Putting together a cloud storage strategy and implementing it isn't the easiest for IT managers. Choosing the vendor whose software or hardware will enable the company's data to be put into the cloud and then deciding on a cloud storage provider that will store data presents all sorts of problems - what type of data you want to store in the cloud, how you want to get it there and how much it is going to cost you are just some of the problems you'll encounter.
There are vendors such as Twinstrata and Nasuni, who offer cloud gateway products that let you store both unstructured and structured data in the cloud. There are companies such as AT&T Synaptic SaaS, Rackspace and Amazon S3 that offer bulk storage services where you can store your backup, eDiscovery or archive data. And, there are companies such as EMC and NetApp that let you build private cloud infrastructures in your data centers.
But there are few companies, if any, that offer all three capabilities -- cloud gateway, private cloud enablement and public cloud service provider capabilities -- until Nirvanix.
What I didn't know about Nirvanix would fill volumes of information. I had thought of the company only as a cloud storage provider until I had a recent conversation with Nirvanix President and CEO Scott Genereux and Steve Zivanic, vice president of marketing.
Nirvanix has five products or services that make up its CloudComplete offering:
• Its well-known Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network (SDN), which is the company's public cloud service provider.
• A cloud gateway for storing unstructured backup and archive data called CloudNAS.
• The Nirvanix Web Services API, which allows access to the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network.
• A hybrid cloud product called hNode, which is the company's private and public cloud software.
• Its Nirvanix Management Portal, which allows customers visibility into and management of the usage and status of their account.
The Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network (SDN) is a public cloud infrastructure for unstructured data. Unlike other cloud storage providers, Nirvanix allows customers to choose where their data resides. Data can reside in any one or several of Nirvanix's seven worldwide SAS 70 Type II compliant data centers. These data centers provide multi-tenancy, encryption, as well as a redundant and load balanced infrastructure.
The Nirvanix SDN is policy-based - it auto-detects customer location and routes data to the closest available node. In the event of data center outage, data is rerouted to the next closest node and multi-replica copies are kept to meet customer service-level agreements. All replication of data between Nirvanix data centers is managed by the SDN.
The Nirvanix SDN is based on a pay-per-use model. Storage is available starting at $0.25/GB/month depending on the level of redundancy chosen. For example, a single node SDN implementation would cost $0.25/GB/month and a three-node SDN implementation where data is replicated among three data centers, offering five-nines of availability would cost $0.71/GB/month. Uploads of data cost $0.30/GB and downloads cost $0.15/GB, a price comparable to other cloud storage providers.
CloudNAS software, which is available at no charge to users, allows any Windows or Linux file server or NAS appliance to act as a CIFS/NFS gateway to the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network. The Nirvanix CloudNAS uses the Nirvanix Web Services API to access the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network.
The Nirvanix Web Services API is a standards-based API accessible via SOAP or REST protocols over HTTP or Secure-HTTP.
Nirvanix augments the CloudNAS and SDN with hNode private cloud software. The hNode allows customer-site nodes to be federated into the public SDN. HNodes provide low-cost local storage with the ability to replicate into the cloud based on policy.
Investors believing in Nirvanix's story by providing more than $45 million in venture-backed funding include Intel Capital, Valhalla Partners, Mission Ventures and Windward Ventures.
With more than 700 customers including NBC Universal, Fox Sports, Cisco and NASA and partners such as HP, Dell, Symantec and CommVault, Nirvanix is set to take a major share in the nascent cloud storage industry. Research conducted by Storage Strategies NOW finds that among the cloud storage providers chosen that Nirvanix placed in the top three along side Amazon S3 and AT&T Synaptic SaaS. All in all, Nirvanix offers end-to-end cloud storage capability, satisfying the needs of IT managers everywhere.