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Cloudian's better at Amazon S3 than anyone else, apparently

Except for that Amazon cloud character - obviously

Comment Object storage startup Cloudian says it's the most S3-compliant of all object-storage vendors, and this really, really, really matters.

We had our ears bent by Cloudian's sales VP, Jon Ash, about this, after asking why on Earth it mattered.

First of all, it needs pointing out that there is no industry standard for Amazon S3, and no S3 compliance certification process. Against that background, Ash asserts that:

  1. S3 has become the de facto object storage access standard,
  2. it matters how compliant you are and
  3. "We are the only ones who are 100 per cent S3-compliant."

There are, he says, many "verbs" that make up the S3 API. Cloudian integrates the full API natively, whereas many other suppliers, if not most, use S3 connectors, emulation in effect. Ash says: "The spec is being frequently updated and improved which makes it harder for those who do not use the API natively to catch up and then keep up."

Ash told us about four specific examples.

First is the V4SIG, which is the latest security control implemented by AWS in January 2014, and it is required to allow applications to interact with S3.

V4SIG support is required, Ash says, for all new AWS regions and: "Today Cloudian is the only Object vendor to support V4SIG."

Second is server-side encryption, which allows data to be stored in S3 using customer-supplied keys. This enhances security, and encrypts data so it is not viewable to other users of the system or the administrator. AWS has had this available since 2011 and Cloudian has had it since 2012 but it is not available, Ash says, with full S3-compliance from Swiftstack, Scality or Cleversafe.

Versioning of objects is his third example. It allows "multiple copies to be kept which is critical for collaboration and reverting back to older copies." This was available from AWS in 2010 and from Cloudian in 2011. It's "still not available from Swiftstack, Caringo or Cleversafe – although Scality has some limited support."

The fourth example is cross-region replication. This "allows mirroring across different regions which is key for DR; this has been available from AWS since March of 2015 and is available from Cloudian in our latest release but is not currently available from any other Object vendor."

Ash says Cloudian works with a number of vendors using S3 connectors, such as Veritas and Avere. Its product provides on-premises storage with tiering to Amazon's cloud. A stub is left on-premises so AWS-held objects still exist in Cloudian's object space. "No one else does this," Ash claimed.


Cloudian on Veritas' compatibility list

He also said no other object storage vendor solved the noisy neighbour problem, where one object storage accessor gets an unfair share of the system's resources.

Cloudian customer Schuberg Philis in The Netherlands is a European hosting company providing services to large financial companies. Brenn Oosterbaan, an evaluation team member, said: "We were looking to add a scale-out storage service and looked at all the major Object vendors. The shortlist was Scality, Swiftstack and Cloudian. We chose Cloudian principally because of their compliance with the S3 spec and also their commitment to ensure compliance in the future."

Ash wants us to understand that Cloudian is doing great competitively: "We win 90 per cent of the time against Scality," and "one of Cleversafe's biggest customers just bought a Cloudian product."

In 12 months, he expects Cloudian to overtake IBM Cleversafe, Scality and Swiftstack in terms of customers and revenue.

That's a ballsy claim and it will be fascinating to see if Cloudian lives up to Ash's expectations. ®

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