An insight into the cloud storage industry

Michael Tso, CEO and co-founder of Cloudian discusses with Information his company's role in the cloud storage industry, as well as its current state

An insight into the cloud storage industry

The storage industry is a fast-paced, highly competitive and constantly developing environment. Whilst public cloud has made a major impact, not all data can be sent to the cloud

 What does Cloudian offer within the storage industry?

Cloudian is the leader in Amazon S3-compatible object storage systems. We came to the market in 2011 with our flagship product, HyperStore, and a vision of bringing object storage to users of all sizes, built around the Amazon S3 API.

Cloudian HyperStore brings cloud-compatible storage into the data centre. You can think of it as cloud storage, like Amazon S3 or Google GCP, except it’s in your data centre and behind your firewall.

It shares important characteristics of cloud storage, like petabyte scalability, built-in data protection, and cost effectiveness. And it can tier data to the cloud, so it works together with public cloud for scalability and offsite data storage when needed.

Cloudian recently had a funding round, how much was raised and why was this important? 

We have recently raised $41 million in our Series-D funding round. This came from our existing investors, Intel Capital, Eight Roads, INCJ and Goldman Sachs. We also gained four new investors, Lenovo, City National Bank, Epsilon Venture Partners and DVP Investment.

>See also: How acquisitions are transforming the storage landscape

This funding round brings our total to $79 million, which is a great achievement and shows the commitment and confidence these investors have in object storage in general and Cloudian in particular.

What strategy will Cloudian be implementing going forward after this funding? 

In 2017, Cloudian will be focusing on growth and product development.  We are adding significantly to our team globally, with a particular emphasis on the USA and Europe.

We will also be investing further in our marketing campaigns to ensure that our potential customers can build a really good understanding of what we offer and why we are ideal for their needs.

Ongoing product development will also continue to be central to the strategy of the business, and we have a range of groundbreaking enhancements and announcements to bring to market throughout the year.

Will Cloudian be expanding its reach across EMEA?

Cloudian will be expanding its reach across EMEA and this process is already underway.

We recently opened a new European demonstration facility in Amsterdam as well as introducing several more members to our European team in the UK, Benelux and DACH regions.

>See also: What’s in store for cloud in 2017?

We have just announced a new customer in Amsterdam, Internet Unie, which will be using Cloudian as a hybrid storage solution, tiering data with AWS.

How does Cloudian’s compatibility with Amazon position you against other object storage vendors? 

At the very beginning, we knew that in order for object storage to grow it was going to need a standard API that would be widely accepted by application and platform developers and we believed that this would be the Amazon S3 API.

Five years on from our launch and Amazon S3 has become the de facto standard and new applications are being built with its API all the time.

This puts Cloudian in the perfect position. Whilst many of our competitors must create gateways between platforms, Cloudian doesn’t need one – it is guaranteed to work with the Amazon S3 API and all S3 features, tools and applications.

What are the benefits of Cloudian’s recently announced integration with Google?

Google Cloud Platform offers a range of services including its Nearline and Coldline service for archival data.

Data protection is an important use case for our products, and archival services are of particular interest there. Many of our customers backup data to the Cloudian storage in their data centre, and then migrate older backup data to an archival service such as Google Coldline or Amazon Glacier.

>See also: When cloud gets personal: the consumerisation of the enterprise

This provides a local copy of the backup data for fast data restores, while moving a copy offsite for DR purposes. It’s a great example of hybrid storage – combining on-premises and cloud storage in one application.

What do you think are the driving forces behind adopting hybrid cloud storage? 

Many businesses still have data that cannot be sent to the public cloud. This can be for a number of reasons, for example critical, sensitive or government regulated data.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by ActualTech Media showed that 60% (from 400 UK and US organisations) of its respondents have data that must remain on-premises.

These restrictions are driving the adoption of hybrid cloud storage, and interoperability and security between platforms is more important now than it ever has been.

What does Cloudian’s new EU demonstration centre mean for local regions? 

Opening a facility in Amsterdam, where our Director of EMEA is based, was the first step in our EMEA expansion. Prior to this centre, our demonstrations were conducted from our US facility.

As demand for Cloudian and object storage in general increased, it made sense to open a centre in Europe and as Amsterdam is very central it is easy to travel to from all over Europe.

Customers will be able to see the benefits and performance of HyperStore for themselves through locally performed proof-of-concept demonstrations.

What do you think the current state of the storage industry is?

The industry is in a very exciting phase of development.

The speed of technological change is accelerating, and cloud computing has made an enormous impact in every part of the technology landscape and storage is no different.

>See also: Success of AWS is turning S3 into an enterprise storage ‘must have’

With the momentum behind trends such as IoT and automation really gathering pace, there are great opportunities on the horizon for storage vendors who can deliver products and services with the performance, compatibility and value customers are looking for.

How has the industry changed since Cloudian’s launch in 2011 and where do you see it heading in 2017? 

The storage industry is a fast-paced, highly competitive and constantly developing environment. Whilst public cloud has made a major impact, not all data can be sent to the cloud.

Customers are looking to optimise their use of storage technologies to build the best solutions for them. With this in mind we believe the storage industry is now moving toward bespoke hybrid solutions.

 

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