Nirvanix Widens Cloud Storage Target

Services startup attempts to bring cloud storage to the masses with NAS gateway software

June 26, 2008

3 Min Read
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Online storage startup Nirvanix claims to have developed a technology that will turn a standard server into a multi-Pbyte NAS system.

Nirvanix is one of a number of firms touting "cloud storage" services that let users access data via the Internet, although the vendor now claims to have a fresh take on NAS.

We wanted to bring the cloud into your average enterprise environment without changing the way people do things,” says Jonathan Buckley, Nirvanix’s chief marketing officer. ”We have set out to build the first fully integrated, downloadable, NAS gateway [to cloud storage] that can be run on a server.”

The gateway is actually a software agent called CloudNAS which enables an Intel or AMD-based server to connect as a filer to the Nirvanix storage cloud, according to Buckley.

”Before, I would have had to tinker with the Nirvanix APIs [to connect to the storage cloud]” he says. “Unless you were a programmer that developed an application that worked with our stuff, you never would have done it.”Nirvanix has now virtualized its APIs, which are wrapped inside the CloudNAS software agent, according to Buckley.

“An IT manager should be able to install this fairly quickly, in a matter of minutes,” he says, adding that CloudNAS will be available free of charge.

By turning a standard server into a NAS-style filer, Nirvanix is attempting to gain an edge on its main rival Amazon, which uses APIs to connect into its S3 service. The startup is also pushing its wares as an alternative to traditional NAS hardware from the likes of NetApp and HP.

“What we have now is literally an unlimited filer,” Buckley says, explaining that CloudNAS removes much of the hassle associated with storage hardware. “You can have Petabytes and Petabytes, but there’s no more swapping-out disks, there’s no more ‘the server room is too hot,' there’s no more data migration every three years.”

Nirvanix unveiled two versions of CloudNAS today, a Linux-based NFS offering that uses RedHat 5 or SUSE 10, and a CIFS version, which works with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 and XP. The vendor is beta testing the software with a small group of early adopters, although Buckley told Byte and Switch that CloudNAS could be generally available at the start of August.“What we think we will go with is a free to download and use model, but an optional support cost of $200 per month per download,” adds Buckley, explaining that users will also be charged Nirvanix’s existing cloud storage fee of 25 cents per Gbyte per month.

Despite a recent slew of cloud storage announcements from vendors such as Parascale, rPath, and CDNetworks, which cut a storage deal with Nirvanix earlier this week, at least one analyst warns that the technology is no silver bullet.

“As far as full-blown production systems and enterprise applications go, I think that [users] will develop the applications in the cloud and then bring them [back] to run on their own infrastructure,” explained Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau, during an interview earlier this week.

”For enterprises, it’s going to be a phased approach of ‘how do they want to use it?'” he added.

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  • Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Nirvanix Inc.

  • ParaScale Inc.

  • Red Hat Inc.

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