Cloud Storage is Hot; HP Bundles Box.net (Gigabyte scale) and Nirvanix Takes Hybrid Clouds to Hawaii (Petabyte scale)

Cloud Storage is hot and we are seeing big news today with HP and Nirvanix.

These two announcements Box and Nirvanix highlight the contrast between two cloud storage startups Box (consumer) and Nirvanix (enterprise) cloud storage — the difference is one is at gigabyte-scale (Box.net) and other is at petabyte-scale (Nirvanix).

On the high end cloud storage Nirvanix is not sitting still with just racking up cloud storage wins on the mainland – recent 8 petabyte deal with USC. They announced a full-blown hybrid cloud storage deployment at the largest data center services provider in Hawaii, DRFortress. On the low end HP is bundling a promotional Box cloud storage account with each PC. HP PC users get 10Gb of storage free for one (1) year.

HP’s deal with Box is a promotional deal for HP. I wouldn’t call it a strategic deal for HP. However, startup Box is the real winner there. Box.net gets massive exposure from a bundled with the #1 PC maker. This will give Box.net more low end subscription business and position Box for some bigger enterprise accounts down the road. Box has been doing great on the low end and trying to find a way into the enterprise. Box’s results in the enterprise hasn’t been that impressive of late. In response to the lack of enterprise traction Box recently hired EMC seasoned exec Whitney Tidmarsh who is ramping up their enterprise business.

On the other side of the cloud storage business is the high end fight for the datacenter or hybrid cloud. Startup Nirvanix expands their deal base with DRFortress.

What’s most impressive with this deal is that Nirvanix is physically deploying a private cloud storage node in DRFortress’ Honolulu data center and federating that with the Nirvanix public cloud for a true hybrid, federated solution, and managing the whole offering as a service. They’re not providing a “hybrid framework,” with support only—they’re providing a fully managed hybrid cloud service.

While other vendors offered DRFortress access to cloud storage services from a data center in California or other parts of the U.S.—or offered to sell “cloud” boxes that DRFortress could manage on their own—Nirvanix was the only service provider that literally placed a complete cloud storage node in Honolulu and will fully manage it as a service. We are seeing an growing number of vendors touting their offerings as “hybrid,” but when it comes to the number of deployments being publicly announced there is a huge void.

Some vendors, like Sprint, Terremark and CSC, talk cloud storage, but cannot sell you a dedicated cloud storage service, as their cloud “storage” is part of their cloud compute services, meaning the only storage you can buy from them is the disks inside their cloud compute clusters. They have no geo-dispersed namespace, no object store, no multi-tenant structure. Want to stick 200TB in the cloud? Only if you have cloud compute business to give them first.

Hybrid clouds are basically crossbreeds of in-house storage resources and a public cloud network, giving companies the capability to keep more critical data in-house but the flexibility to soak up more cloud storage whenever and wherever needed.

The question for those without a public cloud in production who do you federate your storage with? The question for those with a public cloud who’s cloud storage nodes do you eventually try to federate with at customer sites? The point is when you are talking hybrid clouds but only owning certain parts of the infrastructure, it can get very messy and sloppy for customers, especially when the topic of SLAs came up—after all, who are customers supposed to hold accountable when there are multiple fingers pointing in different directions?

Cloud storage is smoking hot right now and has game-changing benefits that older vendors haven’t been offering. Box.net got into the consumer game with a simple solution and is putting the pressure on the big enterprise players. Maybe HP will by them?

Nirvanix is delivering enteprise-class capability that nobody else is offering anywhere. Nirvanix is at least 24 months ahead of the industry, as validated by IBM, and whoever acquires them with be in a position to take some serious market share and do damage to the rest of the storage establishment.

HP IBM ANGLE
What’s interesting is the difference in strategy between HP and IBM. HP seems to be dippings their toes in the cloud storage with this cross-promotional deal with Box.net as a cloud synch and share application. This is a low-end, consumer-level deal with Box and shows that HP is still spreading it’s bets around in the cloud space.

Recently, IBM is more focused on the high end cloud storage. IBM is going pro and rolling out its Nirvanix-sourced SmartCloud Enterprise service. IBM placing bets on the petabyte scale in the cloud race – we covered the IBM deal with Nirvanix here.

The contrast with Box and Nirvanix highlights the difference in cloud storage strategy. Consumers are at the Mb scale and enteprises are at the petabyte scale.

About John Furrier

John Furrier is founder, co-CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of SiliconANGLE, a new media company covering the intersection of computer science and social science. Furrier is also the co-founder and CEO of CrowdChat a social media platform for large-scale group conversations over hashtags. In addition to SiliconANGLE John runs Broadband Developments a private incubator and investment firm for creating new startups. Furrier lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife and four children.