Cloudian hopes to woo enterprises with free edition of storage platform

The cloud-compatible platform is free but storage is limited to 100TB

Cloudian has launched a free, community edition of its software and object-based storage platform, which can store up to 100TB and be integrated with Amazon's cloud, the company said on Tuesday.

The Community Edition includes all of the functionality of the regular version of Cloudian's storage platform, which just like the company is called Cloudian. But users have to rely on forum support and the total storage capacity has been limited to 100TB.

"We think 100TB is a fairly large number. The purpose is to provide enterprises with the best of both worlds; a production ready platform that is free," said Bob DeFeo, vice president of business development at Cloudian.

Until now, the company has been mainly had its sights set on service providers.

Cloudian is a multitenant storage platform that can be used across multiple data centers, which allows the regular version to manage hundreds of petabytes of data, according to the company.

The platform uses commodity hardware to keep costs down. Service providers can use it to deploy public clouds or managed private clouds, and enterprises can roll out private clouds or hybrid clouds which combine on-premise storage and storage in Amazon's cloud, it said.

Under the hood, Cloudian is powered by a number of different open source projects, including the Apache Cassandra database and Tomcat.

One of Cloudian's key features is the integration with Amazon's S3 (Simple Storage Service).

"We have developed Cloudian from day one with native support for the S3 API," said DeFeo.

The integration includes Amazon features such as multipart upload and location constraint. The latter feature allows IT staff to specify where in the world they want to store data. Multipart upload was designed to improve the reliability of uploads to Amazon's cloud by breaking larger objects into smaller chunks and uploading them in parallel. If the upload of one data chunk fails, it can simply be restarted while the rest of the upload remains unaffected.

Cloudian isn't the only company that sees cloud storage as a great opportunity for both vendors and users.

The integration of on-premise storage and cloud-based storage is a growing trend, with offerings from the likes of StorSimple and Red Hat for enterprises and Pogoplug for consumers.

Also, earlier this year Amazon announced a public beta test of AWS Storage Gateway, which allows enterprises to back up application data in the company's cloud using a software appliance.

Even if the enterprise products don't work in the same way, the goal is to allow users to take advantage of the flexibility that cloud-based services offer.

The use of systems that combine on-premise storage and storage on public clouds are still in their infancy, but many people are thinking about using the hybrid model and are interested in it, according to DeFeo.

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