There's no magic behind Google's 1¢ pricing: buy in high volumes; use high-capacity disks; automate management; and store objects, not files. Now a company called Cloudian says they can do the same for the enterprise.
Of course they use commodity servers and high (4TB) capacity disks in 24TB and 48TB servers. That's enables low hardware costs.
Cloudian also supports Amazon's S3 interface and offers a single pane of glass to manage all Cloudian hardware. Monitoring, fault detection, alerting, on-the-fly provisioning, billing, QoS and administration are standard.
And, of course, Cloudian stores objects, not files. Think of objects as smart files: the file metadata is stored in the object instead of in a file system, so there is no file system bottleneck. This makes it easy to use objects in a scale-out cluster, which further reduces costs.
Another advantage: data chunks can be farmed out freely, so that if a disk fails, the lost chunks can be recreated from dozens of disks at very high speeds. That's a great way to reduce vulnerability to correlated failures.
Cloudian also support inline compression and configurable erasure cosing. The former reduces storage costs by shrinking objects, while the latter gives granular control of redundancy overhead.
The Storage Bits take
Making enterprise object storage competitive with Google is no small win. Which means IT pros can choose a private cloud - with the added performance and security benefits that entails - for the cost of Amazon or Google.
A couple of caveats though. Cloudian's pricing assumes expected street prices, a not unreasonable 20 percent compression ratio and the use of slower erasure coding instead of costly replication. Nothing unusual, but your mileage may vary.
Cloudian's pricing should also light a fire under server vendors to match them. That will benefit all storage consumers, while also reminding the cloud vendors that competition is coming from all sides.
Comments welcome, as always. How do you handle objects where you work?