Storage-as-a-Service appliances: CTERA and competitors

There are a number of ways companies are beginning to deploy Storage as a Service in the hopes of reducing their costs while still maintaining high levels of both reliability and availability. Many competitors are active in this space. Executives of CTERA stopped by to give me an update.

Rani Osnat, VP of Marketing, and Jeff Denworth, Senior Vice President of Marketing, at CTERA, spent some time with me to provide an update on the company and the state of the storage as a service appliance market.

The competitive environment

CTERA faces competition from many other suppliers, including EMC, Hitachi Data Services, Nasuni, and Twin Strata among others all are offering appliance servers designed to help companies use cloud storage in a number of ways, including as their primary storage, backup for critical files, nearline storage (data is available quick enough to be useful) and archival storage. These competitors offer server appliances designed to attach to the customers' local network and reach out to cloud storage offered by a number of service providers.

Note: I've been advised that both EMC and HDS are CTERA partners. So, a friendly game of coopetition is going on among them.

How CTERA is doing

Osnat and Denworth discussed how CTERA did in 2013. Some interesting tidbits include the following:

  • Worldwide customer based tripled in 2013. More than 21,000 businesses are now powered by CTERA’s Cloud Storage Services Platform.
  • CTERA has deployed more than 30,000 cloud storage gateways in total, meaning they have sold more enterprise cloud storage gateways than all other cloud gateway vendors combined. This validates CTERA stance in the market as a global leader in providing proven storage solutions for remote offices, branch offices and the mobile workforce.

Snapshot analysis

With the proper caching mechanism in place, cloud storage as a service appliances can make it possible for companies to use storage offered by service providers either as a replacement for their current storage system or as an adjunct to their storage system. This means that the companies can reduce their overall costs of storage, power and reduce heat production (which in turn reduces costs for cooling and electricity.) This also means that data-intensive projects can be spun up or down without a long purchasing cycle. It also means that the company's data center may not need to be expanded even though a large amount of new data is being stored.

Most of the products offered today offer the capability of projecting storage objects into the data centers of one or more cloud services provider without requiring that applications be changed.

If the company's data is stored in more than one service provider's data center, the levels of both availability and reliability can be very high.

The key challenge I hear from clients, however, is that they are concerned about data security and performance. Suppliers, such as CTERA, have pretty good answers to these concerns, however.

If finding more space in the data center for storage is a problem for your company or if you are wanting to conduct a pilot project for a big data application, getting in touch with storage appliance servers, such as CTERA, would be a good idea.