We see the term "convergence" about every day here on the world IT business beat. More and more functionality is being crammed into smaller devices -- be they rack-mounted, embedded, desktopped or handheld. Servers that once did a single job are being virtualized and ordered to multitask as many things as humans. Terabytes of data are being stored on increasingly dense spinning-disk and solid-state media. And so on.
On the storage front, a relatively new company, TwinStrata, is taking the idea of data convergence to a completely new level. On Nov. 14, the 4-year-old Natick, Mass.-based company came out with v3.0 of something it calls the CloudArray SAN (storage area network) that appears to be unprecedented in what it can do. This comes in either a cloud service or on a commodity server that can be plugged right into a data center.
There are a number of competent storage suppliers who can provide reliable gateways to cloud storage or Web services, for example. There are others who specialize in providing central control gateways to physical IT systems within data centers, remote offices and other locations. There are still others who offer private and/or public cloud connectivity on sliding scales.
But to date, eWEEK hasn't seen a cloud service that combines all of the above into one control panel. That distinction goes to TwinStrata, which is partnered with just about everybody in the cloud services world and can customize a storage system like no one has in the past. Any type of NAS (network attached storage) or other file system connects natively, as well as direct-attached or NAS storage. Some of its partners include Rackspace, AT&T, Amazon Web Services, Nirvanex and OpenStack.
For example, an enterprise of any size can hook up its applications that require storage (database, email, backup, replication, etc.) all into TwinStrata's iSCSI-based Cloud SAN at the same time -- no matter where on Earth any of those systems is physically located. Oh yes, you also can throw in private and public cloud connections. It all comes out in a single, cloud-based control panel for management to supervise. Now that is storage system convergence!
Key features storage admins are going to want to know about include cross-system disaster recovery, snapshots that can be taken as often as hourly, dynamic caching and federal-level encrypted security for wherever they require it. Multisite storage consolidation (there's that convergence thing again), offsite replication and disaster recovery, and storage tiering are also options in the package.
Add in the pay-as-you-go cloud pricing model, and TwinStrata has a competitive product/service that is drawing attention. This appears to be a company to reckon with in 2012.