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Chander Kant is Founder and CEO of Zmanda, a provider of Open Source backup solutions that exploit the capabilities of Cloud storage services (such as Amazon’s S3) to supplement the traditional on-premise backup practices of their business customers. I spoke with Chander recently to learn more about the company, and to understand the particular issues associated with moving backup data to the Cloud. Production of this podcast was supported by Talis, and show notes are available on their Nodalities blog. In addition to leveraging Cloud storage as part of a rounded backup strategy for on-premise data, we also discussed Zmanda’s approach to providing useful backups of data already stored in the Cloud. Related articles by Zemanta Is Your Future in ‘The Cloud’? (usnews.com) Amazon’s Cloud Grows in Europe (businessweek.com) ... (more)

Price Performance in the Cloud: The Planet Cloud Storage Performance White Paper Whets the Appetite, but Fails to Satisfy

Recently, The Planet published a white paper comparing Cloud Storage performance as offered by The Planet (which uses Nirvanix), Amazon S3 and Rackspace CloudFiles.  It did a nice job of creating a performance-oriented benchmark, comparing Cloud Storage file upload and download time for the three services.  While it is necessary to understand this factor associated with Cloud Storage, it is far from sufficient and much more is needed, if one wants to begin assembling metrics and from these make business and technology decisions. Read the rest of the blog post here. ... (more)

Can You Leverage Cloud Services For Disaster Recovery?

IT is great at some things, but out of its league in many cases. Business continuity planning is an example of the latter: No matter how well we set up our applications and systems, the human element is always a roadblock. Sure, we can build a complex system to return our CRM system to operation in Duluth, but will anyone be able to use it? Even the best disaster recovery (DR) infrastructure is useless without a business continuity (BC) strategy for everything else. All IT can offer is to do its best to hold up its side of the deal. IT can design systems with return-to-operations in mind, replicating data and documenting configurations. IT can deploy remote systems and keep them warm and ready should we need them. And IT can create operational plans to rapidly get everything working when disaster strikes. Although technology alone cannot solve the BC/DR conundrum, n... (more)

ParaScale Forecasts Cloud Storage Opportunities

Cloud applications, computing, and storage are just emerging on the scene, yet there is a rapid heightening of interest in all things cloud. Google and Amazon popularized the concept, now businesses of all sizes and types are interested in its potential. With the availability of cloud storage-enabling solutions, many service providers and hosting companies are investigating new cloud storage service offerings. “Tier1 quantifies the cloud service market to be $300M in 2009 and growing at a compound annual growth rate of 100% over the next three years,” said Analyst Antonio Piraino. “I estimate the cloud storage services opportunity to be 40-60% of this market, and consider it the low-hanging fruit amongst cloud services and the quickest for MSPs to deploy.” Sajai Krishnan, CEO of ParaScale, a start-up company developing cloud storage software, believes the impact of... (more)

Cloud Storage Flavors: Platform/Infrastructure and Service/Product

Take a look at the various data storage offerings called "cloud" and your head will start to ache. How can so many things all bear the "cloud storage" name and yet be so totally different? The answer is obvious to long-time industry observers: Each provider has tailored their offering to make it distinct in the market, and each supports different use cases Infrastructure versus Platform Although I am not one to tilt at windmills, especially when it comes to arguing the "rightness" of cloud-based marketing, I sometimes do hit upon a set of terminology that makes sense to me. Wading through the mess of "as-a-service" or "XaaS" names posted by my friend Greg Schulz the other day, it occurred to me that drawing a line between a platform and its underlying infrastructure is quite useful indeed. As Jeff Darcy points out, one can use this distinction to help make sense of t... (more)

Clouds and Data Loss: Time for CDP (Commonsense Data Protection)?

