Cloud storage is clearly seeing tremendous growth and adoption across all segments of business and government customers – from mid-market companies to large enterprises and state/federal government organizations.
A key enabler to enterprise adoption of cloud-based storage services is the emergence of premise-based storage systems that integrate cloud storage with existing applications.
Across these cloud-enabling storage systems, there are some capabilities that are similar – such as the translation of cloud storage APIs like SOAP or REST to block-based storage protocols such as iSCSI, as well as de-duplication and compression for performance and capacity optimization.
But there *are* core differences between products that are merely “gateways” and true enterprise storage that is fully integrated with the cloud (an ESG report and Taneja Group report calls them “cloud-integrated storage”).
What are those key differences? I’d put them into 3 major categories, and why each matters to customers:
1) Primary enterprise storage vs. just cloud proxy for backup/archive data
Example: StorSimple solutions provide full primary storage capabilities – up to 100TB of on-premise storage capacity with auto-tiering to SSDs, SAS + cloud, etc. – to enable primary storage for enterprise applications
Why Matters: you can converge your on-premise primary storage + backup/archive infrastructure with the cloud, saving 60-80% overall TCO – not just port data to the cloud for backup/archive, and limited savings
2) Integrated data lifecycle management with the cloud vs. simple proxy of data to the cloud
Example: StorSimple uses application-consistent Cloud Snapshots to provide snapshots locally and in cloud for backup, archive and DR – all without requiring 3rd party backup software
Why Matters: you can eliminate your backup software and support costs; gateways still require you to purchase backup software + support + licenses
3) Disaster recovery and business continuity – cloud-integrated storage enables premise-based applications to directly mount cloud volumes and access needed blocks directly
Example: StorSimple solutions can mount their Cloud Snapshots in the cloud and enable premise applications to access only their needed objects in minutes or hours, vs. cloud gateways which require download of the full cloud volume, which can takes days/weeks to complete
Why Matters: pretty obvious – RTO is radically improved, as is business continuity…
In short, cloud storage is here to stay, and cloud-enabling storage systems will only help to accelerate that adoption. But storage teams need to dive deeper into products and architectures to understand the full spectrum of benefits – and savings – they can get from leveraging the full pie of cloud services + cloud-integrated enterprise storage vs. a single slice of a cloud gateway.
StorSimple customers like the fact that our systems do things for them that with legacy storage would take either a lot of time or a lot of money. Sundance Institute, the people who run the Sundance Film Festival, are StorSimple customers who have simplified their operations by streamlining backup and avoided buying storage they don't really need.
Justin Simmons is a long-time IT professional and the associate director of Technology Services for the Sundance Institute. If you didn't click on the link above, here is a quote of his that sums it up pretty well.
“StorSimple has freed up a lot of resources on our existing storage, so we are able to delay or potentially entirely put off what would have been a very expensive new SAN purchase, and instead of spending potentially half her time managing backups, our system administrator is no longer buried under a backup storage shell game. With StorSimple backing up straight to the cloud, she can now use her time to work on new projects and new initiatives for the Sundance Institute.”
If you want to check out an incredible technology facility, visit the nearest Microsoft Technology Center (MTC). I went to the Mountain View, CA MTC today with my co-worker Burzin Patel and we were given a tour by MTC architects Kui Jia and Luis Salazar. We spoke about the types of customer engagements they have and I was blown away by the depth of technology and sevrices at their disposal. From informational briefings to solutions designs to proof of concepts to benchmarking, the teams at the MTCs are prepared to help customers understand exactly how to make their technology work. By the way, this includes working with Microsoft's Azure cloud - including storage integrated with StorSimple Cloud Integrated Enterprise Storage.
Part of these advanced engagements involve working in Microsoft's state of the art technology labs that are full of products from Microsoft partners such as HP, Dell, Cisco, EMC, Netapp, F5, Brocade, StorSimple and others. You have to see it to believe it, so here are a couple photos.
First, a StorSimple Cloud-Integrated Enterprise Storage System (at the bottom of the rack)
Here is a shot that shows a lot more of the equipment in their state of the art technology lab:
We all like a little recognition from time to time and we are excited to receive the 2011 Product of the Year in the Storage Systems Category from Storage Magazine.
