Bridging the Islands for Hybrid Storage

One of the greatest storage tech geek water cooler debates of recent times has been private versus public cloud storage.  The IT admins and security hawks line up on the private storage side.  It is not that they will not consider cloud storage, but they often make the case for waiting until things like security, control, auditability and other admin functions become more robust for cloud storage.  Meanwhile, you get the technology futurists and fast movers who can quickly lay out a strong case for utilizing public cloud storage.

While one versus the other debates tend to be more spirited and therefore interesting for the water cooler, the real answer in terms of deployment increasingly lies in the middle.  This makes sense.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and which is best in the real world tends to be more of a function of use case and requirements rather than a dogmatic “only one way” thinking.  And the variation in terms of use case is not a business by business matter, but rather a content by content matter.  Within the same company, there is some information that is incredibly closely guarded because of its importance (think product design information, customer lists, contracts, etc.) and other items that are much less sensitive (think repositories or marketing and sales literature that are publicly available anyway).  The effects of the differing opinions and comfort levels with cloud storage combined with different requirements for different types of content and documents are twofold.  First, movement to the cloud tends to be gradual, not a massive cutover for companies going from private to public.  Second, companies are increasingly using hybrid storage models that capitalize on the best of both worlds and also assign content to storage type based on its specific requirements.

Within the storage product markets, there are two islands of companies.  On the one island left a powerful mix of upstarts with significant customer bases such as Dropbox or Box, and well-funded, powerful divisions within industry power brokers like Google, Amazon, or Microsoft.  On the other island are the historical leaders in server and local-based storage.  This second group includes large established players including EMC, NetApp and others.  While the larger volumes of customers might still be on the islands, the real action right now is on the bridge between them which is of course hybrid storage.  The larger players all have a stake and a role in this hybrid storage market, but because of the complexity and relative newness of it, it is a rapidly evolving market with a significant opening for newer players.  In markets like this, fast and nimble often defeats big and entrenched somewhere else.That is exactly what is playing out right now.  Amidst the elephants traipsing around in the space, are also some smaller companies that are quickly growing businesses and carving out storage market share. This might even be the fastest growing segment of the storage market in terms of real revenue not non-paying customer counts.  Additionally, in the spirit of moving quickly, you are seeing companies of slightly different varieties come together to address customer needs.

Take for example Egnyte, a relatively new company, but already prominent in the hybrid storage market, along with CloudFuze, who hails loosely from the file sync and share market yesterday announced a partnership.  Egnyte brings an established business customer base and an early leadership position in the hybrid storage market.  With its software platform available both as an end product for users and as a RESTful API-based connection to a broad swatch of places where files reside, CloudFuze brings expertise in storage connectivity and management.  When you put them together you get a combination of hybrid storage market expertise and huge reach in terms of storage connectivity options.  The details of the partnership and future plans are not publicly available, but the direction and potential are obvious – more connectivity and more options for hybrid storage models.  The market space in general and the business relationships being formed are definitely something keep an eye on going forward.

Disclaimer: This article was written by a guest contributor in his/her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of