Start-up takes on Amazon S3

By Ann Silverthorn

—When start-up Nirvanix decided to develop a business-to-business storage delivery service (SDS), it considered the Amazon S3 storage service as its major competitor. As Nirvanix launched this week, it listed quite a few advantages of its SDS over Amazon's S3. Both companies provide on-demand Internet storage for upload businesses, such as YouTube, rather than an individual user. The individual user buys or is given storage space from one business which, in turn, purchases storage space from Nirvanix.

The Nirvanix advantage, according to company CEO Patrick Harr, is the ability to store larger files, being able to manipulate that data, and providing a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA). Nirvanix says it can store files that contain up to 256GB, compared to Amazon S3's 5GB.

Nirvanix also allows users to manipulate their files more easily than Amazon S3, according to Harr. In addition, Nirvanix provides a true file system, which saves IT staff time by not having to build a file system for basic tasks such as copy, rename, delete, move, etc.

Nirvanix SDS is designed for on-demand Internet storage for Web 2.0, media applications, service providers, and consumer electronics companies. The SDS integrates online media storage and sharing into applications via Web services. The company is seeking a patent for its Internet Media File System, which underlies the SDS.

Quoting IDC, Nirvanix estimates that the digital universe will expand 600% to 988 exabytes by 2010 at a compound annual growth rate of 57%. Furthermore, it's speculated that 70% of this data will be user-generated content and 50% of the data will be stored online.

Nirvanix SDS is offered as storage-as-a-service (SaaS). The Internet Media File System is part of that service and is designed to eliminate storage and bandwidth constraints from the application servers. SDS scales to one pentillion files (1 followed by 18 zeros). The company provides an example that a pentillion files would be equal to 150 million files for every person on the planet.

SDS is RAID 6-protected with 256-bit AES encryption. It offers SSL with password authentication, and de-identified physical file information, which prevents linking files to users without a three-step key.

The collocations that Nirvanix works with are 24x7 network operating centers (NOCs) with continuous monitoring across seven levels.

Nirvanix SDS is priced at $0.18 per gigabyte per month, and $0.18 per GB transferred. The Amazon S3 pricing model is a bit different: It costs $0.15 per GB per month; data transfer has four options ranging from $0.10 per GB to $0.18 per GB.

This article was originally published on September 07, 2007