Fungible launched its pilot storage system for data centers recently, fueled by its processors. The chip start-up also talks about its goal of putting smaller cloud providers on an equal hardware foundation with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The Fungible Storage Cluster, now available, can be defined as a hardware-software ensemble that enables data center operators to disaggregate and pool their storage. The company executives claim the final outcome as the fastest, most cost-efficient, secure, and easy-to-use NVMe-based disaggregated storage platform.

“Think of AWS’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS),” Sidney Chow, Fungible’s VP of Business Development. He added, “We are democratizing EBS and offering this to all cloud service providers who want to compete with Amazon.”

Fungible has pitched its Data Processing Unit (DPU) responsible for driving the storage cluster as a revolutionary processor. It enables enterprises to expedite data center performance and operate their data centers more effectively and cost-efficiently.

Sidney Chow commented, “We built the storage stack from the ground up. This is not licensing someone else’s technology.” He added, “It’s a standard 24-drive SSD box with a 2U form factor. What it can do is support a random read rate of 15 million IOPs, and that is five to 10 times better than what is out in the marketplace today.”

The Fungible Data Processing Unit (DPU), introduced in August 2020, falls in a new category of accelerator processor that controls data processing activities such as storage, security, and networking, thus freeing up the CPU to focus solely on application processing.

Executives at Fungible mention that its DPUs execute data-centric computations and are ten times faster compared to CPUs. The DPUs enable data center operators to reduce the total cost of ownership as they no longer need to overprovision compute resources.

As per analysts, AWS whose custom Nitro processors are deployed exclusively in Amazon’s data centers perform a similar function as that of Fungible DPUs. The competitor list of Fungible includes start-ups such as Pensando Systems and Nebulan.

Now that Fungible has released a storage product, it has to deliver on its promises, said Ashish Nadkarni, VP of IDC’s Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group.

He added, “They can go after cloud service providers, but they need to prove that they can scale.” “It’s one thing to come up with a product. It’s another thing to make it work in the field with all the use cases, which is their next big step. I think they will get there, but it’s one step at a time.”

Fungible’s storage cluster

The brand new storage cluster by Fungible is available in two parts: the Fungible FS1600 storage hardware, equipped with two Fungible F1 DPU processors and 24 standard NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs), and the second one is the Fungible Composer, which can be described as a centralized software deployed to configure, manage, and control a cluster of Fungible FS1600 storage nodes.

The company also spoke about how the software-defined storage system, which supports NVMe-over-TCP and NVMe-over-TrueFabric (Fungible’s exclusive networking technology), is power-efficient and can potentially support a large number of FS1600 nodes in a single storage cluster.

Chow said, “The Storage Cluster features compression, encryption, and erasure coding for data protection. Through those features and better storage utilization, Fungible’s disaggregated solution provides five times more savings than a hyperconverged infrastructure solution with direct-attached storage.”