Scality has been a successful company pushing the software-defined storage (SDS) line. For those of you who haven’t come across SDS before, the easiest way to understand it is to think that SDS is to storage, what virtual servers are to compute, and SDN is to networking. In other words, SDS enables policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware. What that means for customers is that they can gain significantly more efficiency and flexibility with their existing storage assets – a win for them, albeit at the cost of a new Porsche for their friendly legacy storage sales rep.

Founded in 2009, Scality has amassed almost $100 million in funding and shown impressive growth. Scality’s RING software is claimed to serve over 500 million end-users worldwide with over 800 billion objects in production. Scality’s customers include four of the top ten cable operators in the US, the second largest Telco in France, leading portals in Italy, Germany, and UK, mobile operators in Japan, and the second largest online video site in the world.

RING does a simple thing, but it does it well. With RING, customers can turn a standard x86 server into a web-scale storage pool. Most importantly, RING is fully compatible with AWS’ S3 storage offering, meaning that customers can have a flexible hybrid storage offering that works seamlessly with their AWS storage.

About a year ago, Scality introduced its S3 Server, an open source implementation of the Amazon S3 API. The introduction was a good way for users to start using object storage for their S3-based applications. Since its introduction, S3 Server has seen over 600,000 DockerHub pulls – significant adoption and a good source of prospective customers for Scality’s commercial products.

That success has led to Scality making the decision to open source Zenko, a multi-cloud data controller. Free to use and embed into developer applications, Zenko provides a unified interface based on a proven implementation of the Amazon S3 API across clouds.

This allows any cloud to be addressed with the same API and access layer while storing information in their respective native format. For example, any Amazon S3-compliant application can now support Azure Blob Storage without any application modification. Scality’s vision for Zenko is to add data management controls to protect business assets, and metadata search to quickly subset large datasets based on simple business descriptors. Today, applications must be rewritten to support each cloud, which reduces productivity and makes the use of multiple clouds expensive. With Zenko, applications are built once and deployed across any cloud service.

With Zenko, Scality makes it even easier for enterprises of all sizes to quickly and cost-effectively deploy thousands of apps within the Microsoft Azure Cloud and leverage its many advanced services,” said Jurgen Willis, Head of Product for Azure Object Storage at Microsoft Corp. “Data stored with Zenko is stored in Azure Blob Storage native format, so it can easily be processed in the Azure Cloud for maximum scalability.”

Zenko is available now for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Amazon S3, Scality RING and Docker and will be available soon for other cloud platforms. Data written through Zenko is stored in the native format of the target storage and can be read directly, without the need to go through Zenko. Therefore, data written in Azure Blob Storage or in Amazon S3 can leverage the respective advanced services of these public clouds.

MyPOV

Scality has shown itself to be a company with both smart technology, and a savvy understanding of industry moves. S3 Server was an initial foray into a bottom-up adoption model and it seems to have worked for them. The formal open sourcing of Zenko cements this important on-ramp for Scality, and should help it expand its footprint significantly.

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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