Cloudian Object Storage: Product Overview and Insight

eWEEK PRODUCT OVERVIEW & INSIGHT: Cloudian’s global data fabric architecture enables enterprises to store, find and protect object and file data seamlessly across sites, both on-premises and in public clouds, within a single, unified platform.

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Today: Cloudian (new-gen object storage and data protection)

Ironically, though "cloud" is the foundation for the name of Cloudian, it is primarily an on-premises physical storage-making company.

Cloudian is a Silicon Valley-based file and object storage maker, specializing in AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)-compatible object storage systems, that was officially launched in 2011 by CEO Michael Tso and former President Hiroshi Ohta. In 2012, Cloudian signed its first deal with Japanese telecommunications company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) to power its Biz Hosting Cloud Object Storage service. In 2020, Cloudian has more than 400 customers, making it the most widely deployed independent provider of object storage systems. 

The company, which is privately held and has raised $173 million in funding, built its solutions to be fully S3 compatible from the start. As a result, in contrast to the expensive, complex, and proprietary object storage products which came before it, Cloudian’s technology allows all sizes and types of users to realize the benefits of object storage in their own data centers. 

Its award-winning flagship solution, HyperStore, provides limitless scalability and cloud-like technology, flexibility and economics on-premises as well as seamless integration with the public cloud. In addition, Cloudian’s global data fabric architecture enables enterprises to store, find and protect object and file data seamlessly across sites, both on-premises and in public clouds, within a single, unified platform.

What Cloudian Brings to the Table

Cloudian is a Silicon Valley-based object storage company specializing in S3-compatible object storage systems.  With technology roots in the large-scale enterprise message space, Cloudian introduced its object-based platform, HyperStore, in 2011. Today, Cloudian products are offered by HPE and VMware, as well as reseller partners worldwide. Data center managers, broadcasters, researchers, and software developers need solutions to help them contend with the explosive growth in unstructured data. Across all industries – from media to medical to industrial – new applications, formats, and technologies are driving this rapid increase of data, creating issues around storage costs and complexity. A highly scalable, easy-to-use storage system was needed. 

Benefits of Object Storage: Object storage architecture stores all data as objects in a flat address space. To grow deployments, users simply add nodes to that flat address space. By taking a scale-out approach rather than the traditional scale-up approach, object storage makes it possible to reach exabyte-level capacities without disruption and offers the following benefits:

  • A single storage pool that can span the globe: With the advent of IoT, remote sensing technologies and low-cost 4K cameras, continuous streams of unstructured data are now created in real-time everywhere. Object storage addresses this challenge with a distributed system in which nodes may be deployed wherever needed.
  • Seamless cloud integration: Most organizations today plan to use both public cloud and on-premises storage. As a result, analysts predict continued rapid growth for both storage models. Object storage speaks the language of the cloud via its support for the S3 API, the de facto standard protocol for object storage both on-premises and in public clouds.
  • Robust metadata capabilities: Object storage has rich metadata tagging capabilities built in, unlike NAS, which has limited metadata, or SAN, which has none.
  • Cost savings: Traditional enterprise storage acquisition cost per unit of capacity tends to increase as scale increases; rather than getting a volume discount, you actually pay more. But object storage systems become less costly with scale because it is a peer-to-peer architecture that remains consistent as you grow.

International Operations

While Cloudian is based in California, Cloudian operates globally and has offices in the following other countries: China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and the UK

Product and Services

  • Cloudian HyperStore allows organizations to consolidate up to exabytes of unstructured data— both objects and files—to a single, limitlessly scalable storage pool. It is available as either standalone software or fully integrated appliances.  
    • HyperStore 1500 Series: 1U-high, with 96-168TB capacity/appliance. Clusters can start with just three appliances, and then grow limitlessly without disruption.
    • HyperStore 4000 Series: 4U-high, with dual controllers, 560-980TB/appliance, and two independent cluster nodes in one device.
  • Cloudian HyperStore Xtreme allows organizations to accommodate capacity-intensive workloads. Built on an ultra-dense Seagate server platform, it provides over 1.5 PB just 4U.
  • Cloudian HyperFile delivers scalable enterprise file services, on-prem at 1/3 the cost of traditional enterprise NAS.

In addition, Cloudian partners with other industry leaders such as Veeam, VMware, Splunk, Pure Storage, Rubrik, Commvault and Veritas to provide data protection and management solutions, including a new ransomware protection from Veeam and Cloudian.

Insight and Analysis 

Representative sampling from a professional posting on Gartner Peer Insights (2019):

What do you like most about the product or service? “The solution has been deployed as software on HPE Apollo servers to reference architecture. Implementation and the subsequent migration of 1.6PB of data from Fibre Channel storage has been completed in less time than expected. The use of native S3 means that Cloudian has no issues and that integration is essentially transparent. Support has been very good in resolving a few small issues and performance enhancements.”

What do you dislike most about the product or service? "Like all object stores, the solution requires a load balancer for the client S3 connections. A solution recommended by Cloudian was implemented however it would be great if this could be built in. There is no granular delegation of Administrative privileges in the CMC. I believe that this is on the roadmap for a future release."

If you could start over, what would your organization do differently? “Use physical load balancers instead of virtual. Although the throughput is the same the additional complications of adding 40Gb networking to the virtual infrastructure for a solution that is only going to be used by Cloudian is not worth the work.”

What one piece of advice would you give other prospective customers? “Make use of the OVF downloads to familiarise yourself with the product. This gives a real insight into the capabilities and can be implemented very quickly with nothing more than the quick start guide. This is one of the features that makes Cloudian stand out from the competitors who would only provide evaluation, if it was implemented by them. Cloudian allowed this to be led by the in-house technical team with support from Technical Presales (not that we needed any).”

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Representative sampling from a professional on G2 peer reviews (2020):

What do you like best? “Cloud-based data storage solution for large as well as for small businesses. Affordable and reliable. With replication factors, it replicates data protection. Its secure user data with its data spill feature. It encrypts actual data, its encryption includes customers to provide encryption, the server provides encryption. It is a highly manageable storage solution with seamless data management. It protects data both in private and in hybrid clouds.”

What do you dislike? “The interface is poor and quite complicated for the new users. It stores files efficiently but we cannot able to lock them for privacy. Sharing files always need the permission of owners. Synchronization with other software is very complex. Auto-saving is very quick but always it needs internet access with good speed as well. Limited plugins cause a connection problem with data stored in our PC.”

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized? “Cloudian provides abundant storage space for many files and data. Free of cost and upgraded at very low economical prices. It optimizes workflow and automatically saves files. We can also gain access to our computer hardware due to a great storage server. MS Office integration is very good and we can edit our data anytime and save it automatically.” 

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List of current customers

Data center managers, broadcasters, researchers, and software developers need solutions to help them contend with the explosive growth in unstructured data. Across all industries--from media, to medical, to industrial--new applications, formats and technologies are driving this rapid increase of data, creating issues around storage costs and complexity.  Current Cloudian customers include a top U.S. broadcast network, three national health agencies, a major car manufacturer, one of the world's largest online payment processors and a leading global fashion label, as well as the following:

Delivery: Software, on-premises hardware, pre-configured appliances

Pricing

Offered as appliances, or as software with either perpetual or term licenses. For pricing details, contact Cloudian at [email protected].

Other key players in this market: Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM, Scality, Caringo

Contact information for potential customers:

Cloudian HQ
177 Bovet Road, Suite 450
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone: +1.650.227.2380
Email: [email protected]

Fax: +1.650.227.0299

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...