What they do: At the core of Glusters storage solutions is the GlusterFS (v.3.2) software: an open source distributed file system that can handle thousands of clients scaling to several petabytes of data. The software is based on a stackable user space design and was developed to manage a diverse workload. As far as scalability, the GlusterFS 3.2 breaks from the traditional SAN-based environment as a Network-attached storage (NAS), reducing many of the costs associated with storing virtual machines. Glusters focus is on making more effective and efficient use of cloud infrastructure storage, whether on a public or private cloud.
Why they're an up-and-comer: In October 2010, Gluster received $8.5 million in Series B funding, with investors including Nexus Venture Partners and Index Ventures. The company has an impressive leadership team. CEO Ben Golub previously served as President and CEO of Plaxo, as well as CMO and Senior VP of Enterprise Security, SSL, and Payments divisions at VeriSign. CTO and Co-founder, AB Periasamy, led the development of the worlds second fasted supercomputer in 2004 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Gluster has one of the best next-generation storage proofs of concept under their belt with their customer Pandora. Gluster provides the primary storage solution for Pandora Internet Radio, which requires storage and delivery of massive amounts of data on a daily basis. Gluster is also deployed by Scandinavias largest hosting providers, City Network Hosting, which provides an enterprise-class cloud platform.
What they do: Nasuni delivers data protection via a NAS appliance with built in data backup and recovery. By shifting the burden of data protection to the cloud, customers have persistent access and the capacity to manage a higher volume of data. Instead of backing up files to the server, Nasuni links the LAN to a trusted third-party cloud storage provider. The Nasuni Filer automatically synchronizes data between the local cache and the cloud, encrypting the data before it reaches the cloud.
To assist with recovery, Nasuni also creates and saves synchronous snapshots. As a result, Nasuni can restore some or an entire file system to a previous time in an instant. Restores are available at any location, with proper credentials. Finally, Nasuni also uses patent-pending intelligent caching technology that keeps the most active files (known as the working set) in the local cache, which gives users performance on par with a local NAS.
Why they're an up-and-comer: Having trust in data put into the cloud is still a big issue. Can you trust that it is backed up and available at all times? Not always.
Nasuni claims to protect data in the cloud with a snapshot system. These snapshots capture the entire file, which enables the Nasuni Filer to recover data instantly from any point in time. The snapshots are small, because Nasuni de-duplicates and compresses them, so customers can retain an unlimited number of snapshots in the cloud without greatly increasing the amount of cloud storage used. If a file is accidentally deleted, the file can always be recovered, usually almost instantaneously, through a snapshot that captured it.
Nasuni has raised $23 million from North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners and Flybridge Capital Partners. With a customer base focused on small- to medium-sized enterprises, the company saw 200 percent growth in customers (from a wide range of industries) adopting cloud storage in the last quarter of 2010.
What they do: RainStor provides a specialized data repository for inactive structured data. RainStor loads and compresses structured data by typically 40:1 from any source (database, log, or event data) into secure and accessible containers. These containers are discrete files that encapsulate the data without any loss of content or structure. As such, the containers can be managed using standard file systems and stored on any storage platform, including SAN, NAS, DAS, CAS, or cloud storage. RainStor provides full relational access to the compressed data containers using standard SQL without the need to re-inflate the data.
RainStor argues that it has been used to effectively retire hundreds of legacy business applications by retaining the critical data, while at the same time providing full accessibility to the data for business users to report and audit. The result, according to RainStor, is millions of dollars in hardware, software and personnel savings, along with risk avoidance from any potential fines or penalties from regulatory bodies.
Why they're an up-and-comer: RainStor is pursuing the Intel Inside model, embedding its technology into storage solutions from such heavy hitters as Teradata, HP and Informatica.
The company is backed by $11 million in VC funding from Storm Ventures, Informatica Corporation (also a strategic partner), Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and The Dow Chemical Company.