The uplink to the cloud uses WAN optimisation technology to reduce bandwidth needs and shorten transmission time. When a restore is needed the meta data comes down first - very quickly according to Christner - and applications can start accessing data immediately, with the actual data being fetched as needed.
StorSimple supports Amazon's S3 cloud storage and Microsoft's Azure. Microsoft is so smitten with the company that it gained an award as 2011 partner of the year and is in the special BizSpark One program. StorSimple also supports AT&T Synaptic and EMC Atmos cloud systems. It says it also supports local cloud storage services in various countries around the globe if their service levels are high enough.
Protection is by snapshot and data in the cloud can be protected in the same cloud geography using cloud snapshot, and sent to a different cloud geography, for cloud DR, using cloud clones. How is that done? Christner said: "We use Amazon S3 buckets for example, and can specify the region the buckets are stored in."
A cloud snap or clone can be mounted from anywhere in the world and that supports application mobility. StorSimple thinks putting data in the cloud is a precursor to putting applications in the cloud.
The company is not a cloud service provider, or even a virtual one, and the customer has to arrange and manage contracts with cloud storage providers.
The next release of the appliance technology will be focussed on enterprise scalability with the one after that focussed on portability. We might imagine that, should 3-bit multi-level cell (MLC) flash become both affordable and reliable than a future appliance could replace the SAS disk with MLC flash and become a lot more powerful.
StorSimple says its appliance is simple to install and operate, and customers receive it via Fedex. They get a single page of installation instructions and can have the appliance up and running in a claimed 7 minutes.
The company recently gained additional funding and is going to use that to expand its sales and marketing capabilities. If it carries on gaining traction with customers then mainstream disk-based storage array vendors have a problem; essentially StorSimple kills their array business. How will they respond to that?
You can download 6MB of StorSimple presentation here (pdf). The 5010 and 7010 cost $30,000 and $50,000 respectively, and there are fees to pay once data stored up in the cloud passes certain levels. ®
Great article, Chris
Great article, and it was a pleasure meeting you this week. I wanted to add a couple of small points of clarification for your readers:
- The StorSimple appliance models 5010 and 7010 consume 2U of rack space (the article mentions 3U)
- In terms of capacity, the numbers you mention (100TB for the 5010, 200TB for the 7010) are the maximum capacity of each. Initial capacity is 20TB and 40TB respectively. The additional fees you mention are related to licenses to increase the maximum capacity of the appliance to address more data stored in the cloud
- In addition to Microsoft Azure and Amazon S3, StorSimple also supports clouds built on EMC Atmos (private clouds, and public clouds such as AT&T Synaptic). We have additional partnerships coming (which will be disclosed in the near future)
- In terms of disaster recovery (and other applications), either Cloud Snaps or Cloud Clones can be used. The advantage of a Cloud Snap is speed (backups use the same cloud provider as your volume data) whereas a Cloud Cloud is availability (backups can use the same provider and any region supported by that provider, or, a different provider altogether for support for cloud-wide disasters or outages)
Thanks, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!
Chief Scientist, StorSimple