BY LISA COLEMAN
Amid a declining storage service provider (SSP) market, Scale Eight recently debuted its global storage service for unifying file storage access across geographic locations. And it paid off. Last month, the company received $23 million in third-round funding and shook off the SSP albatross.
But Scale Eight does not consider itself to be under the SSP umbrella, even though it provides storage services. The company prices its services competitively with SSPs ($30 per managed, mirrored GB per month) plus a one-time installation fee for its hardware-a 1U storage port appliance with a high-performance file system cache running a global file system.
"We see ourselves as a global storage systems company," says Dick Watts, Scale Eight CEO. The company, which was founded in September 1999, has data centers with parallel storage system configurations in Japan and the U.K. and two in the U.S. Every file that its customers have is automatically mirrored between at least two of these data centers.
The file appliance-Global Storage Port-can be mounted via NFS or CIFS and appears as a network drive. A Web-based service manager monitors, manages, and controls storage and bandwidth. "You need to be able to handle very large amounts of data because it's a global infrastructure. You have to be able to handle the movement of data across large geographic distances and manage the infrastructure that sits on it across different sites," says Watts.
He explains further that IT managers have a harder time managing islands of storage at various sites worldwide. "The sort of information that is readily available to a local IT manager on a LAN-attached storage device is very hard to aggregate across the enterprise," says Watts. For example, if one file is being copied extensively throughout the global storage infrastructure and consuming storage space, Scale Eight's system lets users access one main file through the storage port device, eliminating the need for duplicate copies.