Mountain View, CA-based Datera emerged from stealth today with the launch of the Datera Elastic Data Fabric platform, a scale-out storage software solution that delivers block storage provisioning and management capability for commodity hardware. Datera Elastic Data Fabric brings the operational agility and economics of public-cloud based block storage solutions such as the Amazon Web Services Elastic Block Storage platform to enterprises and service providers by empowering them to use code to deploy and manage storage solutions. Customers use the Data Elastic Data Fabric to create storage infrastructures for private clouds, or in the case of service providers, large-scale storage infrastructures. As told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Datera CEO Marc Fleischmann, the platform boasts self-optimizing and infrastructure aware functionality that delivers an intelligent data fabric capable of responding to the unique requirements of individual applications as illustrated below:
The graphic illustrates how the convergence of self-optimizing functionality and infrastructure awareness facilitate intelligent automation that allows for the creation of a storage platform capable of responding to dramatic variations in application performance and the attendant volume, velocity and variety of incoming data. Zachary Smith, CEO of Packet, a cloud infrastructure company, elaborated on the uniqueness of Datera as follows:
Datera has enabled Packet to deliver a high performance, consistent and profitable elastic block storage service to our customers. What makes Datera so unique is its software DNA. With Datera, we can use a true API-driven storage platform that can keep pace with our dynamic workload requirements and demanding automation needs. Datera Elastic Data Fabric self-describes and self-optimizes so we can easily and economically scale our storage service.
Here, Smith remarks on Datera’s ability to deliver a software-based, high performance, low latency storage solution that reflexively optimizes itself in ways that can embrace the company’s “dynamic workload requirements and demanding automation needs.” Datera’s ability to bring the economics, agility and operational efficiency of infrastructure as code-based storage to the enterprise means that enterprises now have access to a storage infrastructure that maintains parity with the revolution in contemporary IT specific to the cloud revolution and the DevOps movement. The company’s software transforms commodity hardware into an API-driven, scale-out storage infrastructure for block storage that can be accessed either via an appliance or software-only modality. Today, the company also announced $40M in funding from Khosla Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Andy Bechtolsheim and Pradeep Sindhu. Compatible with OpenStack, CloudStack and VMware vSphere, the platform aims to bring block storage into the cloud era in conjunction with an impressive array of analytic and intelligent automation functionalities.
On March 26, Amazon announced two new storage plans for Amazon Cloud Drive that deliver enhanced options regarding the storage of files in the cloud. Both storage plans give customers the option of unlimited storage and take direct aim at cloud storage competitors such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. The Unlimited Photos Plan from Amazon Web Services allows customers to store an unlimited number of photos for $11.99 per year while the Unlimited Everything Plan allows users to store an unlimited number of files, whether they be photos, videos or other files, for $59.99/year. Both plans feature a free three month trial and disrupt the cloud storage landscape by giving away photo storage for less than $1/month and file storage for less than $5/month. Amazon’s prices beat Dropbox and Google Apps per Google Drive, both of which charge $10/month for 1 TB of storage for a single user.
Meanwhile, Amazon recently broadened its deployment of Amazon Prime Now by rendering its one hour delivery service available in 35 zip codes in the Dallas area. Amazon Prime Now provides one hour delivery for $7.99 or free two hour delivery for subscribers to Amazon Prime, which costs $99/year. With the addition of Dallas to its list of available cities, Amazon Prime Now’s deployment currently spans New York, Baltimore, Miami and Dallas. Taken together, Amazon’s new product offerings for cloud storage and its expansion of Amazon Prime represent aggressive steps to redefine not only the cost, but also the logistics of day to day operations such as file storage and e-commerce. Amazon’s new product offerings aim to lure cloud-averse customers to become more comfortable with its platform as Amazon attempts to choke not only Dropbox and Google Drive, but also the likes of eBay, Walmart.com and Target.com. By rendering its existing products and services more attractive, Amazon is also likely to benefit from spillover revenue as customers surf through and sign up for a broader range of its products and services. But the real benefit, for Amazon, from expanding the overall usage of its platform is the enhancement to the reputation of the Infrastructure as a Service that undergirds its dizzying range of products and services, and the corresponding affirmation the company receives to expand and upgrade its infrastructure fleet toward the end of expanding its business-facing cloud-based products and services.
On Friday, Amazon Web Services announced the release of Amazon Zocalo, an enterprise grade storage and collaboration platform. Zocalo delivers file storage, the ability for users to annotate files and provide feedback for team members in addition to version control and fine-grained access permissions. Users of Zocalo can request feedback from team members and return to the section in the original document to which the feedback refers as illustrated below:
Image source: Look Out Box and Dropbox – Here Comes Amazon’s Zocalo
Collaborators can highlight words or phrases in the original document and receive notifications via email about recently inputted feedback or impending deadlines. Moreover, users have the ability to set up a folder that synchronizes with Zocalo by means of an encrypted connection across all relevant devices. Enterprise customers can use Zocalo as a production-ready collaboration platform that allows employees to dispense with lengthy email collaborations to finalize documents. Moreover, Zocalo features advanced security functionality marked by data encryption, audit logs and integration with Active Directory, all for the low cost of $5 per user for 200 GB of storage per user. The Zocalo platform represents direct competition to file storage and collaboration vendors Box and Dropbox, both of whom target personal users and enterprise customers alike, although Amazon’s pricepoint and breathtaking ability to roll out features renders it an attractive option out of the gate despite being a late arriver to the enterprise file storage landscape. Most importantly, Zocalo constitutes yet another example of Amazon’s investment in courting enterprise customers by delivering a solution that meets enterprise needs for security, simplicity and collaboration-centric functionality.
On Thursday, Google slashed prices on its cloud storage platform by lowering the price of 100GB storage from $4.99/month to $1.99/month, and 1TB from $49.99 to $9.99/month. Meanwhile, the price for 10TB is only $99.99/month. In comparison, Dropbox charges $10/month for 100GB and Microsoft OneDrive charges $50/year, or roughly $4.17/month. Google’s decision to cut Google Drive prices is likely to precipitate Dropbox and competitors to respond with similar cuts to stay competitive. More importantly, however, the price cut sends a subtle signal on Google’s part that it is gearing up to go after business customers both for cloud storage, and for its cloud offerings more generally via its Google Compute Engine platform. By increasing market share in the cloud storage space, Google affirms and underscores the reliability and cost-effectiveness of its cloud-based storage offering, and thereby continues to demonstrate its competency in verticals other than keyword search. Thursday’s aggressive price cut positions Google as a leader in the cloud storage space and stands to continue the transformation of Google’s market perception to a leader in cloud-based infrastructures more generally.