Getting Practical With Cloud Storage

One of the things we like to say at Gluster is we are not a cloud storage company, we are a storage company that can ‘do cloud’. With all of the confusion swirling around definitions and descriptions of what a cloud is (and isn’t) you can define yourself as something nebulous. Recall that less than a year ago Gartner described the hype around cloud ‘deafening‘, and it’s only gotten louder. What really matters to us when we talk to a company that is considering cloud storage is the problem they are trying to solve – that get you to focus on a practical solution, and the cloud gets defined in that way.

One of the reasons the hype is so loud, is the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ the cloud model will be mainstream. It’s inevitable; we’ve seen this movie before: utility service models are very efficient ways to deliver services. Another reason the hype is so loud is we have tangible proof that the industry is already aggressively moving forward. Netflix, with over 12 million subscribers, recently outlined their strategy to transition from a DVD-by-mail model to video streaming. This is an extremely well managed company with great vision, so how do they plan to deliver their service? You guessed it, the cloud. In this case Amazon Web Services, for a lot of interesting reasons.

The point is once you sort through the hype surrounding cloud, there are numerous examples of using the model for business advantage, whether that be for growth, agility, or cost. In a recent webinar, we highlighted two Gluster customers who are doing just that. One is Partners Healthcare who has created an internal storage repository for their network of hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School. It’s a centrally managed storage-as-a-service model where users are charged back based on consumption. Partners initially deployed this in 2008, before cloud became so trendy, but this is a classic example of an internal cloud. Acquia provides managed hosting services for Drupal-based websites and their service is 100% hosted on Amazon Web Services. Gluster aggregates multiple Elastic Block Storage (EBS) blocks and presents them as shared file storage for multiple concurrent virtual machines. Check out the webinar to hear Brent Richter from Partners and Barry Jaspan from Acquia discuss their cloud storage deployments. (note: we do ask for registration)

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