September 21, 2020

VMworld 2020 Digital Q&A: Cloudian Talks Enterprise-grade, S3-compatible Object Storage

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VMworld 2020 goes digital.  Will you be in attendance?  If the event were physical, I would have looked forward to visiting with Cloudian.  So we reached out to them digitally instead.

With the current pandemic, we're seeing a lot of changes taking place in our normal, everyday lives -- both professionally and personally.  One of those changes is the end of physical trade show events as we move to socially distance ourselves from one another.  While some trade shows simply cancelled or postponed until 2021, others have made the switch to a 100% digital format.  VMworld, the world's largest virtualization and cloud computing event hosted every year by VMware, is one of those shows -- enter for the first time ever, VMworld 2020 Digital

While a physical VMworld event would normally have north of 150+ sponsors, a digital VMworld event won't be able to effectively support that number of sponsors. 

Cloudian simplifies enterprise storage with limitlessly scalable, highly cost-effective storage that consolidates massive data sets to a single, easily managed environment.  The company is a widely deployed independent provider of object storage systems, complete with an advanced S3 compatibility and an extensive partnership ecosystem.  Its award-winning flagship solution, HyperStore, brings the scale, flexibility and simplicity of public cloud storage into a customer's data center, simplifying management and reducing costs compared to traditional storage and public cloud offerings.  

So what about you?  Are you gearing up for VMworld 2020 digital?  Get started now by reading this exclusive interview with Sanjay Jagad, Sr. Director of Products and Solutions at Cloudian to learn more and start getting excited for what's to come!

 

VMblog:  Can you start by giving us a quick overview of the company?

Sanjay Jagad:  Cloudian makes S3-compatible object storage systems, both appliances and software. We were the first to offer 100% native S3-compatible, on-prem systems, and now we have the most widely deployed independent solution out there with 500 enterprise customers worldwide. Think of our product as having public cloud storage in your data center. That same level of scalability, durability, and operational simplicity.  It also works side-by-side with the public cloud in hybrid configurations. Best of all, it's very cost effective, saving over 60% on TCO vs. either public cloud or traditional enterprise storage.

VMblog:  We appreciate you joining us today as we celebrate VMworld.  Obviously, this show like all the others this year has gone digital.   What are your thoughts about these digital events versus the traditional physical events we've been used to?

Jagad:  It's been a challenge! We love meeting our customers face to face. But we've found fun ways to interact on Zoom and have found that can work well, too. We've done trivia contests, online beer tasting, even putting competitions ... things we never would have tried before. Luckily our product is easy to demonstrate online. We have lots of graphical tools and a rich UI. So we can show the value in a short Zoom session.

VMblog:  Another change has been a shift to working from home.  What are your thoughts on this, how has it changed things for your company both internally and externally?

Jagad:  This new work-from-home world has made us all very dependent on the IT infrastructure... and very aware of its exposures. For example, we've all seen an increase in phishing emails. These attacks are getting increasingly devious, and can be a precursor to a ransomware attack. Many of our customers are very concerned about ransomware, so we talk with them about data immutability and how we can protect their data with our ObjectLock capability. The good news is that today's ransomware defenses are effective and easy to implement, too. 

Secure tools for collaboration are another concern for our customers. Here we offer secure file synch and share, with built-in intelligence to help detect if sensitive information is being shared.

And finally, our service provider customers are now a bigger than ever with the accelerated transition to cloud services. About 1/3 of our customers are service providers, and they use Cloudian as the foundation for offerings like backup-as-a-service, or storage-as-a-service. They really like that we can help protect their customers from ransomware. 

VMblog:  How does your company partner or work with VMware?

Jagad:  We are a VMware Cloud Provider Partner. Cloud providers can buy Cloudian software from VMware on a consumption model basis. Pay only for what you use. And it's priced in Cloud Provider Points, billed through VMware, so it's very convenient.

We also support VMware Cloud Foundation and the vSAN persistent services platform, providing object storage on vSphere. If you need S3-compatible storage, you can now use your existing vSAN storage capacity. So it's easy to get up and running. This will be great for both enterprise and cloud-native workloads.  

VMblog:  Can you give us the rundown of your company's technology offerings?  What does it do?  And what makes it unique or differentiated in the market?

