“Nirvanix was about a year ahead of everyone else in terms of what it could offer for enterprise cloud storage services.” Making this claim is Fred Rodi, the CEO of DRFortress, who over the last year had to look ahead to determine which storage provider could best position DRFortress and it customers for the future of cloud storage. So when it came time for DRFortress to make the choice, Nirvanix was the hands down winner.
Over the last few years Rodi has carefully watched the development of the cloud storage market for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, DRFortress now provides cloud services in the form of cloud computing, continuous data access and co-location among other services for its clients.
So Rodi anticipated that cloud storage was going to be a logical extension to DRFortress’ existing services. The key was to deliver it in a way that DRFortress resellers could sell it in such a way that their customers could easily implement it.
This was easier said than done. Other cloud storage offerings from traditional storage providers required that DRFortress:
- Drop their storage boxes in at the DRFortress data center and another location
- Use the same vendor’s storage at each site
- Rent space at someone else’s data center to put this new storage there
- Configure the software necessary to virtualize all of the storage
- Dedicate his staff to managing the storage
- Use multiple portals to manage the storage
- Configure the replication software
- Open new WAN circuits anytime new replication options were configured
- Put a server in the cloud to have access to on-demand storage
- Buy more equipment and rent more space if additional data center locations were needed
Going to emerging cloud storage providers really was not an option either. He considered reselling Amazon cloud storage services but he almost immediately ruled that out. Being located in Hawaii, DRFortress is a long way away from the US mainland where the nearest Amazon data center is located.
Rodi already had nagging, unresolved questions regarding Amazon’s availability, performance and security issues on the storage side. However the unpredictable latency and bandwidth costs associated with putting his customer’s data into the Amazon storage cloud that was located on the US mainland and then pulling it back out in a timely manner made it an unacceptable option for him.
He also looked at leveraging other cloud providers like Rackspace, Terremark and Savvis that claim to have a cloud storage offering. However upon closer inspection he found that they did not offer it in a manner in which his customers wanted to consume it and they were not willing to deploy a cloud storage node in Hawaii and manage it as a service.
For instance, if a customer went to one of them and only needed storage (say 300 TBs) but had no corresponding compute requirement, they did not offer a solution that enabled them to decouple their cloud computing solution from their existing cloud storage solution.
Further, there were two other intangible requirements that Rodi knew DRFortress had to deliver on.
- The first was to meet an expectation of “Excellence” from its customers. DRFortress’ existing customer base includes health care providers, the military, and telecommunication providers just to name a few. It is not like DRFortress is a startup that could call any solution “cloud storage” as they will find out it was not what the vendor originally claimed it was. Its customers look to DRFortress to be their trusted partner so for DRFortress to introduce the wrong cloud storage solution could adversely affect the rest of its business and the trust its partners had placed in it.
- The second was not to compete with his customers. DRFortress wanted to provide cloud storage services to its customers – not replace his customer’s existing storage solution with one from DRFortress. Yet almost every other cloud storage solution he looked at that met their enterprise requirements essentially put DRFortress in this position.
It is for all of these reasons and more that led Rodi to conclude that Nirvanix was the only viable enterprise cloud storage offering for DRFortress. While Nirvanix addressed all of his aforementioned concerns and exceeded his expectations in multiple different ways, there were three particular features Rodi cited as the primary reasons DRFortress elected to deploy Nirvanix.
- Geographically-diverse NameSpace. All of the global Nirvanix data centers appear as one common file system to all end users. Once they subscribe to Nirvanix, they can configure their data to reside in as few or as many data centers as their application or business needs dictate. Rodi says, “The ease in which Nirvanix enables us to set this up and then copies data to other locations is seamless for both us and our customers. This was huge for us.”
- Eight Global Data Centers (with DRFortress becoming the Ninth.) Reselling Nirvanix cloud storage gave DRFortress and every one of its customers the freedom to put data on any one of eight (8) different data centers. Further, the specifications of the DRFortress data center qualified it to become the ninth data center in the global network of Nirvanix data centers. Rodi adds, “Nirvanix will manage all of these data centers. It maintains the gear. It already has the WAN links to the other data centers. It is all just included in the service.”
- Object based storage. The ability to decouple cloud computing and cloud storage offerings was critical for DRFortress to meet the demands of its clients. Using Nirvanix, neither DRFortress nor its clients needed to have a server in the cloud in order to provide storage on demand. Rodi quips, “Using Nirvanix our customers now can have storage when they need, where they need it, anytime they need it.“
Many storage provides have been vocal about the need for creating hybrid cloud over the past year. But to date they have not explained clearly yet how they plan to federate public cloudswith their “private cloud”-labeled storage systems.
As Nirvanix owns and operates its own public cloud, it can easily deploy a node at a customer site and manage it as part of their overall network environment so existing corporate data storage solutions simply become part of what Nirvanix already manages on a day-to-day basis. This is a major differentiator that enables Nirvanix to keep posting wins like this.
Yesterday’s announcement that DRFortress, the largest service provider in Hawaii, has become a Nirvanix cloud storage reseller should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Nirvanix or who regularly follows DCIG. DRFortress over the last year did an in-depth study of every cloud storage service offering available on the market that covered the gamut from well-known storage providers to emerging start-ups.
Yet in the end it came to the same conclusion that Cerner, IBM and USC recently reached. If you are going to offer cloud storage as a service offering privately, publicly or both, you have to use Nirvanix.
But what organizations should not overlook is that these decisions by some of the world’s largest service providers to choose Nirvanix are occurring with such regularity and on such a grand scale
that it signals that Nirvanix is becoming more than just the best cloud storage solution on the market. It is on the cusp of becoming the de facto standard in how enterprise cloud storage is implemented and delivered.