TL; DR: Cloudian provides hosts and MSPs with S3-compatible object storage systems designed to make competition with industry giants like AWS a real possibility. The company’s flagship HyperStore product empowers users to consolidate data into a scalable storage pool for unlimited growth, while Cloudian Object Lock protects sensitive data from ransomware. With newer offerings supporting predictive analysis and container-based apps, Cloudian is furthering its mission to bring the capabilities of the hyperscaler to the average service provider.
The estimated 330,000 hosting providers powering sites and apps worldwide come in nearly every flavor imaginable. Some cater to SMBs, while others focus on enterprise-grade solutions. Many choose to specialize in a specific type of server, whether shared or virtual. Other hosts differentiate themselves with bespoke managed solutions tailored to the individual customer or sustainable services powered by renewable energy.
But the vast majority of them have one thing in common — they’re struggling to compete with AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. These hyperscalers, commonly known as the industry’s Big 3, hold some of the largest market share. Case in point: AWS alone powers 8.9% of the world’s sites.
Today, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces businesses to come to terms with digital transformation, average service providers have the chance to claim their share of the growing market. The key for these providers, according to Jon Toor, CMO of Cloudian, is to find solutions that allow them to emulate the capabilities of hyperscalers.
“Hosting providers are in the right place at the right time; we’ve seen an acceleration of people moving to the cloud due to COVID,” Jon told us. “Some are obviously turning to the hyperscalers. But, in a lot of cases, businesses are contacting their local service providers for cloud and hybrid environments. And Cloudian has solutions for those providers.”
Since its inception in 2011, Cloudian has helped hundreds of hosts and service providers become the David to these industry Goliaths, overcoming the odds through a wide variety of flexible, affordable services.
The company’s flagship HyperStore product, for example, is a scalable object storage solution designed for compatibility with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). HyperIQ, a monitoring and predictive analysis tool, provides real-time insights on data, while Cloudian Object Lock safeguards it from ransomware.
Ultimately, Cloudian’s global data fabric empowers providers to help enterprise clients store, find, and protect both file and object data across sites and within a single platform — whether data is stored on-premises or in public clouds.
Industry-Compatible S3 API Implementation and Unlimited Scalability
Jon told us that Cloudian was built for hosts and service providers grappling with explosive growth in unstructured data — recognizing that what matters to providers is financial assurance. “They want to be able to make money, and we give them a path to do so,” he said.
Cloudian released HyperStore in 2011 to address the need for affordable, scalable, easy-to-use storage systems. Available as software-defined storage or preconfigured appliances, the product allows providers to start small and seamlessly scale as needed. It also includes compatibility with Amazon’s S3 API, which was becoming the de facto standard for object storage at the time.
In September, Cloudian announced that the software is now flash-optimized, empowering users to tackle performance-intensive workloads centered on data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud-native apps, and backup and recovery.
Jon said users typically see 60% lower costs when employing the solution compared with traditional enterprise storage or public cloud.
“Customers find time after time that, with Cloudian, they can compete and win in this business,” he said. “A number of our customers, such as HostedBizz, are wholesalers. They’re in the business of selling cloud services to resellers who then turn around and offer it to end-users. Even in that model, people are making money with storage services, ultimately competing and winning against the big guys.”
Other Cloudian customers offer services within a specific geographic region and need to compartmentalize data in sovereign clouds.
“We have customers in Germany and Australia, and other places around the world that compete using sovereign clouds,” Jon said. “They can say, ‘We are going to keep your data in this region, it’s going to be compliant, and it’s not going to get under the watchful eye of foreign entities.’ People are excited about that.”
Cloudian Object Lock: Protect Sensitive Data from Ransomware
With Cloudian, hosts can provide customers data and ransomware protection while offering a high level of hand-holding and a comprehensive range of services that hyperscalers often struggle to deliver.
“If you want a range of services, a backup solution, a disaster recovery platform, and overflow capacity for your compute, you’ve got more possibilities with a service provider than you’re going to have with one of the hyperscalers or backup providers that only offer one thing,” Jon said. “That’s why service providers are still our largest single customer base — they are competing with the hyperscalers and winning on the basis of cost, value, and variety of services.”
Jon said hosting providers have recently expressed increased interest in solutions to mitigate the growing ransomware threat. According to the Cloudian website, ransomware attacks have increased by 97% in the last two years, and 75% of companies infected were running up-to-date endpoint protection.
To help providers overcome this problem, Cloudian introduced Object Lock, an immutable storage solution provided through a partnership with Veeam. The technology works with HyperStore to ensure data cannot be encrypted by ransomware.
“We’ve now got this iron-clad solution that’s bulletproof, government certified, and really an easy way to protect client data from ransomware inside of an automated workflow,” he said. “Unlike perimeter defenses, which ultimately have holes, this is protection right at the storage level. It’s just as if you had physically removed the data and made a copy, but there’s no manual intervention required.”
Support for Predictive Analysis and Container-Based Apps
In June of this year, Cloudian introduced users to its monitoring, observability, and predictive analysis tool, Cloudian HyperIQ. The new solution, designed to provide better insights, cut costs, and improve adaptability, includes features that highlight potential issues and identify corrective action.
“HyperIQ is really important for service providers because a big challenge for the management of cloud data is managing misconfigured buckets,” Jon said. “Let’s face it, the cloud is accessible by the internet; it’s made to be universally accessed. And the problem, of course, is that anything misconfigured can lead to a breach.”
With HyperIQ, users can leverage data in their environments to determine who is accessing which resources to detect security issues, a process known as user behavior analysis. Service providers can also use HyperIQ to monitor performance.
“As a host, you can see what kind of throughput your customer is receiving,” Jon said. “You can quickly see whether the client is getting the bandwidth that you promised him, etc. It presents historical data in a graphical format that’s very user-friendly and intuitive.”
In addition to the new HyperIQ product, Jon said Cloudian’s evolving partnership with VMware also represents a major development for the company. He highlighted the growing adoption of Cloudian Object Storage for VMware Cloud Director, which was introduced last year and gives VMware Cloud Providers a scalable, cost-effective, and feature-rich storage foundation for delivering new and enhanced services to their customers.
Last month, Cloudian announced that it will deliver S3-compatible object storage software for VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu. Using the VMware vSAN Data Persistence platform, Cloudian will enable users to modernize their data centers to run applications at any scale and deliver enterprise-grade storage for Kubernetes environments.
“Over the past year, Cloudian and VMware have been working closely to bring the benefits of our integrated data management and protection solutions to VMware Cloud Providers as part of the VCPP program,” Jon said in a press release at the time. “Now, through the new vSAN Data Persistence platform, we will seamlessly extend these benefits to enterprise users as well and enable them to capitalize on the new opportunities that cloud-native applications provide.”
Cloudian also extended its support on the Kubernetes front with Kubernetes S3 Operator, a self-service tool allowing developers to dynamically provision Cloudian HyperStore object storage. The Kubernetes-enabled private cloud solution, which employs the industry-standard S3 API to maximize application portability, makes it easier to modernize storage infrastructure.
Capitalizing on Compute to Advance Data Strategies
Moving forward, Cloudian customers can expect more offerings centered on advancing data and analytics strategy.
“We recognize that everyone says that their highest value asset is their data,” Jon said. “But how are they capitalizing on that value? HyperIQ is the starting point of that — we can show you where data’s flowing, how it’s flowing, where it is being protected.”
In the future, Cloudian hopes to help manage data on a more granular level.
“We’ll be capitalizing on the compute we’ve got on our platform, along with visualization tools like HyperIQ, to push forward development in that space.”