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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cloud Storage Portal

my_computerIn Windows, we have enjoyed easy access to different kind of drives from one single name space and portal – Windows Explorer.  For such a long time, we take for granted the convenience of storage portal feature in Windows. Whether it is a CD-ROM drive, a Floppy drive, several hard drives or different network drives, they are all easily accessible from My Computers in Windows.
What if we could do the same to cloud storage services?
Before we talk about cloud storage portal, let’s first bring up the different cloud storage technology families. Of all the cloud storage services you can use out there, there are basically 8 different technologies out there:

1. Amazon S3

logo_aws[3]Amazon S3 and its compatible clones. As the cloud storage service leader, the Amazon S3 API is widely used by different technologies. For example, earlier version of Google Storage has S3 compatible APIs. Mezeo and Scality have S3 compatible APIs too.

2. OpenStack Object Storage

openstack_thumb[2]OpenStack is celebrating its 1 year anniversary. Its open source nature quickly drives the adoption. From Rackspace Cloud Files, Internap XIPCloud to Korean Telecom and numerous other companies with internal deployments, we can see the increase in adoption month by month.
A key differentiator of OpenStack to Amazon S3 is open source. Open source allows different vendors to roll their own cloud storage offerings.

3. Windows Azure Storage

azureWindows Azure is Microsoft’s PaaS(Platform as a Service) offering. Windows Azure Storage is the storage part of the offering. Most people refers to Azure Storage as application storage instead of data storage. Azure is more focused on Windows based applications such as those based on .NET framework. Azure storage becomes the storage the application can use to persist permanent data. As compared to Amazon S3, Azure Storage is more application oriented in people’s mind than a generic storage service. However, Windows Azure Storage is very capable of being a generic data storage service. 
It is similar to Amazon S3 in that it is serviced by a single vendor. In another word, you can create your own OpenStack based cloud service but you will always use Azure from Microsoft and use S3 from Amazon.

4. EMC Atmos

emcatmosEMC Atmos is similar to OpenStack in a sense that it separates the technology provider from the service provider. For example, the Atmos technology provider is EMC and the service provider can be AT&T.

5. Google Storage

Google Storage for Developers version 1 is similar to Amazon S3. Started in version 2, Google Storage started to be different. For example, it adds OAuth 2.0 support.

6. Mezeo

Mezeo Cloud Storage Software has both native API and Amazon S3 compatible API. It is similar to OpenStack in that you can build your own cloud storage offering based on Mezeo software.  One advantage is that Mezeo owns the Mezeo Cloud Storage Software technology so it will be able to provide complete service from initial buy to after-sale support to customization.

7. Scality

Scality RING is similar to OpenStack and Atmos too. You can build your own cloud storage offering based on Scality RING. It offers Amazon S3 compatible API.

8. Nirvanix

Nirvanix is similar to Amazon S3 or Azure in that the technology provider and the service provider are the same company. Nirvanix offers its own storage API.

Storage Portal in Windows Explorer

With Gladinet Cloud Storage Access Solutions, you can turn Windows Explorer into a storage portal, extending to include different kinds of cloud storage services from different cloud storage technology families.

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