Cloud

Q&A with Cloud Storage Provider Nasuni

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Editor’s note: Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni, says the discussion around concerns in migrating to the cloud has changed from security to price. In this article he discusses trends in cloud storage services and growth of hybrid cloud usage. 

What comments has your company heard from existing and potential clients about their business problems over the past year, which are driving them to consider Nasuni’s solution? 

Andres Rodriguez: For organizations with lots of locations spread across the globe, managing storage (especially backup) is a nightmare. To give employees shared access to the global fileshare, some organizations attempt to use VPNs; but as anyone who has worked on a VPN can tell you, performance is atrocious. Others try a combination of replication and WAN acceleration. But these systems are very complex, extremely costly (in no small part because if you’ve got a three Tb fileshare, you need three Tb of storage at each location) and scalable to no more than a half dozen locations. 

Backup and data protection is even worse. Centralized backup systems are off-the-charts expensive and require an enormous amount of storage. Most organizations rely on on-site personnel in remote offices, many of which aren’t IT specialists, to conduct backups. If stored locally, there’s no recourse in case of a disaster, and if shipped to HQ, recovering data could take days, even weeks. 

Simply put, providing storage to remote locations is a mess. 

What is your product/solution’s differentiation? How is your company uniquely capable of addressing the business problems you described? 

Andres Rodriguez: There are several vendors that provide cloud storage gateways, which enable organizations to store data in the cloud while keeping a copy of the latest version of the most frequently used files locally cached. However, Nasuni goes much further by using these cloud gateways, its own proprietary technology and cloud storage to create a complete storage service that provides primary storage, access from handheld devices, file synchronization, backup and disaster recovery to all of an organization’s locations around the world. 

Nasuni controls the full end-to-end solution, so the customer only has to deal with Nasuni for centralized management, backup and disaster recovery plus cloud mirroring for extra protection for outages (which Nasuni has never had). 

In addition, every user has local-like access to the global fileshare and, because the most frequently accessed files are also stored locally, users experience no lag. Nasuni also supports access for Apple and Android mobile devices, with IT retaining complete control over corporate data on those devices. 

What is your company focusing on over the next 12-18 months to address the evolving needs of buyers of cloud solutions? 

Andres Rodriguez: Developing solutions that will not only leverage public cloud storage but also introduce cloud storage controller and management solutions that will run in the cloud, further benefiting from the advantages of cloud compute capabilities. 

Nasuni was a collaborator in the 2013 Future of Cloud survey hosted by North Bridge Venture Partners, 451 Research and GigaOM. What do you think is the most significant finding in the survey that will be a significant trend to monitor in future surveys over the next two to three years? 

Andres Rodriguez: The growth in hybrid cloud, which is what Nasuni provides, matches what we’re seeing in the field. Today, public cloud accounts for 39 percent of cloud usage, while hybrid accounts for 27 percent and private cloud for 34 percent. In five years, hybrid will dominate both, according to the survey, accounting for 43 percent, with public at 32 percent and private at 25 percent. 

Hybrid storage cloud, when done properly, gives IT all the benefits of public cloud — unlimited capacity, unparalleled redundancy, access anywhere — with the fast access and security of a local NAS. We prefer the term cloud-integrated storage. But however you say it, this is the future of storage, especially for organizations with a lot of locations around the world. 

We found it interesting that the survey found security concerns are on the wane, while cost concerns are on the rise. That corresponds to what we’re seeing. A couple of years ago, security was the No. 1 concern from potential customers. Cloud security problems haven’t disappeared, but with more widespread use of encryption and the growth of hybrid cloud services, IT is starting to recognize that this cloud model can address their security concerns.

So the discussion has now turned from security to price. Providing storage and especially data protection for distributed organizations is extremely expensive when using traditional approaches. 

Companies should look for cloud storage providers that improve performance, access, security and data protection while also providing significant savings. One of our customers, JSJ Corporation, a global durable goods manufacturer, expects to save 40 percent on its storage cost while substantially improving service. That’s hard to beat. 

Nasuni was a collaborator in the 2013 Future of Cloud survey hosted by North Bridge Venture Partners, 451 Research and GigaOM. Click here to view the results of the survey.  

Andres Rodriguez is CEO of Nasuni. His previous company, Archivas, developed an enterprise-class cloud storage system and was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in 2006. Following the acquisition, Andres became Hitachi’s CTO of File Services, supporting the worldwide rollout of the Archivas-based Hitachi Content Archive Platform (HCAP). Before founding Archivas, Andres was CTO of the New York Times, which he joined through its 1999 acquisition of Abuzz, a pioneering social networking company that he co-founded.

Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor of SandHill.com.

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