Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Next Big Thing: Cloud Attached Storage

Following up from my previous post on Amazon's Elastic Storage service for EC2. There appears to be a growing interest in what I'm calling "Cloud Attached Storage". Earlier this week Nirvanix announced a deal with Silicon Mountain Holdings (a company I've never heard of) to embed their CloudNAS™ with SMH's storage hardware focused on the SMB market.

Although the deal on the surface appears to be more of a PR gimmick then any real business opportunity it does highlight a growing shift toward a hybrid cloud model where network attached storage hardware becomes a kind of gateway to a variety of offsite cloud services.

This quote by Gartner, caught my eye.

"The confluence of cloud storage and device storage in the home and office is a definite trend," said Adam Couture, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Endpoint devices can be lost or stolen. Storage arrays and local backup devices are susceptible to data corruption or catastrophic events such as fire or flood. Makers of these devices are beginning to understand the need to protect customer data off site. We think that is a trend that will become increasingly common."

I've been a big proponent of this type of "cloud attached storage" for while and is one of the primary reasons we created our ElasticDrive platform. (A large portion of our interest is coming from OEM) Contrary to some popular cloud advocates, the shift toward cloud computing won't be a "big switch" but a gradual migration. The combining of traditional NAS hardware with the option to automatically and securely replicate to the cloud presents a huge opportunity to hardware and software vendors alike.

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