TL; DR: Cloudian’s flagship product, HyperStore, allows hosts of all sizes to deploy capacity storage in a secure and scalable manner. The object storage solution, available as software-defined storage or an appliance, features native S3 compatibility and an extensive partnership ecosystem. With plans for expanded alliances on the horizon, Cloudian is committed to helping hosts store, find, and protect both object and file data seamlessly across sites.
Hyperscalers like Google, AWS, and Azure may have a stronghold on the cloud market, but they haven’t knocked everyone else out of the ring. To find success in a competitive industry, hosts can carve out a niche in which one-size-fits-all providers can’t keep up.
The strategy is most effective as a one-two punch combining personalized services with new technology that mimics the capabilities of hyperscalers. Cloudian’s HyperStore product, for example, empowers hosts to both add value through Simple Storage Service (S3) compatibility and consolidate data into a scalable storage pool for unlimited growth.
“We bring the capabilities of the hyperscaler to the average service provider,” said Jon Toor, CMO of Cloudian. “Hosts come in all shapes and sizes, from a couple of people operating out of a colo to a multinational provider. The beauty of our solution is that users can start at a smaller capacity and modularly grow from there.”
Hosts can begin with an initial deployment of just three nodes and expand in step with demand by adding additional nodes of any size to the cluster. In addition to unlimited scalability and industry-compatible S3 API implementation, HyperStore delivers reliable data protection and easy-to-use management tools. And it’s available as standalone software or fully integrated appliances based on customer need.
Cloudian’s extensive partnership ecosystem, which includes Cisco, Veeam, Rubrik, and Splunk, among other providers, is designed to facilitate complete end-to-end solutions. Now, with plans for expanded alliances on the horizon, Cloudian is furthering its commitment to helping hosts seamlessly store, find, and protect data across sites.
Object Storage Systems with Advanced S3 Compatibility
Cloudian introduced HyperStore in 2011 to meet the S3 compatibility needs of web hosts and other managed service providers. Launched by Amazon, the S3 API is the standard for providing object storage in the cloud.
“We noticed a growing interest in standardizing S3 as the dominant storage language of both the cloud and on-prem applications that connect to the cloud,” Jon said. “We then built our system to talk to the cloud in a native language, and we let web hosts use that same platform to provide S3-compatible services to their clients.”
Jon said that in some ways, the market sought out Cloudian. In essence, the company was built to help standardize S3 as the language of the cloud, and that’s exactly what happened. Today, Cloudian serves more than 100 service providers looking to deliver S3-compatible storage services to clients.
“Not only has S3 become the standard language for cloud providers themselves, but it’s also become the language for software vendors developing applications that connect to or run in the cloud,” Jon said.
One use case lies in the data protection space. Cloudian offers S3-compatible and on-premises disk-based backups that work seamlessly with existing Commvault, HYCU, IBM, Rubrik, Veritas, and Veeam solutions. HyperStores’s policy-based migration tools enable users to migrate older data to S3-compatible public cloud services, such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, minimizing onsite disk costs while maintaining an offsite disaster recovery solution.
“Because the software is S3-compatible, users can backup software in their offices and connect it to the cloud, and they will have a repository that is off-prem and secure,” Jon said. “It is something that’s very easy to access, and users can speak to it in the language it understands.”
Store, Find, and Protect Data Seamlessly Across Sites
HyperStore provides hosts additional opportunities to increase revenue beyond data protection. The company’s affordable and highly scalable storage solutions, for example, are ideal for Big Data-as-a-Service offerings.
Jon said Splunk, a multinational corporation that produces software for managing machine-generated big data through a web-style interface, now has an S3 connector. With Splunk’s SmartStore and Cloudian working together, users can decouple and independently scale the compute and storage layers to efficiently serve workload demands.
“That means web hosts can now offer Big Data-as-a-Service as we have a repository for Splunk in off-premises environments,” he said. “Or they can run Splunk in their own datacenter as a service provider and connect with the S3 storage pool to obtain a scalable storage environment.”
