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StorSimple Talks about its Founding, Cloud Storage


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June 15, 2011

StorSimple Talks about its Founding, Cloud Storage

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

StorSimple, a leader in Enterprise Cloud Storage for Windows and VMware infrastructures, works to bring the benefits of the cloud to on-premises applications without forcing the migration of applications into the cloud. Recently, TMCnet sat down with Dr. Ian Howells, chief marketing officer at StorSimple, to talk about why the company was founded, where the cloud storage industry is headed and how StorSimple works to meet customers’ needs.

TMCnet: Why was StorSimple founded?

Howells: Our co-founders Ursheet Parikh and Guru Pangal managed the WAN optimization business at Cisco (News - Alert) and storage at Brocade. This gives the company an “Enterprise DNA” with a deep understanding of customers’ requirements in both storage and WAN optimization. Both of these areas are core to delivering enterprise class hybrid cloud storage. Internally when we say the word “enterprise” the requirements for “high-availability, scalability, security, data integrity, file system journaling, application consistent backup and recovery” go without saying. That’s not the case with many companies.

TMCnet: When you speak with customers what are the major pain points you are hearing?

Howells: One phrase I like is: “The only thing predictable about storage requirements is that they will be unpredictable and much bigger than you could possibly imagine.”

We speak with customers in enterprises, regional offices and medium sized businesses. Specifically companies are focusing on their Windows and VMware infrastructures and want to: dramatically reduce the escalating cost of their enterprise storage infrastructure across primary, archival, data protection and Disaster Recovery; eliminate tape and get instant backup and restore in minutes not days; and simplify the management of multiple storage devices with separate management interfaces.

TMCnet: What industries do you see adopting enterprise cloud storage first?

Howells: Certain industries have by their nature a lot more data and content to manage. We call these “Big Content Companies.” These are the industries that are feeling the most pain (and cost) and want to exploit the advantages of “Cloud-as-a-Tier” architectures. They are typified by: media, entertainment and gaming; construction; healthcare; technology; pharma; and finance.

TMCnet: what directions are customers looking at to solve these problems?

Howells: We see two major trends that are intimately related to each other.

Storage as an Appliance - We can all learn a lot from appliances and the mentality required to drive simplicity into them and “consumerize” the experience. Appliances “just work” and integrate what typically required multiple devices and lots of cables. Look at the Apple TV. You switch it on and you get access to YouTube (News - Alert), NetFlix, iTunes music, Podcasts, Films etc. Taking this approach to storage can have tremendous benefits. What customers in Windows and VMware environments want is an integrated appliance for storage, across the whole storage lifecycle.

Cloud – Customers want to exploit the inherent advantages of the cloud: instant thin provisioning, unlimited elastic expansion, built-in high–availability, availability from anywhere in the world, no hardware maintenance and utility billing for storage.

TMCnet: What is StorSimple’s approach to these requirements?

Howells: Enterprises want Microsoft (News - Alert) and VMware certification. That is critical and we invested a great deal of time and resource here. StorSimple has achieved the most stringent “Certified for Windows Server 2008” level of certification and also VMware Ready status.

Enterprises, regional offices and medium sized companies all benefit from using:

  • Simple Enterprise Class, Cloud Integrated Storage. – Thin Cloud provisioning on demand, with automatic cloud tiering.
  • One appliance for tiered primary storage with SSD performance, cloud archival, cloud data protection and cloud Disaster Recovery.
  • Simple instant backup and restore reducing RTO from days to minutes with the data protection of the cloud.
  • Simple Multi-Location Disaster Recovery – Simple, high-performance enterprise class disaster recovery removing the choice of having to use tape or doubling the infrastructure cost.
  • Application Optimized, Application Consistent – Application optimized, tiered volumes are available for Windows and VMware. Full support for VSS, application consistent backups is also supported.
  • Cost Reductions of up to 90 percent – The appliance takes 10 minutes to install, securely integrates on-premises applications with no changes required.

TMCnet: How do you see the cloud market evolving?

Howells: Big content will flow into the cloud from existing on-premises Windows and VMware infrastructures. One way to think about the StorSimple appliance is as a cloud-drive or Shared Folder for Windows or VMware. Big content does not move anywhere as easily as virtual machines.

Big content will become the new center of gravity and applications/compute will follow the big content to the cloud.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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