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Betting on Software-Defined Storage


Picking a company to advise is not always easy, but sometimes it just clicks – take, for example, my recent decision to join Cloudian’s advisory board. As outlined in my recent blog post, I look at several factors before deciding to advise a company:

Of course, these are broad factors I always consider. When it came to Cloudian, I had plenty of other questions as well:


Everything I’ve heard from customers – and from the team, of course – indicates that the answer is a definite YES. But before I go into more detail on what Cloudian does, a bit of background on object storage.

Storage: Then and Now


Storage was long dominated by firms that did a good job protecting your data – and serving it up for the then dominant vertically scalable workloads – and that, in turn, locked you into their proprietary hardware and software, resulting in the largest margins in IT infrastructure. Back in 2008, many firms such as Intel and LSI and the whitebox server providers and entrepreneurs including myself thought: hmm, storage is taking more and more of the IT budget but is not keeping up with new application architectures, new patterns of data generation, and a new generation of storage managers. There has got to be a better way.

And that better way is now called software-defined storage.

Today, storage is much better than it was in 2008, with far better economics, business models that pass the benefits of flash and network improvements on to customers, and a shift towards scale-out, developer-friendly architectures. Much of this change has been forced by Amazon and S3, who set the bar quite high for easy-to-use, massively scalable, and comparatively less expensive storage.

How Cloudian Fits In


Cloudian provides on-premise software-defined storage at 1c/GB. This by itself does not set the company apart, but they made a smart move early on – they bet on Amazon’s S3 API. Instead of inventing another proprietary API in a sea of proprietary APIs, they decided to focus on S3 from day one. This gives them a unique offering – 100% S3-compliant storage that uses metadata in interesting and intelligent ways.

So if you and your developers and the software you are running can interact with S3 – it can interact with Cloudian. Cloudian’s management interfaces blow away the AWS storage GUI, incidentally – giving you a firm-wide view into your data, grouped into blobs, and the policies you’ve applied to these blobs. So your developers are happy because it scales and it is basically S3 out the front and your storage teams are happy because they retain the control and visibility they need to do their jobs. And that’s not to mention “native” multi-tenancy, which is one of many reasons service providers like NTT rely on Cloudian.

The results have been outstanding, with customers providing excellent reviews – and this growing word of mouth has led to a sales acceleration.

I went into the Cloudian offices recently to talk a bit more about my reasons for joining the advisory board, and you can watch the video here:

I’m excited to get a front-row seat as Cloudian continues to ramp up their momentum and grow, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone in this wonderful team of people.

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