Over the past few years it’s become almost fashionable to launch a product or cloud service that directly targets Amazon Web Services. The founders of Carbonite are doing just that with the launch of a cloud storage service, called Wasabi, which – by its own admission – is comparable to Amazon S3 with two big differences: price and speed.
According to Wasabi founder David Friend, who left Carbonite in 2014, nine years after co-founding the company with Jeff Flowers (who is a co-founder on this latest venture), Wasabi will be fully compatible with applications that work with Amazon S3.
“The principle reason someone would choose Wasabi over S3 is that we are 1/5th the price and six times the speed,” Friend tells Talkin’ Cloud, without going into detail around the technology that makes it possible. The company has raised $8.5 million from angel investors.
“I can’t tell you specifically all the little technical secrets that go into Wasabi storage because everybody including Amazon I’m sure would love to know, but I do expect that other people will eventually figure it out, and there will be competition,” he says. “I think we have some time to prove our reputation in the marketplace as a reliable vendor and I think by the time competition does come along at these prices we will be much more established and have that as an advantage against any newcomer.”
Of course, there’s already lots of competition in the cloud storage space beyond AWS, including Backblaze, Nasuni, IBM, and others. Vendors are also facing pricing pressures, with prices for object storage dropping 14 percent over the last 12 months, according to a recent report by 451 Research.
“Cloud storage will become a commodity like electricity; you won’t need all of these silly tiers, like Coldline, Glacier, any more than you need multiple types of electricity,” Friend says. For comparison’s sake, Wasabi is a flat rate of .0039 cents per gigabyte, compared to between .021 and .023 cents for the same on AWS.
“I’m not afraid of big companies like Amazon and Dell because on one hand they do have huge scale, on the other hand that scale can work against them,” he said, noting that they aren’t as nimble as a smaller vendor like Wasabi.
The biggest different between Amazon S3 and Wasabi is something Friend says was borrowed from his Carbonite legacy: immutability.
“I can tell you from Carbonite that people lose data all the time and it’s not because of system failures it’s because somebody accidentally overrides the data or deletes it,” he says.
“What immutability does is when you set up a bucket, which is kind of like a file folder in object storage terms, when you set up a bucket in Wasabi you can flip a switch and make that bucket immutable, once you write data to that bucket it cannot be modified or deleted: not by you, not by a hacker, and not even by us,” he says.
At launch Wasabi has just one data center in Virginia, with another data center to be added later this year.
“We’re going into production launch very cautiously with a limited amount of capacity and then when that capacity is sold out we’ll add more,” he said. “There are people out there who we’ve been talking to for months who have huge amounts of data…storage systems are very complicated and there’s no way to do what I’d call a real-world test on them no matter how hard you work. Let’s fill up what we have, let’s make sure everything is stable and everything is working according to the customers likes.”
On Thursday, a Wasabi spokesperson told Talkin’ Cloud: “The interest level in our cloud storage service has significantly exceeded our expectations. We are currently adding storage capacity to our data centers to allow more users to evaluate our service.”
Friend said that during speed tests for Wasabi conducted at a data center in Virginia with Amazon Direct Connect, Wasabi was faster than Amazon S3.
“We’ll be publishing all these test suites so that reviewers and independent labs and so forth can actually test it themselves,” he says.
Wasabi’s biggest target is organizations that spend a lot of storage and have huge data sets, Friend says. These include firms that deal in TV and movie production, for example, as well as scientific labs and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Plans are also in the works to launch a partner program for managed service providers (MSPs) looking to add cloud storage to their portfolios.
“We’re already talking to quite a number of partners who have already brought us a lot of customers…It’s a great product for an MSP who is selling a basket of services to a client and one of those services is cloud storage,” he says.