by Adam Armstrong

VAST Data Emerges From Stealth With Universal Storage

Today VAST Data came out of stealth with its new storage architecture that they claim will break decades-old storage tradeoffs to bring an end to complex storage tiering and HDD usage in the enterprise. The company calls its new system the VAST’s exabyte-scale Universal Storage system. This system is built entirely of higher performance flash media and several innovations to lower costs to HDD levels.

VAST Data is headquartered in New York City and has been in in stealth, with a few teases, until today. As stated, the company claims its new system can break decades-old storage tradeoffs to bring an end to complex storage tiering and HDD usage in the enterprise. The company states it can enable customers to consolidate their applications to a single tier of storage meets capacity, performance, and costs needs regardless of the applications, a fairly bold claim. Leading investors including TPG Growth, Norwest Venture Partners, Dell Technologies Capital, 83 North and Goldman Sachs back VAST Data.

The company just came off of a $40 million in Series B funding and is now launching with its flagship product. According to VAST Data, Universal Storage is a wholly new technology that leverages recent advancements such as NVMe over fabrics, storage class memory, and QLC flash. This results in a exabyte-scale, all-NVMe flash disaggregated, shared-everything (DASE) architecture. Some of the breakthroughs include:

  • Exabyte-Scale, 100 Percent Persistent Global Namespace: Each server has access to all of the media in a cluster eliminating the need for expensive DRAM-based acceleration or HDD tiering, ensuring that every read and write is serviced by fast NVMe media. Servers are loosely coupled in the VAST architecture and can scale to near-infinite numbers because they don’t need to coordinate I/O with each other nor are they encumbered by any cluster cross-talk that is often challenging to shared-nothing storage architectures. VAST servers can also be containerized and embedded into application servers to bring NVMe over Fabrics performance to every host.
  • Global QLC Flash Translation: The VAST DASE architecture is optimized for the unique and challenging way that new low-cost, low-endurance QLC media must be written. By employing new application-aware data placement methods in conjunction with a large SCM write buffer, VAST’s Universal Storage can extract unnaturally high levels of longevity from low-endurance QLC flash and enable low-cost flash systems to be deployed for over 10 years.
  • Global Data Protection: VAST’s new Global Erasure Codes have broken an age-old tradeoff between the cost of data protection and a system’s resilience. With VAST’s breakthrough work on data protection algorithms, storage gets more resilient as clusters grow while data protection overhead is as low as just two percent (compared to 33 to 66 percent for traditional systems).
  • Global Compression: VAST has invented a new form of data reduction that is both global and also byte-granular. The system discovers and exploits patterns of data similarity across a global namespace at a level of granularity that is 4,000 to 128,000 times smaller than today’s deduplication approaches. The net result is a system that realizes dramatic efficiency advantages on unstructured data, structured data and backup data without compromising the access speeds that customers expect from all-NVMe flash technology.

Key benefits include:

  • Flash Performance at Hard Disk Cost: All applications, from artificial intelligence to backup, can be served by flash, increasing performance without increasing the cost of capacity.
  • Massive Scalability: Customers no longer need to move their data across data centers and manage it via a complex collection of systems. Everything can be available from a single ‘source of truth’ in real-time. VAST’s Universal Storage is easier to manage and administer, and only becomes more reliable and optimized as it scales. 
  • New Insights: With this increased flexibility and scalability, there are new opportunities to analyze and achieve insights from vast reserves of data.
  • A Data Center in a Rack: Customers can now house dozens of petabytes in a single rack, providing significant reductions in the amount of floor space, power and cooling needed.
  • 10-Year Investment Protection: With VAST Data’s 10-year endurance warranty, customers can now deploy QLC flash with peace of mind. VAST’s DASE architecture enables better investment amortization than legacy HDD architectures, which need to be replaced every three to five years while also eliminating the need to perform complex data migrations.


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