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7 Emerging Vendors in Cloud Computing Storage

Cloud computing storage faces the challenge of providing remote access to ever growing mountains of data.
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Businesses are generating more and more data each and every year, much of it unstructured. As data continues to grow exponentially, the management and storage of data and multimedia files is becoming an unwieldy challenge.

Without effective data storage and management solutions, businesses can find themselves at a loss when trying to retrieve assets, losing versioning control, and creating redundancies throughout their organization – translating into increased costs and man hours devoted to retrieval and recreating files.

While unstructured data is growing at an average rate of about 50-60% per year, according to IDC, at the same time more and more computing workloads are being virtualized. Most experts believe that 50% or more of all workloads will be virtualized by 2012. Add it all up and there is a distinct need for vastly different, dynamic approaches to storage that take advantage of the cloud.

The following vendors are at the forefront of tackling the various challenges of data storage and management – from assisting small and medium-sized businesses to enabling management of the largest corpora of data to date. In alphabetical order, here are 7 emerging cloud storage vendors who could help you get a handle on your data headaches.

1. Amplidata

What problem do they solve? All business can struggle as employees generate a multitude of files in a short period of time. But for industries that create, augment, and archive rich media, such as videos, images, simulation data and more, efficiently and reliably storing unstructured data (and metadata) can present an epic challenge. Large volumes of storage space are necessary to manage existing assets. Projecting ahead to the new data that will be created in months, years (and decades) and storage needs can suddenly seem nearly unmanageable.

Existing storage systems that employ RAID to protect data were never specifically designed to handle today’s multi-terabyte capacity disk drives. Scalability, data resilience, and cost-efficiency in addition to ease of management are all factors in seeking a solution to managing vast amounts of data.

What they do: Amplidata’s AmpliStor is a storage platform designed for petabyte-scale storage clouds. AmpliStor addresses the needs of massive-scale online storage services, with incremental scalability to petabyte levels or more. Maintenance requirements are reduced with auto-detection of new capacity. With minimal intervention, the system monitors disk and node health and heals them as needed.

The system provides any desired level of data reliability and availability by tolerating any number of failures. It thereby solves the reliability issues of RAID on high-density (multi-terabyte) disk drives. Storage nodes within an AmpliStor system can be distributed across multiple data centers to provide uninterrupted data access in the event of network or data center outages or unavailability, and can be optimized by service providers with multiple distributed data center locations.

Why they're an up-and-comer: In 2010, the company raised two quick rounds of funding. They first secured $2.5 million Euros from Big Bang Ventures and later in the year followed it with a $6 million round from Big Bang Ventures, Endeavour Vision and Swisscom Ventures. With applications and data sprawling out beyond corporate perimeters, Amplidata’s ability to scale up quickly and distribute data storage puts them in a good position to take advantage of changes brought about by virtualization and cloud computing,.

2. Coraid

What problem do they solve? Legacy storage solutions are not only more costly than cloud-based alternatives, but using connection-based, point-to-point architecture requires configuring multiple technologies, making troubleshooting and management a drain on resources. Limitations in storage processing mean that as a company grows, so does its cost of provisioning, scaling and managing its SAN.

What they do: Cortaid’s EtherDrive provides a scale-out architecture, based on a highly parallel, connection-less protocol that eliminates many of the layers of complexity in legacy SANs. According to the company, with their solution, multi-pathing happens automatically, port-bonding is no longer needed, every LUN is automatically visible to every host, and the entire network is built with standard, off-the-shelf hardware.

Why they're an up-and-comer: Coraid emphasizes cost when positioning its solution. Compared to traditional storage solutions, such as those from EMC or NetApp, Coraid claims that it undercuts them on price because it uses 100-percent commodity hardware and raw Ethernet. According to the company, its EtherDrive storage arrays “enable a scale-out SAN architecture that is ideally suited to dynamic virtualization and cloud environments,” with pricing under $500 per terabyte and scaling to multiple petabytes.

Coraid closed a $25 million Series B round of funding last year, bringing total funding to $35 million. The company claims more than 1,400 customers, including GE, HP, Ford, Harvard University and the United States Marine Corps.


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Tags: cloud computing, cloud services, virtualization, data storage management, data services


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