Cloudian says yes please to object-happy S3 storage

The enterprise tide will lift our boat, or something


Comment Cloudian, an object storage startup, says that, with its integral S3 support, as the enterprise IT world adopts S3 its fortunes will benefit from that adoption. A rising S3 tide will lift its boat.

The dominant object storage access protocol will be S3 because it's openly available and not proprietary. So says Cloudian's w-w sales VP John Ash.

He tells us he has customers telling him they typically have lots of NFS systems now and want to move to a mix of on-premises storage and S3-accessed public cloud storage in the future.

S3, they say, is open, in that it's widely available, and becoming a standard. Ash thinks EMC Atmos sales have been limited by it having proprietary interface.

Cloudian's object storage provides a bridge to the hybrid on-prem/S3 cloud world he sees customers moving to. What he'd have us believe is that Cloudian is better prepared for an object storage technology takeup by enterprises wanting a better way of storing fast-growing, general bulk data than other object storage suppliers.

As far as they are concerned, he says sticking a NAS head and S3 connector onto an object storage base isn't as afficient as having fully-integrated and native S3 support.

In the future customers will have hot access data in all-flash arrays and bulk data in S3-accessed hybrid stores. Today's great mass of middle-of-the-road filer and SAN storage will bifurcate, with hot data going to flash stores and the rest, the lower access rate data, going to S3 stores. Cloudian's object storage is perfectly positioned, he implies, for the on-prem side, tiering data to/from the public cloud as needed.

Ash cites a $15bn US services company in the CCTV and security area. It thinks virtually every device will have an IP address in future and generate Internet of Things-type data which will need to be stored somewhere reliably and cheaply so that it can then be analysed.

It's bought a 3-node 10TB Cloudian system for this, trivially small for now, telling Ash it will be tens of petabytes in size in the future. The bet is that, for customers, the cost of storing the data will be so cheap, compared to the cost-efficiencies in business operations gained from its analysis, that it'll be worth keeping all the data. (It's obviously a storage supplier streaking here.)

Ash won't release Cloudian customer numbers, saying, "it's about the same as everyone else" in the object world, but does say Cloudian revenues grew at 100-plus per cent from 2014 to 2015, and calendar Q2 was 250 per cent more than Q1. The sales force has recently doubled in size and channel partner numbers are growing as well to handle this surge in sales.

The company's general intention is to have an IPO at some stage but the focus is on company growth and not an IPO; good things will come from the company growing Ash says. Cloudian's big bet is on S3 solidifying its role as "the" object storage access standard and remaining a hugely popular public cloud service. The latter seems safe to assume while the former doesn't appear that unlikely.

Effectively Cloudian is offering on-premises S3-gateway functionality wih its object storage. Other people are, and will be, getting into that game. Cloudian's hope is that its better S3 integration will lift its boat higher than its competitors as the hoped-for Amazon S3 tide comes flooding into enterprises. ®

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