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Taneja Blog

IBM Takes the Cloud by Storm, Chooses Nirvanix as their Strategic Partner


This week Nirvanix announced that IBM Global Services will be launching its own public cloud storage service based on Nirvanix's Cloud Storage Network (CSN) technology. This is a major coup for Nirvanix, to say the least. IGS plans to make the cloud available to the public for placement and access to archival and backup data and for content collaboration. Targeted industries are healthcare, media and entertainment and financial services. IBM also plans on integrating this cloud storage service with its proprietary compute cloud at the software layer; both offerings will be sold by IBM under the SmartCloud banner.

This relationship positions Nirvanix not only as a purveyor of an established enterprise-caliber public cloud (CSN) but as a supplier of private cloud storage for other vendors. In the span of only 48 hours, Nirvanix announced that it was building a private cloud for Cerner Healthcare—who is reselling that as a public cloud to more than 2,500 healthcare organizations—and that it is also building a private cloud for IBM—who, again, will offer that as its public storage cloud for its enterprise customers.  These companies are essentially white labeling Nirvanix private cloud storage nodes and deploying them as their own public cloud services, a trend which we expect to continue across multiple industry verticals. This is very different from other vendors in the cloud space as Nirvanix is managing these private clouds as a service for these vendors—not just giving them raw iron and software discs and telling to manage them on their own accord.

To understand the fuller picture of the cloud landscape today we need to look at what is happening amongst the big storage players.

Each major storage company has some form of plan for ushering its enterprise customers into the cloud era. For private compute clouds where latency-sensitive, mission critical applications will run, each is extending its current product portfolio, embellishing it with namespace capabilities (VPLEX from EMC, for instance), partnering with a server virtualization vendor (VMware, mostly) and a networking vendor, such as Cisco, to complete the picture. Each is trying to figure out what to do with the Pay As You Go (PAYG) software, as this would be a key functionality required over time, particularly as customers want to move to a IT acquisition model based on consumption economics to shift to OpEx from CapEx. I see such private compute clouds to be the next generation of these IT vendors' products. They are evolutionary in that regard. Same hardware, same software, but implemented in a way that is more flexible, manageable and cost effective (better utilization).

The more revolutionary part is what is happening on the object storage side.

EMC (ATMOS), NetApp (StorageGRID) and Dell (DX) have an object-based software product that allows the development of private or public clouds, mostly for archival-type data. All three vendors are selling this software to service providers and enterprises alike. EMC earlier created its own cloud, based on ATMOS, and presented it as a public cloud in the form of ATMOS Online. It quickly withdrew its offering, however, based on cries of "foul" from its service provider partners, who were developing their own public cloud, based on the same ATMOS software. EMC also likely withdrew the offering due to fears of margin impact from a storage as a service model. NetApp and Dell have not fully played their cards yet. A dark horse in this category is Data Direct Networks (DDN) with its WOS (Web Object Scalar) that has also not played its card completely yet.

But Nirvanix is the King of this space. Its Cloud Storage Network (CSN) is a public cloud, based on its own proprietary software IP, designed to deliver an enterprise-caliber cloud for storing massive quantities of unstructured data, on a global basis. It comes complete with support for unlimited file sizes and what it’s CTO refers to as “the only consistent storage on the Internet,” meaning when a file is upload to the Nirvanix cloud and changes are made those changes are immediately reflected and available across its whole cloud—not eventually or tomorrow, but immediately.  This is a very unique capability. Nirvanix has been selectively selling their cloud services so that enterprises could create their own private or hybrid clouds or service providers could create public clouds to deliver specialized services. IGS just became the latest and the game-changing partner for them. This makes Nirvanix's lead in the market even bigger than before. I would estimate it puts them 18+ months ahead of their competition.

And where is Amazon Web Services' S3 offering in all this, you ask? Well, at least for now, that is more of a consumer-level cloud offering, designed for developers and consumers, when availability and global access are less of a requirement. If Nirvanix maintains its current lead it certainly has the potential to become the de facto standard for enterprise class cloud for long term archival, backup and collaboration of enterprise data. The next 18 months will be very telling as all these products mature and all the majors play their hands.

  • Premiered: 10/18/11
  • Author: Arun Taneja
Topic(s): IBM Nirvanix EMC NetApp HP DDN StorageGRID Atmos WOS


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