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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cloud Storage Infrastructure Overview

Almost all the hosting service providers in the world provide FTP service, a very well known form of online storage. Some may call it cloud storage service if ‘cloud’ was used as a loose term referring to any service provided over the Internet. 

cloudwhiteIt is also a well known technology that finds its way into major operating systems. For example, you can have FTP service in Windows 2003, Linux and other OS. It is fairly straight forward for service providers to setup FTP services for their customers. FTP was a technology invented in the 1970s and got popular around 1990s.

Now fast forward 20 years to Cloud Storage as we know it today as something scalable; something pay-by-usage; something over the Internet with HTTP and HTTPS; something built with redundancy and replication and something far more complicated than FTP. Service providers are looking for quick and easy cloud storage solutions that they can offer to customers.

Eventually cloud storage service will be like that, becoming a commodity for service providers to buy. It will be easy to setup; easy to scale; easy to meter and easy for customers to use. Even though cloud storage solutions are far more complicated than FTP, someone will package it in a way to make it easy to acquire and easy to use.

This article will survey the cloud storage infrastructure in the market for service providers.

1. Amazon S3 and Public Cloud  (for Resell/Rebrand)

Many service providers select to resell and rebrand Amazon S3. On the surface, it looks like ACME storage with additional functionalities such as backup, access and sync. Under the hood, it leverages Amazon S3.

There are several similar services in the market such as Rackspace Cloud Files, Google Storage for Developers and Windows Azure. They all provide good public cloud storage services for a service provider to resell and rebrand with value-add functionalities.

For service providers that don’t really need to have storage in their data center, this is an excellent option.

(Gladinet supports all these public cloud storage services)

2. EMC Atmos

EMC Atmos is a hardware and software combined solution that service providers can buy to setup petabytes of cloud storage solution.

There are several big service providers, such as AT&T and Peer1, using EMC Atmos for their cloud storage offering. Unlike the Amazon S3 reselling option, the service providers will acquire Atmos hardware and software from EMC and host the service inside their own data center.

This is a good option if you (as a service provider) want to build cloud storage solution with new racks of storage devices.

EMC Atmos has API(Application programming Interface) that is different from either Amazon S3, Windows Azure or anyone else.

(Gladinet is a EMC Atmos Partner)

3. Mezeo Cloud Storage

Mezeo is a cool cloud storage software and platform that service providers can buy and setup quickly. Service providers can set it up using their own hardware or commodity hardware. This gives service providers extra flexibility of leveraging their existing storage investment.

Mezeo has Amazon S3 compatible API and also native API.

(Gladinet is a Mezeo Ready Solution Partner)

4. OpenStack Object Storage

OpenStack object storage is similar to Rackspace Cloud Files. Rackspace is a big sponsor for the OpenStack project. Other than Rackspace, Internap is another service provider that leverage OpenStack for its XIPCloud service. To leverage OpenStack, the service provider will need to have developers that know how to put it together and how to maintain the system.

OpenStack’s API is compatible with Rackspace Cloud Files.

(Gladinet is a participating company in the OpenStack ecosystem)

5. Scality RING Technology

Scality is another cool cloud storage software that can put commodity hardware together and build a layer of cloud storage software on top of it. Scality’s API is compatible with Amazon S3.

(Gladinet is a Scality partner)

Gladinet partners with many of the above technology providers and fully supports them.  For these partners, Gladinet’s value proposition is to help drive cloud storage adoption by providing easy data access path to these cloud storage service systems.

Gladinet provides BASIC value-add on top of these cloud storage systems, where BASIC means Backup, Access with Drive Letter, Sync, Integration and Connect. If you are a service provider that is looking to provide BASIC cloud storage solutions to your user base, Gladinet can help because our value is to help service providers to quickly provide end-2-end cloud storage solutions to customers.

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