Cloudian expands beyond object storage with Cloudian HyperFile integrated NAS Controller

The integration of full-featured file support to the Cloudian object platform opens them to some new markets – and is also opening them to some new types of channel partners.

San Mateo-based object storage vendor Cloudian has announced the availability of their new Cloudian HyperFile, an integrated NAS Controller that delivers SMB/NFS file services from Cloudian’s on-prem HyperStore object storage systems. Their differentiation against integrated systems that have been in the market to dare is that they have the full feature set that NAS users expect.

“This is the first time this kind of integration on an object platform has been done in a true enterprise- friendly way,” said Jon Toor, Cloudian’s CMO. “NetApp or Isilon users are accustomed to a certain set of features and capabilities – like WORM, snapshotting, high availability and global namespace. These features are all table stakes, and they have not been available on integrated object-file solutions in the past.”

The core value proposition over traditional NAS is the extreme scalability that the object platform provides to enterprise NAS.

“It’s all about the scalability, simplicity and the cost,” Toor said. “It’s a third the cost of traditional NAS.” Pricing for complete Cloudian HyperFile solutions, including on-premises disk-based storage, start at less than 1/2 cent per GB/mo.

“Cloudian HyperFile also eliminates the storage silo problem, because the file and object storage is all in one pool, and not in multiple siloes,” Toor added.

The offerings that have been on the market haven’t been up to snuff until now, he said.

“We recognized that this has been a hole in the market, even as the interest in object has been growing significantly over the last couple of years,” he said. “Customers had been asking for the same thing for file, but to do it with enterprise-friendly features  that meet mission-critical needs. HyperFile achieves this by combining the cost-effective object platform with a file services access device that meets those needs.

“People have spent years trying to solve this problem, integrating the underlying object storage platform plus the file access,” Toor continued. “It’s a serious engineering feat.”

Toor acknowledged that the market for this is fairly specific. It won’t be a good fit for all NAS applications. It also won’t be a complete overlap with the object storage market.

“I think it’s a different customer base than the typical object customer, which tends to be a little more on the DIY side,” he said. “HyperFile is targeted at a very broad market. Typical customers will be in areas like media and entertainment, legal, life sciences, engineering and video surveillance. These are customers with lots of files, many of them larger files, and many of them infrequently accessed. These files also tend to consume a lot of space on Tier One NAS.”

While HyperFile has mission-critical capability, Toor said that customers are unlikely to buy it to run their mission-critical applications.

“Things like transaction processing, and database usage will not be great fits,” he said. “We see this competing against NAS vendors, but also against tape, because many of the files that are a good fit for this are now in a tape environment. We can offer costs on par with tape, but with the accessibility of NAS. This is a new storage model for capacity-intensive applications, where customers have problems around scale in   applications involving imaging, large documents, and large research data sets. It’s truly a new paradigm and it’s very channel friendly.”

Cloudian has been developing a relatively select channel model, and introduced a channel program this summer to support those partners, emphasizing the unique availability of their object platform as either a software-defined option or as an appliance. While object storage has been a niche play for the channel, NAS of course is much more mainstream, and Toor said that Cloudian will be supplementing its channel accordingly.

“We are building out our channel for this – absolutely,” he said. “Many of our partners have a file practice, but we will be adding partners in areas like video surveillance, legal and health care, where we have not sold in the past.”