OBS has been a hot topic of late, and rightly so, it’s a technology whose time has come. The advantages it brings to companies facing extreme data growth, often referred to as ‘hyper-scale’ environments, are pretty remarkable. Basically, object storage when combined with erasure coding and data dispersion, a process Cleversafe calls “information dispersal”, can create a system that has almost unlimited scalability and compelling economics.
In addition, this technology delivers the reliability these companies need while maintaining storage performance and data availability, something that traditional RAID and replication-based systems simply can’t match. For this reason, object storage is finding its way into more mainstream IT environments.
At the Next Generation Object Storage Summit recently, one of the themes discussed was what object storage could provide a company looking to this technology as an alternative to more traditional storage infrastructures. In addition to its substantial technology benefits, the company behind that object storage system can be as important as the product itself.
Cleversafe has built an impressive list of client companies that are running businesses on the information dispersal technology. One of these, Shutterfly, has over 80PB of customers’ photos and photo products stored on Cleversafe’s dsNet storage. As Cleversafe grows they’re adding application-specific solutions to help customers better leverage the benefits of object storage technology. One of these enables dsNet to support the Hadoop environment.
Hadoop developers can run MapReduce using Cleversafe’s Slicestor nodes as Hadoop cluster nodes. This brings the scalability, and performance at-scale, of dispersed storage to the Hadoop environment. Hadoop’s file system, HDFS, makes 3 copies of data as default, creating some significant limitations in terms of scalability and overhead. By replacing HDFS with Cleversafe, users can remove this requirement for redundancy and dramatically improve their storage efficiency. By providing an HDFS compatible interface Cleversafe’s solution maintains compatibility with the broader Hadoop ecosystem.
Using Cleversafe in a Hadoop cluster means more capability for Hadoop applications and improved storage economics, while still meeting developers’ needs for storage performance. And for users that have already chosen Cleversafe for archive storage because of its cost and durability advantages, dsNet Analytics adds the ability to extract value from these archived data using Hadoop as well. In addition to this kind of application-specific development, Cleversafe has also been focused on developing their partner channel to expand their reach into new markets and to better serve existing customers.
Earlier this year, Cleversafe announced the Elevate Partner Program to grow their network of Value Added Resellers (VARs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Global Systems Integrators (GSIs). This program gives their channel partners access to the marketing materials, sales support and hands-on training they need to take Cleversafe’s technology to their marketplaces.
In addition to VARs reselling Cleversafe solutions, MSPs are also using the dsNet technology to build their own private cloud infrastructures and support their portfolios of managed services. For ISVs Cleversafe provides a hardware platform with which to integrate their software products. GSIs typically use this object storage technology as an integrated part of a larger, turnkey solution that includes customized software and ongoing support.
Storage Swiss Take
Object storage is a technology that’s being looked at as a viable product alternative to more traditional storage systems. But potential users are also interested in the company behind the products they’re evaluating. Founded in 2004, Cleversafe has developed a strong technology with their dsNet scale-out solution, and an enviable customer list. Recently they’ve started addressing other factors as they grow the company into a major player in this space, by developing application-specific capabilities and a strong partner channel.