Here is what the judges had to say about our products:
An award like this is an important marker, demonstrating our recent success in 2011. The thing that is ultimately gratifying, however, is the engagement we have with our growing customer base, who are trusting StorSimple to do things that they never even imagined a few months ago. We look forward to making cloud storage as useful and transparent as possible throughout 2012.
It's a bird, it's a plane, no.... it's cloud storage!
This week marks the beginning of my journey into cloud storage - and I expect this journey to be incredibly interesting, with many things to learn about cloud services and unlearn about legacy storage. In one respect, the leap to the cloud is not very far because the company I joined, StorSimple, makes storage solutions that integrate enterprise storage with cloud storage services. The enterprise storage side of these systems is something I understand fairly well, but legacy storage applications in the cloud can have fascinating surprises and power - as well as limitations. The trick, as always is to ameliorate the weaknesses and enhance the strengths.
For instance, one of the obvious issues with cloud storage is that it's base-level functions are not nearly as reliable or fast as enterprise storage arrays. The StorSimple design addresses these weaknesses with rich metadata that guarantees data integrity and data reduction technologies (dedupe and compression) that reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred and stored by the storage service. This blog will explore these technologies in depth as I get up to speed on them. I am going to have a lot of fun figuring out how to explain how it all works in whiteboard animations, graphics and words.
Rest assured, as it is with any form of enterprise storage, there is a lot of heavy lifting to do - and all the various corner cases that need flattening. The engineering team here is made up of very experienced enterprise storage people who bring the intensity that hard core storage development demands.
I am overjoyed to be here with them.
StorSimple is pleased to be a corporate sponsor of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival which opens this week. Through year-round programs, Sundance Institute seeks to discover and develop independent artists and audiences and to provide a platform for artists to present their works to a global audience—the Sundance Film Festival. Our sponsorship represents the partnership with the Sundance Institute to use cloud computing to support the increasing vitality of independent film and filmmakers while expanding audiences.
To learn more about StorSimple at Sundance Institute and their experiences, please see the video at: http://youtu.be/lUCrCz-nIOU or the full case study at: http://www.storsimple.com/testimonials/sundance-institute/
BMC, a $2 billion software company, maintains over 13,000 VMware images and templates and that number continues to grow. The majority of these VMs don’t need to be on expensive storage but they all need to be online. The sheer volume of VMs makes backups challenging. In addition, their existing data center was reaching its limits in terms of power and cooling capacity.
Gus Chavira, Enterprise Architect at BMC, considered options such as purchasing additional SAN storage, storage tiering, or other archiving solutions, but each would have required more data center power and cooling capacity. Gus selected the Cloud Integrated Enterprise Storage solution from StorSimple, which is certified by both data center platforms he uses today - VMware and Microsoft. StorSimple allows BMC to maintain on-premise storage while automatically tiering large volumes of inactive data (and inactive VMs) to cloud storage - freeing up valuable datacenter resources and mitigating the need to build a new datacenter.
“We initially looked at StorSimple for archiving, but realized that we got backup and disaster recovery built into the single appliance”, stated Gus. The solution eliminated his concerns about fitting in available backup windows and provides almost instant access to archived VM images (near-zero RTO)
To learn more about BMC Software’s deployment of StorSimple and their experiences, please see the case study at: http://www.storsimple.com/testimonials/bmc/
StorSimple hit the headlines this week. The company announced the immediate availability of the StorSimple 1000, 5000 and 7000 series of application-optimized cloud storage appliances. Deployed on-premise, these devices utilize an innovative “cloud-as-a-tier” architecture to dramatically increase the performance and greatly extend the storage capabilities of business-critical Microsoft applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft File Servers and Virtual Machine libraries.
Here's a summary of quotes and articles:
Mark Gilbert, Gartner, in Network Computing - "StorSimple lets organizations use Microsoft SharePoint more efficiently, says Mark Gilbert, VP in the research group of Gartner. "[SharePoint's] a vacuum cleaner that nobody changes the bag on, sucking up docs and information," he says. "Nobody wants to be the janitor and figure out what they can throw out." Consequently, it's common these days for companies to have SharePoint installations of 1TB or more, which can amount to more like 7TB to 10TB including backups, he says. Gilbert adds that StorSimple reduces this with deduplication and archiving to the cloud."
