EXABLOX – A different and smart approach to NAS for SMB

If you are looking for a very simple, scale out NAS, Exablox is something you need to look into. But Why I say different and smart?

Different: The idea behind Exablox is to build a scale out file system with an object storage as a backend.
Smart: You can use your own hard drives. Yes! You need to buy from Exablox only the appliance and support.


Exablox is based in Sunnyvale, CA. Funded in 2011 by some Storage industry veterans.
Douglas Brockett is the CEO. Exablox make 300+ customer in 18 months.
The product Exablox sell is a two pieces product:
OneBlox, the NAS appliance that serve a network filesystem backed by a Scale-out file and object storage.
OneSystem, the Storage Management platform served via SaaS.

OneBlox appliances are aggregated in a Ring. A single Ring can start from one and grow up to seven appliances. If your business needs ask for more storage you can simple put new hard drives on your appliance or add new appliances to the ring. OneBlox simply grows the global file system with zero configuration and no application downtime. You can start with 3 hard drives and scale to 84 (7 nodes x 12 drives each).


The data availability is granted storing many object copies on the appliances. Space efficiency is reached with the inline data deduplication and compression.
The global data deduplication are active at ring level to reduce the space occupation.
Another great feature available is the Continuos Data Protection (CDP) that allows the recovery of any files copied to a share.

The Filesystem is presented as a Service, NFS and SMB in all versions either.
Content Addressable Objects are created from the filesystem.
CA-Objects are persisted to the Distributed CA-Object Store.

Another great feature that OneBlox’s unique architecture give us is replication.
Replication works at share level and is a one to many many to many direction.
Enabling replica share is a few click job.

OneSystem is the management portal. It is a cloud-based multi-tenant architecture. There is nothing to install in your organization. It’s ready to use!
If you need there is also an optional Private OneSystem for on-premises management.
OneSystem include a World-class support. It permit to manage your OneBlox from anywhere globally.
OneSystem give you a 7×24 Exablox proactive monitoring. You can monitor the storage utilization and health of the global system down to the drives with analysis and alerts. You can also configure and manage replication.

Final words
I really like the easy of deployment and administration of Exablox system, you can be up and running in less then half an hour. I like also the consumption model, the BYOHDD. No more needs to overpay for enterprise class disks. Keep in mind that if you want you can buy the appliance with disks directly from Exablox.
But are this Scale out NAS good for all the purpose? Unfortunately No.
Even though Exablox is in the VMware HCL it can’t be a VM’s tier 1 storage. Simply it can’t manage all the IOps required but it’s perfect as a backup repository. Commvault, Veeam, Veritas all certified.
The best use case fileserver apart, could be long retention unstructured data archiving, Health Medical Records for example.

Below you can find a couple of video about the Exablox technology recorded at last Storage Field Day 10. Enjoy!

Exablox Overview with Sean Derrington


Exablox OneSystem Demo with Sean Derrington

Disclaimer: I was personally invited to SFD10 by GestaltIT and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog on any content. Blog posts are not edited or reviewed by the presenters or the respective companies prior to publication.