Panzura Sets Its Cloud Storage Gateway 'Free'

By Pedro Hernandez

Panzura, a Campbell, Calif.-based provider of cloud-enabled data storage products, announced today that the company has ripped the price tag off its cloud storage gateway product.

Going forward, the company's Cloud Gateway virtual appliance is available for free. The move is a bid to accelerate "the cloud storage-to-commodity timeline," according to a company spokesperson. The company argued in a statement that the true value of cloud storage lies in its ability to serve "as a collaborative fabric that connects distributed offices, making them function as a single office," rather than an inexpensive data repository.

Randy Chou, CEO and co-founder, described the cloud gateway market as "a commodity market whose benefits are subsumed by globally distributed file systems, especially with the advent of global file locking," in prepared remarks. File locking is a patented Panzura Global File System technology that provides LAN-like access to cloud storage over wide area networks (WANs). The cloud storage market is being further commoditized by plummeting prices and Moore's Law pricing strategies, he added.

By eliminating cost from the equation, "we've taken the market for the simple protocol conversion provided by cloud gateways to access cloud storage immediately to zero," said Chou.

Panzura's free virtual appliance can be loaded on a VMware hypervisor. The gateway is compatible with Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Azure Storage, or EMC Atmos and Cleversafe on the private cloud front.

The change in pricing strategy could help set the company apart from an increasingly crowded cloud gateway market. Competitors include EVault, Riverbed and startups like CTERA Networks.

Panzura also managed to enlist a major cloud partner in its latest endeavor. "Google has agreed to give away two terabytes of cloud storage for free for a year with any free Panzura Cloud Gateway virtual appliance," said the spokesperson. Panzura bills the partnership as an effort to remove barriers to cloud adoption.

Why now? Following some brisk business generated by customers in the architectural, engineering and construction market -- 1,200 percent quarter-over-quarter, according to Panzura -- Chou and his company discovered that collaboration, not cheap and easy access to storage, drove demand.

"Disaster recovery, backups and archiving may help justify the cost of a global locking file system, but collaboration is what drives the need for cloud storage," he said.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on July 10, 2014