Yesterday, Cirtas came out of stealth mode and into the lime-light with their new Bluejet cloud storage controller hardware system. Cirtas joins a number of other products offering cloud storage to the enterprise by supplying a more standard interface which we have discussed before (see Cloud storage gateways surface).
With Cirtas, the interface to the backend cloud storage is supplied as iSCSI, similar to StorSimple‘s product we reviewed previously (see More cloud storage gateways …). However, StorSimple is focused on Microsoft environments only and select applications, namely Sharepoint, Exchange and Microsoft file services. Cirtas seems aimed at the more general purpose application environment that uses iSCSI storage protocols. The only other iSCSI cloud storage gateway providers appear to be TwinStrata and Panzura but the information on Panzura’s website is sketchy.
In addition, Cirtas, StorSimple (and Panzura) provide hardware appliances whereas most of the other cloud storage gateways (Nasuni, Gladinet, TwinStrata) only come as software packages. Although Gladinet appears to be targeted at the home office environment.
Cirtas’s Bluejet controller includes onboard RAM cache, SSD flash drives and SAS drives (5TB total) that is used to provide higher performing cloud storage access. Bluejet also supports space efficient snapshots, data encryption, thin provisioning, data deduplication, and data compression. The Cirtas team comes out of the WAN optimization space so they have incorporated some of these data saving technologies into their product to reduce bandwidth requirement and cloud storage demand.
Cirtas currently supports Amazon S3 and IronMountain cloud storage but more are on the way. They also recently completed their Series A round of funding which included NEA and Amazon.
Cirtas says they can support local storage performance but have no benchmarks to prove this out. With iSCSI there aren’t many benchmark options but one could use iSCSI to support Microsoft Exchange and submit something on the Exchange Solution Review Program (ESRP) which might show off this capability.
Nonetheless, cloud storage can be considerably cheaper than primary storage ($/GB basis) and no doubt even with the ~$70K Cirtas Bluejet cloud storage controller, Cirtas supports a significant cost advantage. With the appliance purchase, you get a basic storage key which allows you to store up to 20TB of data on (through) the appliance, if you have more data to store, additional storage keys can be purchased separately. This 20TB license does not include the cloud storage costs for storing data on the cloud nor the bandwidth costs to upload and/or access the data on the cloud.
Seems like interest in cloud storage gateways/controllers is heating up, with the addition of Cirtas I count at least 4 that target the enterprise space and when Panzura releases a product that will add another.
Anything I missed?