Startup Ctera will offer cloud storage through carriers

Storage startup Ctera introduced a combined local and cloud storage system for service providers to sell as a service.

Startup storage vendor Ctera is looking to service-provider networks as the best place for home and small-business backup and will go through them to sell an appliance that combines local and cloud storage.

The company, based in Israel and Silicon Valley, this week will privately show off its first product at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Called the CloudPlug, it's a small embedded Linux appliance that sits between an external hard drive and a router to turn the drive into network-attached storage. The CloudPlug plugs directly into a wall socket and has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port for attachment to an external hard drive and a Gigabit Ethernet port for connection to the router. Ctera also plans to sell appliances with hard drives built in. None will require users to load or maintain software on their PCs, said Ctera Founder and CEO Liran Eshel.

Ctera expects all of its products to be delivered by Internet service providers or managed service providers as part of monthly services rather than being sold. The services would include ongoing backup over the network, but all the data would still reside on a local drive and be available at LAN speeds, Eshel said. The appliance and backup service could take the place of a file server and tape backup system that would require some IT expertise to operate and maintain, Eshel said. These services should be available later this year, he said.

The company aims to take some complexity out of the "cloud storage" concept for the consumers or small businesses that would use it. All users will need to do is plug in the appliance, or attach it to an existing drive and set up the service via a Web interface. The on-site storage can be used both for regular local backups and for sharing files. The Ctera appliances will be managed over the network by the service provider, using a back-end product also provided by Ctera. The service provider could host the backup storage capacity itself or buy it from an online services company such as Amazon.com.

Eshel estimated the services would be sold for tens to hundreds of dollars per month, depending on capacity and WAN (wide-area network) speed. The company is approaching service providers around the world and believes its products will be most popular with carriers that offer very high-speed broadband services such as fiber to the home or DOCSIS 3.0, a fast cable technology. Eventually, Ctera may sell its technology for inclusion in other devices a carrier might offer, such as home gateways, Eshel said.

Ctera's approach differs from that of Mozy, the online backup company acquired in 2007 by EMC, in that it requires no PC software and includes both local and remote storage, Eshel said.

Some other cloud-storage vendors, including Seagate's i365, offer options that include on-site storage, said Henry Baltazar, an analyst at The 451 Group. But none has tailored this to the home and small-business market the way Ctera has, he added. Including on-site storage as well as a cloud backup allows users to back up and restore their data even when their network connection is down, which is an important safeguard, he said. Although cloud storage is emerging as the best approach for backup, providing greater flexibility than tape, it is not yet ideal for primary storage because of performance and availability concerns, Baltazar said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computingonline storageCES

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?