“Smarting the dumb pipes” is a term I use a lot. Originally aimed at telcos, who have been struggling for a decade to figure out how to deliver value on top of fixed infrastructure, the term now gets extended to anyone who provides what is essentially “plumbing” – how can they do good stuff on top of that important, but largely undifferentiated, offering.

A good case in point is storage, and we have an interesting approach today from Cloudian. If you believe its marketing people, Cloudian “turns information into insight with an infinitely scalable platform that consolidates, manages and protects enterprise data.” What that means in plain English is that Cloudian offers an enterprise-grade object storage platform. Like its competitors, Scality, SwiftStack, and Ceph among them, Cloudian offers large customers a storage platform that enables them to not only scale but to do the smart stuff on top of all the data they’re storing.

And it is this latter aim that Cloudian hopes to deliver on today with the announcement of a new partner program that offers data management products on top of Cloudian’s storage offering. Initial members of the partner program are Rubrik, Komprise, Evolphin, and CTERA Networks.

Because the lake is getting fuller all the time

The amount of data that organizations are storing is only going in one direction: up. As such, the best time to take advantage of all of that data is yesterday, the next best time is today. In justifying why this partner network is both timely and valuable, Cloudian’s CEO, Michael Tso, speaks to the new and heightened challenges that enterprise storage folks face:

With unstructured data growing more than 50 percent each year, IT managers need effortlessly scalable solutions rather than temporary fixes. This new partner ecosystem delivers proven solutions for biggest capacity challenges, such as data protection, file management, and media archiving. Our customers can easily deploy these solutions to immediately simplify their infrastructure and save 70 percent on capacity costs, while delivering a long-term scalable solution for their data management needs.

Specific solutions to simplify and remove the silos

The idea of this new program is to address data center capacity storage challenges with (hopefully) best of breed solutions that consolidate multiple data silos into a single, infinitely scalable environment. The Program’s focus is to simplify data center operations and reduce costs. The initial members address various data use cases including:

  • Data protection: Rubrik and Cloudian together unify and automate backup, instant recovery, replication, global indexed search, archival, compliance, and copy data management into a single scale-out fabric across the data center and public cloud.
  • Data lifecycle management: Komprise and Cloudian tackle one of the biggest challenges in the data center industry, unstructured data lifecycle management, with solutions that offload non-critical data that is typically 70%+ of the footprint from costly Tier-1 NAS to a limitless scalable storage pool.
  • Media active archiving: Evolphin and Cloudian help media professionals address capacity-intensive formats with the performance to handle time-pressed workflows.
  • File sync and share: CTERA Networks and Cloudian provide enterprises with tools for collaboration in capacity-rich environments.

MyPOV

As always with these things, there are questions that remain about how much of this high-level functionality should be provided by the offering, and how much should be a third-party add-on. Personally, I would have thought that most enterprise customers would expect data protection and lifecycle management to be offered natively by the storage platform of choice, and will be mindful of the added complexity, cost and hassle that engaging with multiple parties brings.

That said, the initial partners are solid performers, and undisputed specialists in their own areas. The news is thus broadly positive for Cloudian customers and will help to “smart those dumb pipe” (or, more correctly, smart the dumb data.)

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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