ClearSky Data Puts Primary Storage on Demand Into Cloud

ClearSky's proprietary Smart Tiered Caching secret sauce automatically distributes data across a network of geographically distributed cache layers.

Startup ClearSky Data has an ambitious business model: It's built a new global data storage network and is fashioning it on Akamai Technologies' automated content-management approach.

Akamai is a pioneering network services provider for automating media and software delivery and cloud security solutions, heavily used by advertising networks. ClearSky Data wants to automate on-demand storage access and retrievability in the same manner.

Boston-based ClearSky on Aug. 25 launched its cloud-based network as a fully managed service, which aims to combine the availability of local enterprise storage with the scalability and economics of the cloud.

ClearSky enables workload portability between traditional and cloud environments and kills the expense of storage infrastructure in multiple sites for mirroring and backup purposes. The cloud service also frees storage administrators from tedious infrastructure management duties, so they can spend more time on new initiatives. Users can access unlimited amounts of storage when and where they need it, without the capital costs, delays and complexity it has endured for years.

ClearSky's proprietary Smart Tiered Caching secret sauce automatically distributes data across a network of geographically distributed cache layers. It then uses built-in redundancy to provide high performance based on changing usage requirements and customer policies. Layers include:

--hot data, cached at the edge, next to customer applications;

--warm data, cached in a ClearSky data center point of presence (PoP) within 120 miles of the customer; and

--all data, protected with multiple copies in the ClearSky Backing Cloud.

IT in the data center—not to mention on smartphones, laptops and on wearable devices—is all about speed. Waiting for data to move or be processed slows all processes down. IT managers have been decrying storage management as one of their biggest challenges for years, and this is precisely the problem ClearSky is attacking.

ClearSky automates this with the ability to plug into storage infrastructure as a fully managed service from PoPs in major metro areas. The resulting service-level agreement (SLA)-based service delivers hundreds of thousands of input/output operations per second (IOPs) and less than 2 milliseconds of latency, the company said. This provides the performance of a local storage array with the security, low latency and high availability required for enterprise applications.

"Using ClearSky, our data migration time has shrunk from 48 hours to 15 minutes, and we're saving our customers an average of 60 to 70 percent to deliver our service, as compared to using traditional physical storage arrays," Tim Vogel, chief technology officer of the cloud services provider Xtium, said in a press statement.

For IT managers planning to use the latest VMware software-defined storage solutions, such as VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes, services like ClearSky's offer on-demand access to data with greater efficiency and ease of use. In fact, ClearSky uses Virtual Volumes as a key component.

"Enterprise is ready to break free from managing storage infrastructure and embrace new levels of agility," Ellen Rubin, CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, told eWEEK. "Our global storage network will forever change the way it thinks about storage, so businesses can reduce data center footprints, save money and access their data on-demand for applications running on-premise and in the cloud."

ClearSky Data will premiere the company and exhibit its service in Booth 441 at VMworld 2015 in San Francisco Aug. 30 through Sept. 3.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...