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Cloudian’s $94m new funds to target 100PB-scale operations

CEO Michael Tso says funding in engineering efforts aims to make sure Cloudian can meet the challenge of object storage deployments growing to hundreds of petabytes

Object storage specialist Cloudian has announced a gain in funding of $94m, of which up to 40% will go to support and product development.

That is according to CEO Michael Tso, who said key areas of engineering focus would centre on meeting the challenges of moving towards petabyte deployments and analytics.

“This funding is the largest ever for Cloudian, or indeed any company in the object storage space,” said CMO Jon Toor.

“The new investment shows the enthusiasm for object storage to meet capacity-intensive workloads, including cases where customers are moving data back to the datacentre from the cloud.”

According to Tso, the company is set to see growth in the scale of deployments, with 100PB on the horizon.

“A year ago, 1PB was very big, but now we’re in multiple conversations with customers about deployments in the 100PB range,” he said.

“It is exciting and scary and the challenge is to ensure things happen carefully. We’re at the edge of the frontier and we have a good sales model, a good engine in place.”

Tso said “something like 60/40 or 70/30” will be spent on sales and marketing, and engineering and support, respectively.

“Engineering efforts will focus on making the current product work and work well,” he added. “As we go from petabytes to hundreds of petabytes, the unit of how you manage the system changes. At petabyte scale, you can talk about how many servers you want to add. When you’re in the hundreds of petabytes, it’s about racks or datacentres.”

Read more on Cloudian

Dealing with equipment failure would also increase as a challenge as scaling took place, said Tso, and artificial intelligence (AI) would aim to recognise patterns of failure, conclusions to these events and apply that to future situations.

The Cloudian CEO also talked about an increased focus on analytics and how to get more value from stored data, in metadata as well as in, for example, behaviour recognition in video.

Cloudian’s core product is object storage based on the Apache Cassandra open source distributed database. It can come as storage software to be deployed on commodity hardware, in cloud instances or in hardware appliance form. Its Hyperfile file access – which is Posix/Windows-compliant – can also be deployed on-premise and in the cloud to provide file access.

Read more on Software-defined storage

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Well, I think Cloudian's Mike Tso is wise to be cautious when addressing how Cloudian's HyperStore will handle 100PB+ in storage. Cloudian's management tools will need to be improved to effectively deal with much larger cluster sizes than they currently have in the field. That said, this is a good problem to have as Cloudian sees where the object storage market is headed. I would expect that Mike Tso (CEO) and Gary Ogasawara (VP Engineering) are ready to make Cloudian HyperStore smarter and more capable to meet the challenge of 100PB+ deployments.
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