Cloud buzz abounds—storage software vendor ParaScale today released version 2.0 of its private cloud storage solution designed for VARs and service provider distribution. The solution aims to take advantage o f the growing need for easy-to-manage storage solutions while data amounts continue to expand.

The ParaScale Cloud Storage software product provides distributed performance of cloud storage with tools for the set-up and ongoing management and maintenance on commodity Linux hardware, including RedHat and CentOS.  The product is an alternative to traditional storage and archiving solutions. End-users can access and run analysis on individual storage nodes in the cloud through the web or using standard NAS protocols.

ParaScale implementations also enables more extensive metadata to be captured within the cloud, so users can gain more insight into the relevancy and importance of enterprise data.  “Data is growing, and companies need to determine what data is valuable and no one has the tools to figure it out because metadata associated with file data is relatively limited,” said Jack Norris, vice president of  marketing and business development for ParaScale. “One of the hidden values of ParaScale is the ability to collect a lot more metadata and provide additional insight into what the data is, what is the context around that, and make different determinations.”

Terri McClure, senior analyst for analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group said cloud storage solutions like ParaScale can help solve IT’s increasing frustration with storage management and free up IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives. McClure said that IT staffs are fatigued by managing a plethora of disconnected systems.  She said that virtualization solves the problem of shared loads and ease of management on the server side, but, until recently, storage never caught up.

“Instead of having hundreds of systems on the floor, with cloud storage, you’re managing one system. That’s what’s so attractive – scalability,” said McClure. “While the entire storage ecosystem is managed in a single footprint, it is self-managing and self-healing.”

ParaScale reseller Even Enterprises recently entered the cloud storage market. Even Enterprise’s CEO Andy Seltzer said he chose to resell ParaScale to meet an increasing market requirement for cloud storage. Seltzer said the biggest ParaScale benefits are reliability, scalability and profitability. Seltzer said the company can easily offer its customers 150 raw terabytes of storage for “well-under” $ 150,000.

“ParaScale is profitable for us and it offers a spectacular price for the customer,” said Seltzer. “Plus, it’s reliable and secure.”

Although founded in 2004, ParaScale is still in its early stages and only released its first generally available product in March 2009 (ParaScale said alpha customers have been deployed since 2006). The company plans to move to a heavier reliance on an indirect sales channel once it has secured more enterprise and service provider customers. ParaScale is also focused on building outs its distribution channel by signing up more VARs that target mid-size to large enterprises that require large amounts of storage. The company is also expanding its technology and co-marketing partnerships with software alliances like the recently announced partnership with information lifecycle management vendor Moonwalk.

The company seems to be making headway on customer acquisition – its flagship customer is the Stanford Genome Technology Center—and with service provider relationships like BitPusher, Carpathia Hosting and the recently announced OC3 Networks. ParaScale continues to focus on industries where image and data storage is growing rapidly like healthcare, government, and media.