Storage Cloud Emits More Services

Hosting specialist Mosso takes aim at Amazon's S3 with rival storage service

May 6, 2008

3 Min Read
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Still in its relative infancy, the so-called storage cloud is producing more and more services in response to demand for Web-based hosted storage.

In the latest example, Mosso, a subsidiary of hosting specialist Rackspace, today unveiled its "CloudFS" service, which it says will compete with Amazons S3 offering.

Up until now, Mosso focused its cloud efforts mostly on hosted servers. Now, the vendor offers CloudFS as a way for users to store and access data via the Internet.

“It’s Internet-scale, file-based storage,” says John Engates, the RackSpace CTO, explaining that the service is aimed at photo and video applications, as well as users looking to perform more traditional data backups.

CloudFS is currently offered as a free beta for users that want to test the service, although Engates says that a paid-for production version will be generally available in the third quarter. This will be priced at a similar level to S3, but with one key difference, according to the exec.Like S3, Mosso is likely to charge around 15 cents per Gbyte per month for storage, although Engates says that his firm will ditch charges for transferring data in and out of the system, which in Amazon’s case, start at 10 cents per Gbyte.

“With Cloud FS, we have tried to bring the cost of storage down, particularly for applications that require a high volume of storage,” says Engate.

The catch is that the transfer fee will only be waived for firms that are already using Mosso’s hosted server offering. For firms that are not already Mosso customers, Engates confirmed that there will be a fee similar to the one charged by Amazon.

At least one user told Byte and Switch that he is considering CloudFS as a potential replacement for S3.

”We have already signed up for the beta,” says Randall Minter, CTO of Web 2.0 services company Qrimp, which has used Amazon’s S3 for storage up to now, and Mosso for hosted servers. “It makes a lot of sense for us, because the servers [and storage] will all be on the same network -- it’s appealing to me because I won’t incur these data transfer charges.”Mosso is nonetheless playing catch-up to Amazon, which recently described the growing demand for S3, with Nasdaq, the New York Times, and Red Hat all using the service.

The Rackspace CTO acknowledged that Amazon has made an impact by gaining first mover advantage. “Amazon has done a good job of proving that there is a niche for this. They have opened up a whole new area of business for us.”

Other vendors include Nirvanix, EMC and Sun, which today announced a version of its OpenSolaris for Amazon’s Web services platform. These suppliers also are cranking up their efforts around cloud servers and storage, although most strategies are still in their infancy.

Last week, for example, IBM and Google discussed their plans to work together on cloud technologies, which the two vendors have been testing at a number of universities, including MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon. The two companies are reportedly using Linux, Xen virtualization, and Apache Hadoop, an open source version of the Google File System to develop cloud technologies, though they're not revealing details.

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  • Amazon Web Services LLC

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Nasdaq

  • Nirvanix Inc.

  • Rackspace Managed Hosting

  • Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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