Twitter was buzzing about StorSimple with pages and pages of tweets.
Here is a summary of the press coverage :
December 9, 2010 - Enterprise Storage Forum - StorSimple Changes Perception of Cloud Storage
December 8, 2010 - Sandhill.com - Leaders in the Cloud - Hybrid Cloud Storage
December 8, 2010 - Enterprise Storage Forum - Cloud-As-A-Tier Extends Storage Capabilities
December 8, 2010 - CIOL - StorSimple brings SSD performance to cloud
December 7, 2010 - eWeek - StorSimple's Cloud Storage Appliance Optimized for Microsoft Apps
December 7, 2010 - Network Computing - StorSimple Backs Up SharePoint to the Cloud
December 7, 2010 - Channel Register - StorSimple Wheels Out Head-In-Cloud, Feet-On-Premise Solution
December 7, 2010 - CTOEdge - SSD Performance in the Cloud
December 7, 2010 - The451 - StorSimple launches cloud appliance, gives SharePoint a scalability boost
December 7, 2010 - Surfbits - StorSmple Wheels out Head-in-the-Cloud, Feet On-Premises Solution, Cabinet has Portal at Back to Infinite Storage Narnia
December 7, 2010 - Storage Newsletter - StorSimple 1000, 5000 and 7000 Series
December 6, 2010 - eWeek - StorSimple's Cloud Storage Appliance Optimized for Microsoft Apps
December 6, 2010 - TMCnet - Predicting the Future for Cloud Storage
December 6, 2010 - Cloud News Daily - StorSimple Releases Application Optimized Cloud Storage Appliances
December 6, 2010 - On Windows - StorSimple Optimizes Cloud Storage
December 6, 2010 - Network Computing - StorSimple Dedupes Application Data to the Cloud
Shawn, Partridge, Rockford Construction, Network Computing - "Rockford uses the product for two purposes: archival data and for its 300GB of Microsoft SharePoint data, which Partridge expects to increase with the new device. "We'd been having performance problems with 300GB," he says. "That's no longer an issue." While the system is too new for Partridge to know whether he is saving on operational expenses, it cost about half what it would have cost to buy a new, larger SAN, he says."
Mike Vizard, CTOEdge "for Windows-centric applications, StorSimple is trying to redefine the way we think about storage in the enterprise regardless of where it might actually be physically located."
Ryan Dengate, Pine Rest, On Windows - “We’re using StorSimple for backup and recovery, Microsoft Exchange archiving and migrating file share data to SharePoint 2010,” said Ryan Dengate, IT manager for Pine Rest Health Services. “As its name implies, StorSimple takes the first step of BLOB externalisation and marries it to backup really easily. It took very little time to get up and running and creating business use cases.”
Read more about the 1010, 5010 and 7010 appliances
Watch how the appliance is installed in 10 minutes
StorSimple hit the headlines earlier this month as Mayfield Fund, the original investor in 3PAR led the $13m series B funding in StorSimple. Storsimple made news in Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Xconomy, VentureBeat, The Silicon Valley Business Journal and the mega blog GigaOM.
Since then StorSimple has been named as one of the 7 Hot Cloud Computing Innovations in and article by Jeff Vance of Datamation
Mike Vizard at CTOEdge has written about The Coming of Application-Aware Cloud Storage featuring StorSimple.
Om Malik of GigaOM has written about the valuations of the hot companies of cloud computing - StorSimple, RightScale and Eucalyptus and Big Data - Aster Data, Cloudera
Cloud Startup Values Are Getting Insane
Chris Nemey in Tech Business Today continued the theme talking about StorSimple, Eucalyptus and Aster data
The stratospheric rise of cloud computing valuations
Ben Kepes in Business Week talked about how StorSimple Gives Some Context to Cloud Storage
Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage and Big Data is hot and the hot new leaders are emerging - StorSimple, RightScale and Eucalyptus and Big Data - Aster Data, Cloudera
People are starting to realize the power of application optimized storage and why you need it. Without it you have dumb BLOB storage - just in the cloud. My colleague Joel Christner wrote a great article How is tiering different than caching?
