Cloud storage: Nirvanix takes shots at Amazon S3, EMC Atmos

February 24, 2011 – IDC predicts that by 2014 the cloud storage market will exceed $7 billion per year. That compares to about $1.5 billion in 2009. Assuming IDC’s prediction comes true (which is debatable), it’s no wonder that so many vendors are crowding into the cloud storage space.
But every small cloud storage equipment/services provider has to come up with a business case that sets them apart from the 800-pound gorillas in the market, most notably Amazon and EMC.

All of the smaller players have value propositions versus the big boys, but Nirvanix has recently become one of the more vocal challengers. To back up their claims, Nirvanix officials cite customers such as NBC Universal and GE, both of which deployed Nirvanix’s cloud storage platform after evaluating Amazon S3, EMC Atmos and other alternatives.

I recently chatted with Geoff Tudor, vice president for strategy and business development at Nirvanix, and Steve Zivanic, Nirvanix’s new vice president of marketing.

Versus Amazon’s S3, Nirvanix claims a number of advantages. For example, unlike Amazon, Nirvanix allows customers -- including security auditors -- to inspect its data centers (of which there are seven worldwide). That might not be a big deal for many companies, but for those that still harbor concerns about certain aspects of the cloud – such as security – it might be important.

Nirvanix also allows customers to determine where their data will reside, and to provision their data, and guarantees Quality of Service (QoS) levels. And Nirvanix enables federation of public (remote) and private (local) clouds.

Versus EMC Atmos, Nirvanix claims scalability advantages (billions vs. millions of files), the ability to federate public and private clouds (vs. only private clouds), and independence from specific hardware and file systems. Nirvanix’s Web Services Layer can sit on top of virtually any file system, including those from NetApp, EMC (Isilon and Celerra) Exanet and Ibrix. In addition, Nirvanix users only pay for usable capacity (aka storage-as-a-service); there are no extra charges for data protection capacity (e.g., replication, RAID 6).

Nirvanix also differentiates its approach to cloud storage by offering different deployment options, which the company collectively refers to as “CloudComplete.” At the heart of each deployment option is the CloudNAS gateway.

From there, users can leverage Nirvanix’s Storage Delivery Network (SDN) public cloud platform, which provides a federated, tiered grid with a single namespace and unified view, or go with the company’s hNode software, which provides a cloud services layer for hybrid (public and/or private) cloud architectures.

More cloud storage articles:
Is cloud-enabled DR ready for prime time?
EMC debuts self-service platform for cloud storage
eSilo tackles cloud-based backup, DR
3X upgrades cloud storage appliances


posted by: Dave Simpson