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Dynamo-spawn Riak spreads to other clouds

Amazon cloud casts long shadow

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Wannabe cloud provider Tier 3 has created an object storage service based on the Riak distributed datastore.

The adoption of Riak was announced by Tier 3 on Wednesday and provides further proof of the huge influence Amazon Web Services wields over the cloud ecosystem.

Tier 3 said it has used Riak CS Enterprise – Basho's proprietary implementation of its open source Riak CS – to give its cloud object storage capabilities. The service supports direct uploads of as large as 5GB, with multipart upload required thereafter.

Riak is an open source implementation of Dynamo, the fault-tolerant data storage system developed by Amazon in the mid-2000s to support its cloud. Developers can consume Dynamo by paying Amazon for the SSD-backed DynamoDB database, but if they are not an Amazon customer, then Riak is the closest system out there.

RiakCS comes with inbuilt high availability via native data center replication. Tier 3 will make its object storage service available immediately from two Canadian data centers, and rollout to the US is expected in the next quarter, then the UK and Europe after that.

In the same way that Google's publication of the MapReduce and GFS papers created the Hadoop ecosystem, Amazon's Dynamo paper (published in 2008) has spawned a similar cottage industry of cloud providers and customers fiddling with Riak.

Though the cloud computing market is defined by the big four major providers – Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, Rackspace – there exists a large market of second-tier providers that are all competing with eachother on both price and technical capability.

Tier 3's adoption of Riak follows similar moves by both SoftLayer and Joyent to support aspects of the technology, whether as the basis of services or as a hosted solution to be consumed by customers. Dell's recently acquired cloud management tech Enstratius uses the tech as well, having switched to Riak from MySQL in 2012 so as to provide cross-data center redundancy.

Tier 3's cloud supports the Amazon S3 storage API, so though users will be interacting with a different cloud running on different technology, they can still manipulate data as they would in Amazon.

The adoption of RiakCS by Tier 3 amps up competition between the Riak technology and OpenStack's "Swift" object storage technology. It's likely that the cloud ecosystem will standardize around a single open source object storage layer, so further adoption of Riak proves that though OpenStack has some devotees, it is by no means the only cloud tech around. ®

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