According to Jon, service providers can use Cloudian’s services as a value-add to their hosting packages and position their marketing messages around those services to garner new clients. These additions help differentiate themselves from hyperscalers that tend to offer broadly focused services.
“Hyperscalers have something for everyone, but they don’t focus on any one thing,” he said. “What a regional provider can do, for example, is cater to a specific vertical within a geographical area, focusing on a specific use case, like data protection, big data, or even asset management for media and entertainment.”
With the help of Cloudian, hosts may also choose to work with independent software vendors that offer S3-compatible applications relevant to a specific audience. “They can go out and market to that audience, whether it be, you know, media and entertainment, video surveillance, or just data protection,” Jon said.
VM and Hardware Solutions Tailored to Providers of All Sizes
Jon told us that Cloudian has a solution within every service provider’s budget, regardless of size or market. The company also offers a hybrid model that allows service providers and their clients to seamlessly manage data across cloud and on-premise environments.
“We have plenty of customers who hadn’t been on S3 before come in and license backup software and put in a small Cloudian cluster in their colo,” he said. “They start offering that service to two or three customers, and that’s enough to get them started. They grow from there.”
Customers may choose to start with the company’s software offering before moving to the hardware platform or stick with one or the other for the long term. The key is to evaluate the right technology for your environment so you can reap the maximum ROI from your storage investment.
“Everyone wants to match their income to their cash spend — and that’s the exciting thing about this kind of storage environment,” Jon said. “It really gives you the flexibility to match that spend.”
Larger, enterprise-level customers have the option to pay for the service based on consumption. This model allows users to anticipate precisely what their storage will cost for a given usage level measured in gigabytes per month.
“We have billing built into our system so that you can charge for the number of transactions, the amount of storage being used, the bandwidth being delivered,” Jon said. “You can bill based on whatever parameters make sense for your business.”
Expanded Alliances to Offer New, Cost-Effective Services
Cloudian bases future development almost solely on feedback from its customers — especially when it comes to helping service providers add value within their ecosystems.
“We’ve heard a lot from people who are interested in video surveillance and evidence collection as a service,” Jon said. “This is a growing area because a lot of police departments and municipalities are adding body cams, and the cost of that storage and the expertise required to manage it is a great opportunity for a service provider to step in and host it.”
Cloudian has been working to qualify video surveillance and body cam software packages so hosts can turn around and offer them as value-added services.
The company is also continuing to expand alliances that will help hosts compete with hyperscalers. “We’ve got some great things coming up in the next few months that will help service providers be more cost-effective, more scalable, and provide more value-added services.”
The Latest: New Exabyte-Scale Solutions for Public and Private Cloud
Cloudian’s new object storage solution for the VMware Cloud Provider Platform is just one example of how the company is committed to delivering more value-added services to an MSP’s portfolio. The solution is managed directly from VMware vCloud Director and will allow customers to meet their data-protection and management goals by taking advantage of the vast network of S3-compatible applications.
“Our customers increasingly demand S3-compatible storage to capitalize on both the growing ecosystem and unbeatable economics of this storage technology,” said William Bell, Executive Vice President of Products at phoenixNAP. “We can now provide the benefits of Cloudian’s proven S3-based solution within a vCloud Director-managed environment that unifies all their storage, further reinforcing the outstanding value and service we deliver.”
Most recently, Cloudian announced its collaboration with Seagate Technologies on a new solution that provides storage density, scalability, and cost savings for private clouds with high capacity needs. The new Cloudian HyperStore Xtreme, Powered by Seagate, combines Cloudian’s S3-compatible object storage software with Seagate’s high-density storage systems. The scale-out storage system aims to deliver over 80% greater storage density than competitors and offer up to 70% lower cost of ownership than Storage-as-a-Service options.
“Our partnership with Cloudian reflects our priority to deliver customers multiple economical options for managing data at scale,” said Ken Claffey, Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Data Solutions at Seagate. “As the S3 API is now the de facto standard for cloud storage, we see a tremendous opportunity in working together to help large enterprises realize the full potential of private cloud, with the scalability and cost benefits they seek.”