Cirtas, Nasuni Point Storage Cloudward, Cultivate Channel

We’ve written a lot lately about the intermingling of disaster recovery and the cloud, but some vendors aim to link the cloud to primary storage. For instance, Cirtas Systems this week launched a cloud storage appliance, which the company will market purely through the channel. Dan Decasper, Cirtas’ chief executive officer, said his company’s Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller plays a role analogous to a storage controller in an onsite enterprise storage array. But instead of storing information on racks of direct-attached disk drives, the Bluejet appliances tie into a cloud storage provider on the backend, he said. Here's how.

“Our strategy is to go completely through the channel,” Decasper said. “This is not a million-dollar sale -- [so we] can’t afford to do it with a direct sales force.”

Cirtas, thus far, has signed 14 companies to resell its $69,995 appliances with more to be identified shortly. Decasper said channel partners include traditional storage resellers and networking services firms. He said the cloud storage controllers get networking companies “into the storage game with a product that looks a lot more like a networking device.”

Cloud providers also serve as a channel. Cirtas has formed alliances with Amazon, which the company identified as a Series A investor, and Iron Mountain. Cirtas also plans to support the APIs of cloud storage platform provider Mezeo.

The cloud storage controller’s features include CloudConnect, which the company says facilitates the use of multiple cloud providers, and CloudSnap, which provides  snapshots of data housed in the cloud. CloudSnap “eliminates the need to perform separate backups of primary data stored on Bluejet,” according to Cirtas.

Nasuni Filer 2.0

Meanwhile, Nasuni on Tuesday will take the wraps of Nasuni Filer 2.0, a virtual appliance that serves as a cloud gateway. The company in February 2010 unveiled its initial entry in the cloud storage market. The appliance is available as a subscription and is priced at $300 per month.

The new version supports Microsoft’s Hyper-V server virtualization in addition to VMware. In a change of interest to MSPs, Nasuni Filer 2.0 supports private clouds as well as public storage options from Amazon, Iron Mountain, Nirvanix and Rackspace.

Nasuni said the idea behind its support for private cloud storage is to help MSPs build solutions using Rackspace’s OpenStack, EMC’s Atmos, or Nirvanix Hybrid Cloud, for example.  Andres Rodriguez, CEO of Nasuni, said the approach gives MSPs the flexibility of creating their own version of cloud storage or outsourcing to another cloud provider.

Primary storage may well be the cloud’s next frontier; Cirtas and Nasuni offer two ways to get there. Cirtas’ appliance could find a fit with partners accustomed to reselling WAN optimization appliances. And for MSPs looking to provide their own stamp on a cloud service, Nasuni could provide the basis for a new line of business.

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