Cloud Computing Journal SNIA released a press release pertaining to cloud storage timed to coincide with SNW where we can only presume vendors are talking about their cloud storage stories. Yet chatter on the coconut wire along with various news (here and here and here) and social media sites is how could cloud storage and information service provider T-Mobile/Microsoft/Side-Kick loose customers data? Data loss is a dangerous phrase, after all, your data may still be intact somewhere, however if you cannot get to it when needed, that may seem like data loss to you. There are many types of data loss including loss of accessibility or availability along with flat out loss. Let me clarify, loss of data availability or accessibility means that somewhere, your data is still intact, perhaps off-line on a removable disk, optical, tape or at another site on-line, near-li... (more)

Moving to the Cloud: What's Really Required

When we started talking with a wide range of IT managers and companies in early 2008, we quickly encountered a fascinating dichotomy – Cloud Computing is really easy / Cloud Computing is really hard.  What made this so interesting is that the casual users were saying cloud computing was easy and the hard-core users were claiming that it was hard.  Amazon and a number of other cloud providers have made major advancements since this time, but the “it’s easy / it’s hard” split still exists. Today, if you want to use the cloud and deploy a server, it is really quite easy to “build” a server from the base templates offered by the cloud providers.  There are consoles available to launch servers including providers' control panels (Amazon, RackSpace, Terramark), plug-ins for Firefox (ElasticFox), and third party products like RightScale.  Start from a predefined image, ad... (more)

Windows Azure Blob Storage vs. Amazon S3

Amazon Session at Cloud Expo This week, Gladinet Cloud Desktop reached version 1.4.2 (build 232). Windows Azure Blob Storage has been officially added to the list of supported Cloud Storage Providers (S3, AT&T, Google,e tc.) This means you can map a network drive to the Windows Azure Blob Storage and start using it from Windows Explorer (See this link for detailed How-To information). As always, every time we add a new storage provider integration, we would compare it to the existing ones, such as Amazon S3. Since Gladinet Cloud Desktop can map both as virtual folders in a network drive, a quick drag-and-drop upload/download experiment should be easy. Sometime ago, I did a simple comparison between EMC Atmos onLine and Amazon S3. I also did a simple comparison between AT&T Synaptic Storage and Amazon S3. The performance data are pretty much in line with one and othe... (more)

Zebras, Giraffes, and Horses

My youngest daughter used to have trouble with her animals. Whenever she saw a giraffe, she would say "zebra" and whenever she saw a zebra she would say "giraffe!" Although an adult would never make that mistake, one can understand why a child would: She was new to these names, and they were entirely arbitrary words. Besides, both are quadrupeds with bizarre coloration and patterns. But my daughter definitely knew a horse when she saw one! Private Clouds and SSPs: Horses and Zebras Today's cloud storage world can be equally confusing to the uninitiated. Long-time IT folks remember the storage service providers (SSPs) of a decade ago and have watched as storage and server virtualization have gained prominence. When cloud storage began to get some press a couple of years ago, it was natural to try to fit it into the existing paradigms and understandable to fail to ... (more)

The Cloud Storage Wars: Windows Azure vs. Google

Azure Sessions at Cloud Expo So much happened in January 2010 for the cloud storage world. First was the Windows Azure Platform went from public preview to full production. Second was Google Docs opened up  for any file type upload/download, effectively making it a GDrive in the cloud. How would these affect you? This article will compare the two cloud storage offerings from price, speed, usability, service level agreement and to developer support. 1. Price Google’s storage cost = 25c / Gigabyte / year = 2c / Gigabyte / month. There is no additional transfer cost. Windows Azure’s storage cost is at 15c / Gigabyte / month. There is additional cost for transfer data in and out. Note: Google storage is clearly cheaper, about 10 times cheaper. 2. Speed We will use Gladinet Cloud Desktop to map both in a virtual drive in Windows Explorer and compare the time it takes to... (more)

CommVault Ships Cloud-Optimized Simpana Software

CommVault is now shipping an integrated cloud storage connector for its Simpana® software, which will enable customers to move on-premises backup and archive data securely, reliably and transparently into, and out of, private and public cloud storage without complex scripting or the addition of costly, disparate cloud gateway appliances. CommVault customers looking to reduce internal IT costs now have unprecedented flexibility to tier infrequently accessed backup and archive data from expensive, on-premises disk and tape storage into lower-cost cloud storage. Only CommVault provides enterprises with a singular platform and unique product architecture to simplify the movement, protection, archiving and eDiscovery of all types of data stored in the cloud, including Oracle and SAP databases, Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint systems as well as virtualized data. With S... (more)