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French Start-Up Fizians in Software Scale-Out NAS File System

Based on product called RozoFS
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2015.01.02

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Based in Nantes, France, with nine employees, Fizians SAS is one of the few storage start-up in the country where it's much harder than in USA to find financial funding.

The firm only got a mere €800.000 ($1 million) last year.

It was co-founded in July 2010 by its current CEO, Pierre Evenou, 41, former research engineer at IVC Laboratory of the Institut de Recherche et de Communications et Cynerbernétique de Nantes, as well as Jeanpierre Guedon, inventor of 'Mojette' (used in the product), and Louis Le Gouriellec a network specialist who was marketing director at Alcatel. CTO is Didier Feron, previously at Alcatel-Lucent.

Fizians' flagship product is named RozoFS, an open source software for scale-out NAS file system based on commodity servers with HDDs (and SSDs to come) that can be added for a complete fault-tolerant infrastructure without disrupting the production and able to reach petabytes.

The more nodes you add the more throughput you get. Each file is not replicated several times on different servers. The Mojette Transform algorithm is able to generate multiple chunks and to store them on several servers, generating only one and an half copy to save storage capacity compared to more hungry simple replication. The result is that files can be used even if some servers break down. The company said: "data is only stored 1.5 times in the system to obtain a 99.9999% availability level and, thanks to its self healing, a 99.99999999999% durability level. Using this technology, RozoFS can withstand at least up to four simultaneous (configurable) failures in the commodity storage pool." It claims that "tested in sequential and random I/O workloads on a 4-node platform, RozoFS provided up to 110,800 IO/s and 5.9GB/s."

Fizians,RzoFS

The file system itself comprises three components:

  • exportd - Meta data server managing the location (layout) of chunks (ensure the best capacity load balancing with respect to HA), file access and namespace (hierarchy). Multiple replicated meta data servers are used to provide failover.
  • storaged - Storage server storing the chunks.
  • rozofsmount - Clients communicating with both export servers and chunk servers and are responsible for data transformation.

Deployed as VMs on public cloud providers, RozoFS allows applications requiring fast data access to run in the cloud without rewrite to be compliant with the provider's storage API, and at no additional charges.

One of the known customer of Fizians is the Carmin Project, created as part of the call for "laboratories of excellence" of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, aimed at creating places where mathematicians can exchange and pool their skills in order to solve big scientific issues.

The French company sells only through distributors, one of them being Concat AG in Germany.

It is on the way to open an office in San Francisco, CA to enter into US market and to find more financial funding.

There are already several storage companies and start-ups in the world involved in software-defined storage for scale-out object storage systems with their own proprietary algorithm. They include Amplidata, Cleversafe, Red Hat and Scality. Isilon/EMC is also a big competitor in this market with hardware and software.

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