Zadara enterprise bolt-ons show the limits of cloud storage

Here at Powering the Cloud (formerly Storage Networking World Europe) in Frankfurt, many of the vendors and products actually highlight the current limits of the cloud.

One such example is Zadara, a company that’s making a successful fist of exploiting the shortcomings of the cloud for enterprise customers.

It provides what it calls enterprise-storage-as-a-service. In other words it provides all we’d expect of the cloud – hourly billing, elasticity, zero downtime and no need for the customer to deal with the dark underbelly of storage infrastructure.

It does this with its own hardware – supplied on-premises, to colo facilities or linked to existing cloud facilities – that is built from commodity servers and its own fully cloud-featured storage software and with it offers services that the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure can’t provide.

Cloud storage services from the big beasts are full of shortcomings for an enterprise customer, with volumes limited in number and size, likewise with clusters, a lack of snapshots, replication and thin provisioning and encryption keys in the hands of the cloud provider. And all this comes on top of potential issues with bandwidth and latency.

Zadara aims at filling these gaps, as a bolt-on service that provides so-called Virtual Private Storage Arrays with guaranteed RAM, CPU, drive and networking levels of service plus encryption that’s totally in the hands of the customer.

Amazon and Microsoft refer their “more choosy” customers to Zadara because they know their own shortcomings for enterprise users, says Zadara VP for business development, Noam Shendar.

“The big cloud providers are built for millions of customers, and aim for the lowest common denominator,” says Shendar. “We’re built to provide enterprise service for the select few.”

That appears to be true, but while such a situation remains it shows that the cloud is far from go-to option for enterprise users and while it is so companies like Zadara will fill the gaps.