Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Start-up Claims to Make Cloud Storage Actually Work

StorSimple does real-time data deduplication to minimize the footprint of the data stored

It seems it's not that easy to use the cloud for storing mainstream Microsoft applications - or other people's mainstream applications for that matter - at least according to the budding integration start-up StorSimple.

And there must be something to it because it emerged from stealth mode Wednesday with agreements in hand with Amazon Web Services (AWS), AT&T, EMC, Iron Mountain and Microsoft's Windows Azure to connect on-premise Windows and VMware apps to EMC Atmos public and private cloud storage for joint customers.

The alternative appears to be modifying the applications.

See, the problem is cloud storage uses HTTP/REST APIs. So clouds don't accept snapshots or integrate with existing backup applications; data recovery processes need to be changed. On top of which, StorSimple says, WAN latency significantly degrades app performance, WAN bandwidth can be cost-prohibitive and traditional WAN optimization doesn't work. Then there's always the security risk.

StorSimple's application-optimized storage controller is targeted at clearing these hurdles.

As a fledgling operation the outfit's limiting how much it's biting off. Just the ever-popular SharePoint and Exchange 2010, Windows User Files and Microsoft and Linux Virtual Machines for now.

Down the road it means to do home directories like CIFS and NFS; content from EMC, IBM, Interwoven and Microsoft; libraries and archives; ERP and CRM like SAP, Oracle, Siebel and PeopleSoft; OLTP; and simulation and modeling.

Pretty much all the biggies are on its roadmap.


Its iSCSI-based Armada Storage Appliance is a hybrid solution that makes cloud storage look like local data center storage and integrates with the customers' existing environment.

Armada identifies and stores all the hotspot and bottleneck data on a tier of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) and uses lower-cost SATA storage and/or cloud storage as primary storage.

StorSimple does real-time data deduplication to minimize the footprint of the data stored and provides the WAN optimization functions for cloud storage.

The widgetry is supposed to deliver consistent storage performance at scale, simplify data protection and reduce cost by up to 90% compared to traditional enterprise storage.

The core of the StorSimple widgetry is called a Weighted Storage Layout or WSL (say whistle).

All volume data is dynamically broken into chunks, analyzed and weighted based on how frequently it's used. Frequently used data is deduped to minimize the space required and stored in the SSDs for fast access. Less frequently used data can be stored on the SATA drives or encrypted in the cloud.

All data stored in the cloud is encrypted.


StorSimple's also got a scheme called Cloud Clones to simply back up and restore using existing backup software for application object recovery. The way it works is an independent backup copy of the data volume is created in the cloud. Changes are transferred daily and clones can be mounted for data volumes for restore. Tape is eliminated.

The year-old 35-man start-up is operating on an $8.2 million A round from Redpoint Venture and Index Ventures.

It has been in beta for the last two months with eight large and mid-range sites and it's still three months away from GA. It reckons concerns with 500-10,000 users are its sweet spot. Makes for a faster close.

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1 comment:

Sean Carter said...

The cloud is getting better and better all the time, while it seems to stay the same because it is always just referred to "the cloud". I have noticed big difference in things like application optimized storage with the newer file systems being used