Download a whitepaper on hybrid cloud storage
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Cloud computing and cloud storage continue to be hot topics. The Oracle,sSalesforce soap opera that we discussed last week has continued. Larry Ellison contends virtualization is an essential component of the cloud and, by that measure, Salesforce.com fails, while Oracle's Exalogic Elastic Cloud wins.
Salesforce Challenges Oracle CEO's Cloud Account
On a more important note the specifics about what hot cloud innovations there are was discussed in Information Week and CTOEdge
What's Hot in the Cloud - Cloud Innovations
7 Hot Cloud Computing Innovations
Despite a dismal economy, analysts continue to be bullish on cloud computing. A few recent studies project continued momentum for cloud computing, which according to IDC, should soon “reach 12% of the size of traditional IT product spending, [while representing] over 25% of the net-new growth in traditional IT products.” IDC predicts that worldwide revenue from public IT cloud services, which exceeded $16 billion in 2009, will grow to nearly $56 billion in 2014.
Many of those on-premise applications benefit from features such as collaboration and remote access, which has led to hybrid clouds. “Hybrid clouds have, in many instances, become the information gateway to the public cloud, while allowing users to preserve the legacy core,” said Chris Weitz, Director of Deloitte Consulting.
- Displacing the laptop with smartphones and tablets
- Mobilizing surveillance
- Moving gaming - all video gaming - online
- Making MMO gaming truly trivial
- Smoothing the transition with cloud gateways
- Pushing the cloud envelope with “Sky Computing
- Scaling in response to viral marketing success
The Coming of Application-Aware Cloud Storage
One of the challenges with cloud computing storage is that most of the services out there are not particularly aware of any given application. For example, to use the Amazon cloud storage service, your organization needs to first integrate its applications with a custom application programming interface from Amazon. For that reason, we’re seeing the emergence of application-aware storage services in the cloud.
The CIO View and Cloud Economics
Cloud computing 'taken up by half of CIOs'
CIO.com's eighth annual Global Information Security Survey took responses from almost 13,000 business and technology executives across the world to come up with its findings.
It discovered that 49 per cent of those questioned have some form of cloud computing offering in use at their company.
How cloud computing can improve your operations and bottom line
IT experts at The Gartner Group have predicted that cloud computing usage will triple over the next three years.
The discussed to the top reasons to move to the cloud:
- Ease and Convenience
- Ability to roam
- Cash Utilization
The Cloud in Government
Government continues to power ahead with its use of cloud computing
US State migrating to Microsoft’s Cloud offering
The use of Cloud Computing in the United States public sector has continued to gain traction, with confirmation the Midwest State of Minnesota is to take its communication and collaboration activities into the Cloud through a deal signed with Microsoft.
Government Bodies Embrace Cloud Computing
Ed Bugnion, CTO for the Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit at Cisco, certainly got it right when he predicted that the adoption of cloud computing within the enterprise could well be led by the government and not the corporate sector. Today, many government entities are leading the way in cloud adoption.
A Look Into How The Microsoft Cloud Is Taking Shape
Another clue as to Microsoft's future in the cloud lies in the Codename "Dallas" product which according to the official site is "a new service allowing developers and information workers to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform".
Featured Blog Posts
The Wisdom of Clouds
The series basically breaks down the effect of virtualization and cloud computing on IT operations, and looks at how those changes affect data center operators, developers and end users, respectively.
How is tiering different than caching?
One such difference is whether the device performs "caching" or "tiering". On the surface, many people think "aren't these the same thing?". While they seem to perform a similar function, they are in fact quite different technologies.
Caching is the function of retaining a copy of information in a smaller yet faster repository than its terminal storage. Caching is everywhere - from your processor to the controller of your traditional storage system - and it's not necessarily a bad thing. However, in the context of cloud storage, it may not be the appropriate architecture.
Caches operate fundamentally in one of two modes of operation: write-through, or write-back.
The cloud has taken off.
Download a whitepaper on hybrid cloud storage
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