The acquisition is part of a push by major cloud providers to bolster their private cloud strategies, an analyst says.

Jeffrey Burt

July 10, 2019

5 Min Read
Cloud storage

Google Cloud Platform is building out its cloud storage capabilities with the planned acquisition of file storage vendor Elastifile, a move that furthers the cloud provider’s efforts to entice enterprises to use its services.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, a former longtime Oracle executive who has made building out the company’s enterprise business a key part of his strategy, announced the deal this week, saying that Elastifile’s products are key to running file storage for enterprise-class applications at scale in the cloud.


Google Cloud’s Thomas Kurian

“File storage is fundamental to enterprise infrastructure and a priority for customers looking to accelerate their digital transformation,” Kurian wrote in a blog. “For example, companies who run SAP need access to highly available and consistent file storage. Developers building applications that use Kubernetes need file storage for their stateful workloads. As these critical applications migrate to the cloud, IT teams need simple, natively compatible storage options along with the features and performance to support them.”

It’s a plus for Google Cloud as it brings more of its own storage capabilities into the fold, but it’s also part of a larger trend among major public cloud providers that could limit opportunities for channel partners, according to an industry analyst.

Elastifile has created a “unique software-defined approach to managed network-attached storage (NAS), enabling organizations to scale performance or capacity without cumbersome overhead,” he wrote.

The company will be integrated into the Google Cloud Filestore managed service after the deal closes, which is expected to happen later this year. No financial details of the deal were released.

Google is in the top tier of global cloud service providers, solidly in third place behind market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, and ahead of fast-growing Chinese companies Alibaba and Tencent, according to analysts at Synergy Research Group. Under Kurian, Google Cloud has made multiple moves designed to attract enterprises to the cloud platform, which will be increasingly important as more organizations adopt multicloud and hybrid cloud strategies. Making Google Cloud a viable enterprise platform alongside AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud and others will be key.

The moves include bringing in more executives with deep enterprise experience from companies such as SAP, buying companies such as Elastifile and Alooma (whose technology aimed to make migrating to the cloud easier for enterprises), and expanding its reach into on-premises environments with the launch in April of Anthos, which enables enterprises to run Google Cloud applications and services in their own data centers on hardware from such vendors as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell EMC and Lenovo.

Storage is a key enterprise consideration for enterprises as they move into the cloud. They want flexibility and agility in how they store, access and move their data. In March, Google Cloud unveiled new pricing options for organizations storing their data on the platform and that need predictable costs. The Elastifile deal is “definitely a step in the right direction,” said Paul Teich, principal analyst with Liftr Cloud Insights. “Google needed enterprise-class storage that spans private and public clouds, and Elastifile delivers that.”

In a commentary in April, Teich noted that with Anthos, which is built atop Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) On Prem, essentially relied on VMware’s vSphere to handle containerized legacy applications that use local storage, adding in a comment to Channel Futures that “Google does not want to hand storage deals to VMware.”

The new deal enables Google Cloud to catch up with what …

… AWS, Azure and others can offer in this year.


Liftr Cloud Insights’ Paul Teich

“Elastifile gives GCP and Anthos/GKE On Prem a scalable storage story that is Google from end to end,” Teich said.

In a blog, Elastifile CEO Erwan Menard wrote about the growing relationship between his company and Google Cloud, including co-developing the Elastifile Cloud File Service, a fully managed and scalable file storage service on the Google Cloud Platform.

“Together, we already deliver seamless compatibility and scalable cloud resources to a broad spectrum of enterprise workflows, making cloud adoption easier than ever before,” Menard wrote.

The Elastifile deal is part of a larger story among cloud providers to expand their hybrid cloud capabilities, according to Liftr’s Teich.

“Google buying Elastifile is evidence of continuing consolidation of private-cloud opportunities by the public cloud giants,” he said. “Their goal is to capture as much of the hybrid private/public cloud revenue as possible. Hybrid cloud is a business model; software defined storage (SDS) is a technology that helps the cloud giants craft a ‘better together’ story that spans their private and public cloud offerings.”

This might limit channel options going forward, reducing upsell and mix-and-match options, according to Teich.


Elastifile’s Erwin Menard

“If you are reselling VMware into private or public cloud solutions to handle stateful storage for legacy app migrations, then VMware is probably in the same boat as Oracle database — so successful at monetizing their niche that everyone wants to replace them,” he said. “All the clouds are playing nice with VMware in public, but I think it’s a ‘keep your enemies closer’ thing.”

One partner , however, said the Elastifile deal will be good for the channel.

“Google’s planned acquisition of Elastifile is a benefit for partners like SADA,” CTO Miles Ward told Channel Futures. “The robust multinode filer on GCP unlocks exciting use cases in media and entertainment, high-performance computing and the wide array of enterprise software that anticipates the POSIX API.”

SADA, which became a Google-only partner after selling its Microsoft business earlier this year, last month reached Google Cloud MSP partner status.

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