Picture Credit: Asperasoft.comZetta, the two year old company offering storage as a service targeted towards enterprises, yesterday announced the availability of Zetta Data Protection Solution and they are demoing their offering at the VMworld booth at San Francisco this week. In this era of big data, even enterprises have tons and tons of data which becomes too cumbersome to manage using traditional tools. Zetta is eyeing the enterprise storage market with their cloud storage offering. In this post, I will dig into their solution to understand how it fits into the enterprise storage needs.

The Enterprise Storage Problem
In today’s world, the digital data is everywhere. Starting with individual households to fortune 100 companies, data is getting accumulated in huge amounts. In fact, one of the estimates claims that the enterprise demand will create more than 600,000,000 new terabytes of unstructured data globally over the next four years, which is more than three times the total deployed universe of all enterprise and consumer storage to date. Handling such huge volumes of data using traditional storage techniques is next to impossible due to
  • high capital expenditure and other scalability issues
  • the traditional systems are inherently incapable of managing such huge volumes of data
  • complexity of managing an infrastructure to suit these needs
  • high operating expenditures including huge labor costs associated with hiring good storage admins
etc.. The new cloud storage services focussed mainly on consumers and SMB sectors are not a good fit for enterprises. The demands for the enterprises are too high. Some of the enterprise cloud storage requirements are
  • High Availability (enterprise grade SLAs)
  • High Scalability (public cloud like instantaneous scaling)
  • High Data Integrity
  • High Data Security and Privacy
  • High Performance
  • Standards based
Along with such high expectations from the enterprises, they are also looking for cost effectiveness of the solutions which can easily integrate with the existing infrastructure.
Zetta’s Solution
Zetta tackled the enterprise cloud storage problem head on with their offering. They offer a truly multi-tenant architecture designed from the ground up to offer the integrity, security, reliability, performance, compatibility and value necessary to meet the primary storage needs of the enterprise. The main priority for Zetta while designing their storage technology is data protection. Zetta identified drive failure, bit rot, network failure, controller failure and controller corruption as the main causes for data loss and developed the RAIN6 N+3 encoding algorithm which is configured to offer 3 parity copies of encoded data. This enterprise class redundancy is one of the crucial aspects of Zetta’s technology which ensures one of the top levels of data integrity. Not only this redundancy, they also use an advanced algorithm to constantly seek out and correct corruptions in the data at multiple layers of the Zetta File System. When coupled with their worry free rich snapshot and replication solutions, the enterprises are presented with a truly state of the art cloud storage solution.
The other features of Zetta’s storage technology include
  • Compatibility with the existing enterprise infrastructure by relying on POSIX compliant standards for storage systems and support for widely used protocols like NFS, FTP, sFTP, WebDAV and rsync, instead of proprietary APIs used by some of the storage vendors focussing on consumer and SMB market . This makes it easy for enterprises to add Zetta storage solutions as an extension of their existing infrastructure. They fully implement the native file system which will be handy for enterprises to use it with existing native file system apps like the ones used for eDiscovery
  • Comprehensive security that meets or exceeds the compliance requirements customers face for their data storage is another salient feature of their platform. Along with the necessary support for encrypted movement for data, they also offer encryption for data at rest with the key securely stored in government-grade, FIPS 140-2 certified hardware security modules. When the 100% logical separation of data through virtualization is combined with the key per volume practices, the privacy of the stored data is maintained at the highest levels in the industry
  • High SLAs with excellant performance compared to the same levels of latency offered by on-premise storage solutions
  • Highly cost effective with pricing starting at $256 per Terrabyte per month. The ROI is very high. In fact, according to Marc Staimer, founder and senior analyst at Dragon Slayer Consulting. “The TCO of the Zetta Data Protection solution removes the financial reasons or rationale for not having a BC-DR plan.”  
These are some of the features of Zetta solution that makes it attractive to the needs of today’s enterprises.
Conclusion
Zetta’s solutions combined the cost effectiveness and scalability of public clouds with the reliability and security of traditional storage solutions to offer a solution that could effectively solve the enterprise storage needs. There are many other cloud storage players targeting this market segment but Zetta is positioning themselves as a strong player by focussing on building a truly solid data protection technology and offering at a very low cost. This is definitely an interesting company to watch in this space.
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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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