Veeam Bought for $5 Billion

The industry is still digesting news last week that Insight Partners has acquired cloud backup vendor Veeam Software for $5 billion. The New York City-based private equity firm invested $500 million in Veeam last year, and it liked the Switzerland-based software outfit and its story of hybrid data management and cloud backup so much that it decided to buy the whole thing.

It’s great news for Veeam, which was founded in 2006 by Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov and released its first data backup and replication tool for VMware virtual machines in 2008. Over the years, the company has expanded its offerings to the point where it was the largest backup vendor in EMEA and the fourth largest worldwide, behind DellEMC, Veritas, and IBM. In 2019, it launched enterprise backup solutions for AWS, Azure, and Office 365, and ended the year with more than 360,000 customers, accounting for 81% of the Fortune 500. Its revenues exceeded $1 billion.

Insight made some immediate changes, including appointing Veeam’s EVP of Operations, William Largent, to be its new CEO. The new owner will also move Veeam’s headquarters to the United States as it looks to take Veeam to the next level.

“Veeam’s platform is the most advanced and complete data management solution available to businesses requiring a seamless blend of data backup and recovery, data protection, data security, and data availability,” said Mike Triplett, the managing director of Insight Partners.