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Nirvanix: An Appetite for Petabyte-scale Clouds


In the past few months Nirvanix has been delivering one multi-petabyte customer win after another. What started in October with a 5-year, global OEM deal with IBM worth countless Petabytes has continued with a 2+ petabyte private cloud win at Cerner Healthcare, followed by a 8.5 Petabyte private cloud win at USC, with a true hybrid cloud at Hawaiian MSP DRFortress and film studio Relativity Media added to the mix as well. Nirvanix is banging out multi-petabyte deals and making it look like cloud storage has been around for decades, which, of course, it has not.

Following this flurry of customer wins, I had the opportunity to talk to two of Nirvanix’s most recent customers: Sam Gustman, CTO of USC in SoCal, and Fred Rodi, President of DRFortress in Hawaii. While very different, each of these is a showcase of what is happening in the world of cloud storage and how the concept of cloud is changing the way we think of application delivery and data protection. I was mesmerized by the USC story because of its historical significance so I ended up doing some further research into the topic. Let me share some of my findings. My next blog will cover the DRFortress use case.

Sam Gustman is USC’s CTO for the Shoah Foundation Institute and Associate Dean of USC Libraries. He just made the decision to shift the university’s data to the cloud using Nirvanix’s private cloud storage solution. The private cloud scales to an initial 8.5 petabytes, with half situated on USC’s premises and half out of state--but all of it will be managed as a service by Nirvanix.

Shoah Foundation Institute is an organization whose charter  is “to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.” Part of the focus is on the Holocaust and the Genocide of Armenians in 1915. There are approximately 52,000 testimonies from the Holocaust victims and witnesses alone. These have been preserved on video tapes historically and have been subject to media deterioration. USC is digitizing each one of these testimonials and saving them in a variety of formats that would allow their use by the largest number of individuals and universities around the world. The fact that Nirvanix’s cloud storage solution inherently allows a file to be updated in any location and the changes replicated to all other instantiations of that file in the cloud means that all changes made at USC will be immediately reflected across their entire cloud (wherever the files are located).

The objective of an organization like the Shoah Foundation is to educate the largest number of people in the world to ensure that such tragedies will never happen again. Cloud storage, especially one designed for high availability, security and worldwide access, is simply a dream come true for such a program. In one fell swoop, they can spread the message to every part of the world and allow access to the largest number of people. Imagine trying to do this before the development of cloud storage. Not only are these files now preserved for all posterity but they are widely available to the world at large. And look at it from Sam Gustman’s perspective. He pays for what he uses, he develops new services to deliver on top of the access to video files (new formats, for instance) but he does not worry about managing this storage. He is monetizing his private cloud and reselling it as a public cloud known as the USC Digital Repository. And he doesn’t worry about data protection and media obsolescence. All that is Nirvanix’s responsibility. Sam worries about placing the digitized video and image files on the private cloud in LA and he gets fully geo-diverse accessibility and data protection. This use case is an excellent example of what an enterprise caliber cloud is all about.

USC plans to scale out its private cloud in the coming year, to include additional university data and digitized content from customers of the new USC Digital Repository. We wouldn’t be surprised if this was a 40 petabyte private cloud in less than 24 months. USC is leading the rapid movement into cloud—a shift that we believe other universities will follow very shortly.

  • Premiered: 12/15/11
  • Author: Arun Taneja
Topic(s): Cloud Private Cloud Nirvanix Hybrid Cloud


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