Get Off of My Cloud: Private Cloud Computing Takes Shape - Page 2

Storage Networks and SANRISE (acquired by Hitachi) were two early on-demand storage companies, among others, that got upended in the 2000-2003 bubble.
"These were about setting up storage structures at places like [Internet service provider] Exodus," Sajai Krishnan, CEO of cloud storage software startup ParaScale and a storage industry veteran, told me. "Typically, they provided big EMC-type storage and sliced it up to offer to enterprise-type customers. That was the 'Gen 1' of cloud storage."
It didn't work because "nobody wanted to buy Tier 1 data storage in this kind of 'cloud' context, although it wasn't called 'cloud' back then," Krishnan said.
Online storage services have evolved a great deal since then. Companies such as EMC's Mozy, Carbonite, Box.net, Amazon S3, CommVault, Seagate's eVault, Iron Mountain Digital and others are primarily competing for consumer backup business.
On the business side, companies such as Nirvanix, Cleversafe and ParaScale (which is still in beta testing), have staked out their territories and are becoming the de facto, go-to folks for Web 2.0 companies looking to build out their own private clouds.
"The reasons to build a private cloud are very simple: They're all about control and security," Krishnan said. "'I want it within my firewall; I want my people to manage it."
Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) online storage service is a very well-engineered service, Krishnan said, but "it operates at such a scale where sometimes you have these hiccups," he said. "If you're in S3's IT shop, you have no way of actually solving that problem in any manageable time frame. And if you were to own your own cloud, you know exactly what's going on.
"You know which software revs you have rolled out, you know which servers are choking up -- all of this is possible when you know your constraints," Krishnan said.
When does it make sense for an enterprise IT shop to think about building its own cloud?
"I believe that if you have 20 to 30 terabytes of data growing at about 10 to 20 TBs per year, then you should think about having your own cloud," Krishnan said. "That's about a minimum level. If you're much smaller than that, and your growth is not much more than that, there are plenty of appliances you can buy with 12 and 24TB of capacity that will work just fine."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...