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Weka: Multicloud Data Platform for AI and Next-Gen Workloads

4th genplatform delivers hyperscaler integrations enabling organizations to run previously 'impossible' workloads in clouds of their choice, plus enhanced data reduction.

Weka unveiled the 4th gen of its unified software-based platform that delivers a consistent, performant and scalable data management experience across on-premises, edge, hybrid – and now multicloud – environments, for organizations looking to innovate and achieve first-to-market results with AI, ML and other next-gen workloads.

A seismic shift to the cloud by organizations looking to embrace digital-first strategies and harness transformational insights and discoveries using AI and ML is now accelerating, due in large part to the global disruptions wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain constraints.

“More than 90% of global enterprises are now actively moving to data-centric business models, necessitating greater flexibility and agility in the way applications are deployed and consumed across their organization,” said Eric Burgener, research VP, enterprise infrastructure, IDC. “To support large-scale analytic workloads, many organizations opt for a hybrid cloud environment and may also require access to multiple public clouds. This can present immense challenges when deploying performance-intensive applications like AI and ML, as traditional data infrastructures may be challenged to provide the required scale and data movement across distributed environments, resulting in stalled and even failed AI/ML initiatives.”

Weka is helping organizations to harness AI and innovate the future by running these impossibly large, performance-intensive workloads in the cloud – or clouds – of their choosing, as well as hybrid cloud and edge environments. The 4th gen Weka Data Platform delivers performance, data services and a seamless, simplified data management experience with economics – regardless of where their data and applications are located.

Key features and capabilities of new release include:

  • Unified Multicloud Data Platform for AI and Next-Gen Workloads: Weka 4 provides native integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to give organizations a single, unified deployment option that performs consistently – regardless of their preferred location. Data replication features enable workloads to be stretched seamlessly across edge, on-premises, hybrid and multicloud environments, while security features provide malware protection without compromising usability.
  • Class-Leading Economics: Weka 4 provides 3 overlapping ways for customers to optimize their environments for cost, availability, scale – tiering to local and cloud object storage, new choice of capacity (QLC) or performance-optimized (TLC) NVMe drives, and new, filesystem-wide data reduction that can increase effective capacity.
  • Simplicity at Hyperscale:
    • Redesigned User Interface: Improves ease of use, streamlines recurrent operations, simplifies day-to-day tasks, and supplies the foundation for management in multi-tenant environments to help organizations better manage their data at scale.
    • Enhanced Multi-Protocol Support: Weka 4 introduces NFSv4 and Sever Message Block (SMB) support for high-performance MS-Windows workloads. Customers can condense their data infrastructure stack and replace many legacy systems with a single zero-copy, zero-tuning Weka Data Platform deployment.
    • New Software Packages and Pricing Options: To simplify the buying experience, the company is releasing 4 new software packages aligned to its customers’ primary use cases, with the option of subscription or consumption-based pricing.

“The world’s largest enterprises and research organizations are now doubling down on using AI and ML at scale to support innovation, discovery, and business breakthroughs,” said Liran Zvibel, co-founder and chief executive officer, Weka. “Hyperscale public clouds like AWS, Azure, GCP and OCI can provide the requisite agility and economies of scale needed to fuel these critical transformation and innovation engines, but the Weka Data Platform is the key to unlocking that value for AI/ML workloads in hybrid and now multi-cloud environments. Weka can uniquely help enterprises to avoid cloud lock-in and run their businesses with unparalleled economics.”

Our Comments

This announcement represents a significant push for Weka and it confirms a new era for file storage as it shakes established positions.

Remember Weka as a new parallel file system (fs) a few years ago, at that time the company was named Weka.IO, but since that period the product has seriously evolved with new capabilities, addressed challenges and the company image as well. This messaging, branding and visibility effort started with the arrival of Jonathan Martin. Of course, you need a strong engineering team to deliver all promises and makes this a reality. Weka promotes the solution as the Data Platform for high-demanding and next generation workloads.

We already mentioned this but Wekafs has changed radically the file storage landscape bringing a new design and leveraging recent technologies such NVMe, fast networks, flash and containers here.

Beyond that there is a special sign that companies with Israeli roots like Weka, Vast Data, Lightbits Labs, Pliops and remember Excelero and E8 Storage, all jumped very early into the red ocean with different successes but all with new approaches wishing to shake the market and introduced new ways to solve next generation workload challenges.

Designed as a parallel fs, Wekafs extends this notion to everything in the product making any type of IO/s extremely fast. This divide and conquer approach doesn't only serve HPC cases but also AI and other new workloads that require high throughput and IO/s levels.

In addition to that and this is remarkable for a parallel fs, NAS and S3 are offered and deliver also high results. It means that Wekafs is able present itself as a "classic" but hyper fast parallel fs and, at the same time, super fast NAS and S3 storage, and not to forget GPUDirect as well, confirming its chameleon nature.

These developments and capabilities are translated for a few months in the trajectory of the company with dozens of new accounts in various industries, an exponential revenue curve and lots of new employees to sustain its growth.

What is also interesting is the business model Liran Zvibel's team chose with strong reseller and OEM such as Hitachi Vantara, HPE or Lenovo.

Now this new serious iteration changes the file storage landscape again. There are on-premise players, some of them have tried cloud flavors but Weka is now available on 4 majors cloud - AWS, GCP, Azure and OCI - making Wekafs usage completely environment agnostic. Mention that Wekafs was available on AWS since 2017, listed on the marketplace with 230PB moved to the Seattle giant data centers.

This ubiquitous flavor of Wekafs received a few others key new features like the capability to continuously feed incrementally a remote cloud file system to finally promote it. In terms of access methods, NFS v4.1 and SMB-W, W for WEKA, were added and optimized for various file sizes. The engineering team has also produced enhancements for data reduction leveraging variable chunks recent techniques. Instant Object Retrieval and Incremental Snapshots are 2 others features announced with that release. Finally the user interface was redesigned to be aligned with cloud standard and be ready for multi-tenants needs.

Weka represents a good example of an U3 - Universal, Unified and Ubiquitous - storage solutions and clearly enters into the enterprise segment.

Following the launch of Weka 4, there is an exclusive interview with Zvibel, CEO and co-founder you can listen here.

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