IBM Acquisition Of Cleversafe Validates Hybrid Cloud Answer To Storage Conundrum

Posted by Philip Bindley

number of significant UK businesses have invested in Cleversafe’s object storage technology. Now, following news that IBM has completed its acquisition of Cleversafe for an undisclosed sum, we anticipate a considerable upswing in demand for object storage as the best medium for solving the current storage capacity conundrum.

The manageability and usability of data has become increasingly difficult as businesses struggle to squeeze rapidly expanding data volumes into existing storage solutions. Conventional block-based storage is dependent on a centralised server, which can seriously restrict read/write capacity and limits the ability to search and gain insight of the overall data as searches are tied to hierarchical file structures within individual blocks.

Object storage allows data to be managed as objects in a single storage pool where every object exists at the same level. Since it’s not dependent on a centralised server, it’s ideal for Cloud and distributed computing systems. Cleversafe builds on these advantages with patented technology able to ‘slice and dice’ data and run it concurrently in multiple data centre locations to provide up to ‘ten nines’ of availability – not to mention unprecedented flexibility, infinite capacity and near limitless scalability.

Breaking down barriers to entry

Up until recently, Cleversafe’s innovative solution to the vast volumes of unstructured data littered across primary storage systems has been the preserve of large organisations with big storage requirements (+400TBs) and big budgets to match.

Having spotted the strategic opportunity early, The Bunker undertook months of due diligence, testing and evaluation to launch a ‘Secure Cloud Storage’ solution combining Cleversafe’s technology with our highly secure and high availability data centres to create a Cloud Storage platform that’s unique in the UK market. We’ve been successfully selling it direct and via the channel to mid-sized firms for more than 6 months.

The beauty of our solution is that it removes the 400TB barrier to entry by making object storage available in smaller capacities on a pay-as-you-go basis. Small or mid-sized businesses looking to archive data can buy storage capacity in any size (there is no minimum or maximum requirement) and consume it as a service. When compared with acquiring 1TB of tier-one storage from a major vendor, our solution is available at a fraction of the cost (about 10-15%) when manageability, power, and man-hours are factored in.

We’ve also established a full channel programme together with a comprehensive suite of channel support tools. This includes alliances for complementary products such as Cloud Gateways, as well as leading data migration software tools. If one of our reseller partners has an end user that lacks the necessary capability in house to handle a data migration, we can support them directly with the archival, backup and disaster recovery tools they need. This ensures a seamless journey for our resellers’ customers.

Ticking time bomb

Businesses have been sitting on a ticking data storage time bomb for some time. Traditional strategy has seen firms continue to add more trays to their tiered SAN arrays. But the fact is this approach is not sustainable. They’re seeing exponential growth in file content and increasing data volumes from mobile applications, which means they cannot keep buying disc at the rate at which it’s being consumed.

Although the Public Cloud has long been acknowledged as the most scalable and cost-effective answer for tackling storage needs, fundamental flaws in terms of limited security and lack of the controls necessary for compliance and assurance mean businesses are reticent to entrust sensitive data to Cloud-based services.

Firms operating in sectors such as financial services, pharma and research in particular must comply with industry regulation concerning the archiving and protection of sensitive data. There’s also the incoming EU Data Privacy Act, which is very clear on where the responsibility lies for any EU based business in terms of protecting the personal data of EU citizens.

Meanwhile, the recent European Court of Justice’s ruling that the US-EU safe harbor agreement is invalid poses an interesting question that many organisations will now have to ask themselves in terms of how they prevent data they hold on behalf of their customers and employees from traversing international borders. As we argued recently, the simple answer is to adopt a strategy to ‘keep it local’ and opt for providers that can 100% guarantee the sovereignty of the data they store on your behalf.

Migrating to Hybrid

The challenge now is to store data where it’s most appropriate from a cost, security and sovereignty perspective. A consolidated, hybrid storage solution that combines on-premise SAN with a single pool of highly secure, Cloud-based backup and archive data housed in UK data centres and allows IT staff to quickly and effectively access, retrieve and restore data will be essential. It also eliminates the risk of corruption of the data and disks, or obsolescence of tape storage media.

It’s also worth considering a future where business insight and intelligence is key. In a world where companies depend on data analysis to make informed business decisions, storage solutions that don’t support metadata – such as block-based storage – will restrict business efficiency and agility.

Object storage allows extended metadata to be attached to each object, enabling search queries to interrogate all available data, not just a fraction of what is available. Most importantly, as businesses change and grow, storage technologies have to adapt to keep pace, scaling up and down on demand. Rather than get locked into a vendor or a costly service, a consumption model allows businesses to only pay for the data storage they use.

Businesses with a pressing storage requirement should look no further than a partner such as The Bunker. We are the only managed service provider (MSP) in the UK to offer Cloud storage with Cleversafe technology under the hood. It’s tested, it’s validated, and it’s proven. Best of all it’s available now and serving numerous customers. Likewise, resellers looking to build a strong base of reference sites with an MSP that offers much more than a run-of-the-mill colocation facility should get in touch with us today on 01304 814800.