There are two approaches towards content management in the cloud. The first is that taken by companies such as that seeks to replace traditional software and storage with web based tools. The second is that taken by companies such as Mainsoft which takes traditional tools (Microsoft office and Sharepoint) and delivers an easier to use experience and enables collaboration.

storsStorSimple is another approach that works on the speed experience that SharePoint and Exchange users face. Rather than core functionality, StorSimple’s approach is to create a hybrid cloud storage appliance that integrates the cloud into enterprise applications without forcing users to put their enterprise applications into the cloud.  The theory goes that customers can get the instant provisioning, elastic expansion and utility billing of the public cloud with the speed and security of primary storage.

The idea is to assess which files are used sufficiently regularly to justify being kept on local storage as distinct from more archival needs which can go to the cloud. All this is undertaken from an in-enterprise appliance that, sitting as it does within the organization’s premises, will go some way to allay the fears of IT.

StorSimple’s Armada Storage Appliance is a hybrid storage appliance that blends on-premises storage, WAN optimization, and security, to address application specific storage-centric issues. Armada uses integrated storage, along with public and private storage clouds, and provides storage volumes to application servers using iSCSI, allowing for integration between existing applications and cloud storage. Highly utilized files are stored on SSD, those with a moderate use are stored on integrated SATA. Archival storage can occur on-premises or in the cloud.

StorSimple can automatically move data between the different tiers as it assesses the usage of different files and moves particular files to the most appropriate storage tier. In an effort to reduce cost and access times, StorSimple automatically compresses, dedupes, and encrypts data.

StorSimple must be doing something right as they announced today a new funding round led by Mayfield Fund, bringing their total funding to $21 million.

The jury is out on whether enterprise users will continue to want to use their existing tools or will jump headfirst into  new breed of collaboration enabling tools. StorSimple is gambling on the former and is going some way to making enterprise users experience with the tools they already use much better.

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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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