SwiftStack announces software-defined storage for OpenStack

Object storage system delivers scalability, flexibility, and extensive control over data stored in the cloud

San Francisco-based SwiftStack has announced the general availability of its private cloud storage product. The company's software-defined storage (SDS) solution is based on the OpenStack Swift object storage system. The solution is set to challenge alternatives running in the public cloud, which SwiftStack says it can match in flexibility and control, all at a significantly lower cost. In fact, it already claims to have dozens of customers and multiple petabytes under management.

The company, which was founded in 2011, made itself known earlier this year when it completed a Series A funding round in the amount of $6.1 million backed by Mayfield Fund, Storm Ventures, and UMC Capital. Its goal was to help operations teams implement and manage an easy-to-use, multitenant, and highly scalable cloud storage platform. With SwiftStack, application developers and operations teams could leverage the power of the public cloud inside their own data centers.

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When it comes to building a private cloud, many IT shops are looking for a way to cost-effectively manage and share access to massive amounts of unstructured data that continues to spread across the organization.

"The growth of mobile, Web, and SaaS applications among service providers and enterprises has led to increased data demands," said Joe Arnold, co-founder and CEO at SwiftStack. "In today's world of cloud-based applications, users expect data to be available to them whenever they want, on multiple devices. Data centers need to be able to cater to these new demands."

Arnold went on to say, "Currently, public clouds can address these challenges, but scale comes at a high cost while giving up some control. The private cloud market is becoming increasingly popular for unstructured data, specifically in enterprises that want their data to stay within their data centers, while giving users the same experience as the public cloud."

SwiftStack is an SDS solution that makes that possible by building on top of open source software that also happens to run on commodity hardware. It provides flexibility, control, and cost savings to services providers and enterprises that would like to use their own data centers for storage.

Arnold told InfoWorld that when building SwiftStack, the company's design goal was to make it easy to deploy, operate, and scale, as well as to provide the fastest experience when deploying and managing a private cloud storage system. Another key design element was to enable large-scale growth without any disruption to performance.

The system is completely automated, even when it comes to maintenance and upgrades, which can be done on the fly. Storage clusters can also be deployed across data centers or regions, creating a highly available design.

"What we are doing here is harnessing the storage power of a public cloud on commodity hardware, within a company's data center," explained Arnold.

SwiftStack's storage system is rich with enterprise features. The system consists of two main components -- SwiftStack Nodes and the SwiftStack Controller -- that together form a software-defined architecture. Storage intelligence is decoupled from the hardware and this modular SDS approach is what makes the system so flexible.

The first part of the system is the integrated stack that is packaged for turnkey deployment: the SwiftStack Nodes. These nodes include managing and monitoring agents, load balancing, authentication/authorization, as well as support for global clusters to enhance data availability. The second part is the SwiftStack Controller, which decouples storage management from the hardware and provides automated configuration, expansion, and handling of failures. With this latest release, SwiftStack is also providing customers with a choice between a cloud-hosted Controller and an on-premise Controller solution that can be deployed on-site in the customer's private data center.

This solution announcement follows on the heels of other news that came out earlier this month around another effort being led by SwiftStack with the help of Intel and other channel partners -- that is, to make OpenStack storage more efficient by implementing erasure coding. These improvements, according to SwiftStack, have the potential to cut OpenStack cloud storage costs by nearly 50 percent.

SwiftStack is currently available with software and support on a subscription basis starting at $249 per month per 25TB in use.

This article, "SwiftStack announces software-defined storage for OpenStack," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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