Jagad:  Cloudian is an enterprise-grade, S3-API compatible, limitlessly scalable and highly cost-effective object storage solution. A few key points about Cloudian are these:

  • Native S3-APIs with guaranteed compatibility
  • Object Lock for ransomware protection
  • Scale-out modular design, so it can start small and grow
  • Self-healing and data durability is built in
  • Richest set of compliance certifications for US and EMEA
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud ready
  • Over 60% TCO savings vs traditional enterprise or public cloud storage

VMblog:  Normally, VMworld is the time of year that people in this industry announce a new product or product update.  Do you have anything new that you've recently announced or plan to announce?  Can you give us the details?

Jagad:  Yes, we recently announced our enterprise-grade, fully native, S3 API-compatible HyperStore object storage software for VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware Tanzu. The resulting solution - enabled through the new VMware vSAN Data Persistence platform - combines the industry-leading VMware HCI platform and HyperStore in a single shared-nothing data platform, allowing IT operators to modernize their storage infrastructure, accelerate innovation and improve time to market with enhanced application portability. With this solution, enterprises can run any application in a single storage environment, at any scale, on-prem and in the cloud with lower TCO.

The solution will help maximize the benefits of modern stateful services on VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu. Key features will include:

  • Enterprise-grade object storage on vSAN Data Persistence Platform: Leverage underlying vSAN storage configurations for Cloudian HyperStore object storage to improve storage efficiency.
  • Automated deployment and scaling through Kubernetes: Easily install, deploy and scale Cloudian HyperStore on VMware vSphere® clusters straight from the VMware vCenter® UI dynamically in a self-service manner through Kubernetes APIs.
  • vSphere-integrated capacity and health monitoring: Seamlessly manage a HyperStore cluster across data centers, edge environments and clouds without leaving vSphere.
  • Service-aware infrastructure operations: Minimize the disruptions and impact of infrastructure operations such as planned maintenance and lifecycle management.
  • CAPEX savings: Leverage Cloudian data policies (replication or erasure coding) with vSAN Direct ConfigurationTM to lower costs and improve storage efficiency.
  • OPEX savings: Consolidate both traditional workloads and modern, cloud-native workloads on the same platform, eliminating infrastructure silos and capitalizing on common skills and training.

VMblog:  Finally, do you think physical trade shows will come back next year?  And if so, do they change?  Will your company be ready to sponsor a physical event next year?

Jagad:  We have begun to see a slow re-opening in some European regions, however, with this has come a resurgence in cases for certain areas which are closing yet again. The reality is that in person shows will eventually come back, but it will take time. Time for the cities and countries to open and time for people to become comfortable again with travel and large communal gatherings. Of course, a vaccine would go a long way to hasten the process and allay any fears, but there is no certainty as to when that will happen. In absence of a vaccine, areas will eventually re-open as the globe comes to terms with living in perpetuity with the ongoing threat of the virus, but this will take longer. We have every hope that shows will open again next year but estimate that most will delay these events until the second half to give them all the best chance of proceeding as scheduled. Regardless, these shows will most likely see fewer attendees and sponsors than in the past and, if a vaccine is not in place, will need to build in distancing and safety precautions into their plan and program. There are still many things that need to be determined, but we are looking forward to getting back on the show floor and sponsoring when things open up and are safe again.

David Marshall

David Marshall has been involved in the technology industry for over 19 years, and he's been working with virtualization software since 1999. He was able to become an industry expert in virtualization by becoming a pioneer in that field - one of the few people in the industry allowed to work with Alpha stage server virtualization software from industry leaders: VMware (ESX Server), Connectix and Microsoft (Virtual Server).

Through the years, he has invented, marketed and helped launch a number of successful virtualization software companies and products. David holds a BS degree in Finance, an Information Technology Certification, and a number of vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTia and others. He's also co-authored two published books: "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and acted as technical editor for two popular Virtualization "For Dummies" books. With his remaining spare time, David founded and operates one of the oldest independent virtualization news blogs, VMblog.com. And co-founded CloudCow.com, a publication dedicated to Cloud Computing. Starting in 2009 and continuing all the way to 2016, David has been honored with the vExpert distinction by VMware for his virtualization evangelism.

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