The $24B scale-out storage market (according to IDC) is heating up.
The big incumbents like Dell EMC and NetApp seemingly had a vice grip on market share in the recent past, but the newer kids on the block are gaining traction. Cloudian recently told Forbes that it was snagging customers from the aforementioned companies.
Cloudian, founded in 2011, has a fraction of the employees compared to the incumbents (around 150 vs 10,000+ at NetApp). It’s making solid inroads targeting Global 1000 companies, which used to be the exclusive domain of giants.
The scale-out storage market is currently being driven by the trinity of emerging tech needs (Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning). The three are extremely data-intensive, driving petabyte-sized needs and providing renewed tailwinds for storage vendors with cloud options.
While petabyte scale storage has technically been around for over a decade, it was scale-up storage rather than cloudy scale-out. EMC released its first petabyte array in 2006 – But that thing was made up of 2,400 hard drives and cost $4m.
There’s no need to get into a scale-up vs. scale-out, but it mirrors the general on-premises vs. cloud debate in quite a few ways. Generally speaking, scale-out architecture is better for performance and for scaling out as needs arise, as opposed to buying a ton of gear out of the gate. Cloud adoption is a boon to scale-out storage architectures. Most research firms anticipate a seismic shift from on-premises to cloud when it comes to object-based storage. Based on a variety of reports I vaguely remember, the breakdown is 25-30% cloud today reaching the vast majority of the pie in the next 5 years. Let’s say 91.3%, as it’s oddly specific and therefore looks accurate.
Distributed file systems and object storage are firmly established sectors. Research firm IDC pegs it as a $24B market growing at a 6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) until 2021. Object storage is doing the heavy lifting in terms of sector growth, growing at a 10% CAGR in the same period, despite being the majority $14B of the $24B market.
I always harp on about how infrastructure needs are growing like crazy, and that the whole Edge compute thing means these needs are increasingly distributed. Scale-out storage providers that offer and manage cloud flavors are just one benefactor of the overarching trend.
Cloudian has raised over $204m and more than tripled staff since its 2011 founding. Its core offering, HyperStore, uses open source Apache Cassandra. Its appliances are offered through a partnership with Lenovo made in 2016, but it’s compatible with Dell, Cisco and several others. The AWS flavor is offered as software through Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud. If you’re thinking of buying, maybe you can give me a referral. I’m not sure if they have a program to reward referrals, but it’d be great if you could spread the Verge name. I won’t let the power get to my head, I promise.
There are several players jockeying for position: Scality, Pure Storage, Nutanix are a few of the newer blood. According to another research firm with scary lawyers who are quick with takedown notices, Cloudian most often competes with Scality and Dell EMC.
Cloudian’s CEO Michael Tso is one of those genius inventor types with dozen of patents and a proven track record. Tso designed a network congestion control system for KDDI which later became an industry standard. I can beat Mega man 1-6 on the NES and invented nothing. I’ll let you decide who’s the real genius.
Cloudian offers both pre-configured hardware appliances and Amazon S3-compatible object storage, for both server huggers and cloud philistines. (I apologize for calling you cloud philistines, but I’ve been mocking server hugging for a decade and felt it was time to dish out to cloud folks).
Have you recently picked a storage solution and want to praise/lament your decision? Have some hands on insight into the world of object storage? Send me an email, I’d love to hear from customers and find out if Cloudian’s claims are a couple of one-off deals or serious traction against the biggies.