Wasabi serves up some spicy AWS-killer claims

Wasabi says it is disrupting the cloud storage market, claiming its cloud storage is six times faster than Amazon S3 and cheaper than AWS Glacier

What happens when you take a couple of very seasoned co-founders, investment from some high-profile investors, and an uber-dominant existing vendor? Well, in Wasabi’s case, you get some pretty outlandish claims. But before we got on to that, let’s look at the who and what for Wasabi.

Wasabi is a cloud storage company founded by Jeff Flowers and  David Friend. Those names might ring a bell, since they’ve started, built and sold five previous technology companies. Most recently they co-founded backup company Carbonite and previously founded Pilot Software.

These two can’t seem to stop themselves, and for their latest idea, they’ve already raised a ton of cash—$8.5 million to date with key investors, including Bill Sahlman, Harvard Business School marketing prof and angel investor; Desh Deshpande, who donated $100 million to MIT for the Deshpande Center; Ron Skates, former CEO of Data General; Jeff Parker, founder of CCBN; and Howard Cox from Greylock Partners.

Those are some high credibility investors, so what attracted them to Wasabi (other than the founders’ credibility) and what is the plan here? Well, one thing is for sure and that is Wasabi isn’t shy of hyperbole. The first sentence of the pitch that Friend sent staked a serious claim: Wasabi is launching cloud storage that is so fast, so cheap and so reliable that it will mark the beginning of cloud storage as a commodity.

Friend goes on to say that instead of industry behemoths doing their best to lock customers into high-priced proprietary storage, Wasabi’s cloud storage is open, easy to use and 100 percent compatible with the Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) API. Friend promises no vendor lock-in and that Wasabi is six times the speed and one-fifth the price of Amazon S3, and even cheaper than Glacier, Amazon Web Services' cold storage offering.

What more do we know? Wasabi is being pitched as a cloud-based object storage service for a broad range of applications and use cases. Wasabi is designed for enterprises and developers that require fast, durable and secure data storage at minimal cost. The offering claims to be 100 percent bit compatible with Amazon’s S3 API.

Wasabi's Virginia data center is connected to the Amazon core using the AWS Direct Connect service, so AWS-based applications can quickly access data stored in Wasabi’s cloud. Again, not being shy to talk it up, the company says Wasabi cloud storage is both less expensive than Amazon’s cheapest storage (Glacier) yet many times faster than Amazon’s premium S3 storage.

That claim about speed has scant detail, other than this reference:

The “6x faster than Amazon S3” metric was validated using the testing methodologies discussed in Nasuni Corporation’s cloud storage provider performance benchmark report. Using the testing methodologies described in this report, a series of read, write and delete tests were conducted using 1 MB files over 1 thread as well as 10 threads.

The first set of tests were performed against Amazon S3 (as a means of establishing a baseline). The second set of tests were performed against Wasabi. When comparing the two sets of test results, Wasabi consistently showed a minimum of 6x the read, write and delete performance relative to Amazon S3.


The three big public cloud vendors—Amazon, Microsoft and Google—spend billions of dollars on both capital expenditure and R&D. They have some of the world’s best engineers and developers building their products. That fact alone suggests that while incremental improvements might be made by smart people focusing on a particular problem set or use case, massive improvements in one step are unlikely to be made.

While Wasabi certainly has founder credibility, what they’re talking about here is hardcore engineering results. And while that $8.5 million they’ve raised is a lot of money, it certainly doesn’t allow Wasabi to build teams that rival the big three.

So, color me skeptical. I’m pretty sure Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, isn’t shaking in his shoes at the Wasabi launch. But we’ll have to wait and see what eventuates.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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