Trends can have very different time arcs. They can happen over a long period, such as when the U.S. pioneers moved west over the span of several generations during the 1800s and 1900s. They also can resemble a song shooting up the iTunes chart (“with a bullet,” as the music industry saying goes).
For example, in the last few months, several IT companies have come out with “private cloud” computing development platforms. It’s like someone shot off a starting gun, with all the competitors taking off down the track at the same time.
Private cloud computing differs from the mainstream, public version in that smaller, cloudlike IT systems within a firewall offer similar services, but to a closed internal network. This network may include corporate or division offices, other companies that are also business partners, raw-material suppliers, resellers, production-chain entities and other organizations intimately connected with a corporate mother ship.
Just this week, CA and Symantec came out with do-it-yourself cloud-building platforms. EMC ballyhooed its home-developed Atmos package on Nov. 10.
3tera and Citrix Systems Sept. 15 announced a partnership to “enable midmarket and low-end enterprise IT shops to build their own enterprise-grade external hosted clouds,” and connect them with other clouds, if they so choose.
Back in June, IT co-location provider Terremark Worldwide debuted its own “enterprise” cloud platform that it offers as an option to its customers.
Dell, while not actually providing the software for cloud building, has been partnering with Rackspace Hosting lately to provide the servers and arrays for many of these new infrastructures. It’s a safe bet that Dell will soon be offering its own cloud software to go with all that hardware it wants to sell.
Hewlett-Packard has been busy trying to become the “one-stop shop” for building data centers in general. The venerable company has been aiming most of its server and storage array production at emerging Web 2.0 companies that provide hosted services. It hasn’t yet marketed a private cloud-building bundle of software, hardware and services yet, however.
Among the rest of the IT big shots, IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft all have cloud-related point products, but not full development platforms. They are sure to jump in the water soon.
For example, IBM currently offers online cloud storage services through its Arsenal division, but it hasn’t yet announced its own cloud-building platform. Both IBM and Sun (Dell, too, for that matter) will sell you servers and arrays for a private cloud in a minute, but they don’t have the specific platform to go with them yet.
Oracle and Microsoft are said to be working on their own tool kits.
New Companies Already in the Race
Naturally, there are some interesting new companies already hard at work in this space.
Nirvanix, in business since 2007, claims with its Nirvanix SDN (Storage Delivery Network) to be the first provider to offer an NAS (network-attached storage) system within a cloud computing structure.
The SDN global cluster of storage nodes is powered by Nirvanix’s home-developed Internet Media File System. The SDN intelligently stores, delivers and processes storage requests in the best network location for retrieval.
The company provides a build-it-yourself option, in addition to a regular hosted service.
Cleversafe’s Dispersed Storage software breaks files up into slices and sends them via the Internet to multiple storage locations on a network. By themselves, the slices are unreadable to hackers or anyone else not authorized to read them. However, the original file can be easily reassembled, even if not all the slices are available due to equipment failure or natural disaster.
ParaScale is still at the beta stage but impressing early customers nonetheless. Its cloud storage software clusters tens to hundreds of servers together to act as one giant file repository with massive capacity and parallel throughput for a variety of applications. Deployments can start at several terabytes and scale up to hundreds of terabytes with the addition of commodity hardware.
ParaScale CEO Sajai Krishnan recently offered eWEEK readers his take on what a company needs to consider when preparing to invest in cloud computing.
Bycast, an OEM provider of storage virtualization software for large-scale digital archives to IBM, among other companies, announced on Nov. 17 the general availability of its own general-purpose archive platform, StorageGrid 8.
StorageGrid 8 provides for building large-scale, long-term digital archives that virtualize information retention and access over a variety of storage devices, ranging from high-performance disks to archival media, distributed over multiple sites.
eWEEK will have more on Bycast in the near future. Go here for more information.