Probably the last storage venture capital cash raising exercise of 2010 is following the dash to the cloud by pumping $15m into cloud filer startup Nasuni.
Nasuni received $8m in a previous funding round in March 2009, so it has now received a total of $23m for the development of its business and software appliance: a lot of money for a software-only company in quite a short time period.
The software comes as a virtual machine, supporting VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V, and sends encrypted and deduplicated file data to a cloud storage service such as Amazon's S3, Azure, Iron Mountain, Nirvanix, Peer 1 Hosting and others. This cloud storage shows up on user's local systems as a networked drive.
There is a local 500GB cache where retrieved data from the cloud is decrypted and re-hydrated. Nasuni says its cloud filer gateway makes the storage of primary file data in the cloud feasible.
Twenty-three million dollars is a lot of money for software development and probably buys a lot of partner business infrastructure development too. The whole cloud gateway area is a seething hotbed of development as BridgeSTOR, Cirtas, Nasuni, Riverbed, StorSimple and others build interface appliances, both hardware and software, to represent cloud storage as local storage to users, and provide accelerated and secure transmission of data to and from cloud storage service suppliers. The race is on to build out a cloud storage access infrastructure faster and better than anybody else.
El Reg wonders if cloud storage service suppliers will start supplying their own branded front end devices and so attempt to capture users and prevent them going to other storage service providers. Another possibility is that separate storage virtualisation products, such as IBM's SAN Volume Controller, Hitachi Data Systems USP-V and NetApp's V-Series could have functionality added to enable them to virtualise both networked storage in the data centre and networked storage out in the cloud and present it as a single virtual pool or file name space.
Cloud storage gateways look to be the hottest storage technology going from the venture capitalists' point of view. It's a pound to a penny that the major storage suppliers will end up building their own software and hardware to compete for business here or buy one of the startups in another round of storage consolidation. ®