Panzura is a company that’s been around for eight years but two months ago brought in the first new CEO after founder Randy Chou left the business.
The new head honcho is Patrick Harr, an executive who formerly worked at VMware, Hewlett Packard Enterprise on its Helion Cloud Platform and Nirvanix – the now defunct public cloud storage company. He’s been brought in to scale the company’s growth, he says. And he’s got a clear plan of how to do it: He wants to bring enterprises to the cloud.
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Panzura offers what Harr calls Cloud Integrated Storage. It’s a software platform that combines cloud-based storage with on-premises appliances that intelligently place most of a company’s data that is unused in the cloud, and keeps “hot” data that needs to be accessed frequently on premises. Doing so allows organizations to cut down on their on-premises storage footprint – or re-use their existing storage for other purposes – and offload storage capacity to the cloud.
“It’s a cloud or die world,” says Harr, who’s been on the job as CEO of Panzura for two months now. Businesses have an imperative to at the very least explore the economic and cultural advantages of using public cloud storage. But to use the cloud, Harr says enterprises need “on-ramps” and “two-way bridges” to get data to and from the cloud. That’s Panzura.
Panzura’s platform creates a global file system. It’s made up of a combination of an appliance that sits at customer sites, which is either a hardware device or it can run as software on any virtual machine. Customers deploy another appliance in a public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute, IBM SoftLayer or an EMC-based one. Panzura’s system will automatically analyze the data on premises, cache it, encrypt it and perform deduplication on it, then send most of it to the cloud. Panzura’s system intelligently determines which data needs to be stored where. Offloading data to the cloud frees up storage on-premises for customers, creating a four to five times savings, Harr says.
Panzura’s system allows customers to have one master copy of data that employees from multiple sites can be working on. That makes it an ideal platform for a devops environment supporting software builds, Harr says. It also can be used for collaboration.
There are a variety of other vendors with similar offerings. Nasuni and CTERA are two of the biggest competitors in the cloud gateway market. Panzura says it appeals to large enterprises thanks to its real-time file sharing support compared to competitors. Big storage vendors like EMC and NetApp have appliances for offloading data to the cloud. Even Amazon Web Services has a storage gateway that will send data to AWS. Panzura says it’s system goes beyond a gateway and is really a multi-site, cloud-integrated storage platform.
Barry Phillips, chief marketing officer for Panzura, says he believes the biggest competition for the company is not from other cloud gateway products, but instead it’s a perception and education issue. “The biggest problem is that folks don’t yet know that you can use the cloud for a lot more than just simple backup,” he says.
Panzura is now armed with a new CEO who hopes to expand Panzura’s offerings in the enterprise market and with channel partners and to get that message out.