Cloud Storage Comes of Age

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

While cloud storage computing has been considered leading-edge and not ready for widespread deployment in enterprises yet, managed hosting service provider Carpathia's CTO says he believes the service will come into its own in 2010 and enjoy acceptance by enterprises.

Managed hosting service provider giant Carpathia Hosting was looking to get into the storage cloud space with an object-based offering that would allow the company to offer a fully managed cloud to its customers, which include many large enterprises.
That's because while cloud computing has been on the leading edge of technology up until now, 2010 is the year when the technology will enjoy acceptance by enterprises, according to Carpathia CTO Jon Greaves, whose company is big enough to host mainframes for some larger customers.

"Developers were the really early adopters of cloud computing," Greaves tells Channel Insider. "And 2009 was the foundational year where everyone was talking about the cloud. But I think next year will truly be a year for cloud to be embraced by enterprises."

But how does a managed provider looking to add cloud computing to the mix evaluate potential vendors? And why did Carpathia make the choices it did in terms of platform?

Greaves says he started exploring building his cloud storage service about a year ago, looking to build out an object-based storage platform that could scale on demand, delivering all the capabilities of network-attached storage (NAS) on demand. Carpathia wanted object-based storage because it would be easier for customers to use without custom code, APIs or any other development work.

Some large vendors such as EMC were exploring object-based storage, says Greaves. But Carpathia ultimately went with a smaller vendor called ParaScale. One of the reasons for the choice came down to the company's size.

"We had the ability to interact with ParaScale at such a level [as] to see their road map," says Greaves. "We found ParaScale easy to work with and we had good access into the team."

Greaves says he looked at storage area network (SAN) technology, but found it to be on the high end of pricing and didn't allow Carpathia to be competitive in the cloud.

"You could argue that you could deliver a lot of this with NAS, but it doesn't provide other benefits, like the ability to run our own code on the box," Greaves says.

Other benefits included the ability to implement a multitenant environment and to connect to it with standard protocols. Back when Carpathia first began its evaluation a year ago, Greaves says, ParaScale was the only company that could "deliver cloud storage in a form that was easy to consume from anyone."

It also enabled parallel access, which helps when a file becomes "hot" or heavily accessed. Plus, it has enabled Carpathia to layer value-added services on top of the basic offering, such as virus protection and content delivery networks.

"Storage is a value-add service, not just files," Greaves says. "This lets me do some pretty innovative things."

Carpathia went live with its storage cloud in April and formally announced it in June.

Separately, Carpathia announced Sept. 2 that it had acquired ServerVault, a managed hosting provider specializing in delivering secure, compliant hosting solutions to business and federal agencies.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...