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Service providers have retooled their storage strategies in recent years to reflect the growth of cloud platforms and consumption-based models. Veristor Systems Inc., an MSP based in Atlanta, provides a case in point, partnering with Cloudian to expand its storage business and offer a cloud adjacent architecture to its customers.
Veristor partnered with storage vendor Cloudian about three years ago and has deployed nearly 100 of Cloudian's AWS S3-compatible nodes to house 10 petabytes of data. The MSP has also installed Cloudian's HyperStore object storage technology in its Atlanta and Denver data centers. The company's use of Cloudian platform spans multiple areas, driven by the need to readily expand storage capacity.
"We needed a storage platform we could scale and grow with our customers," said Nick Martino, solutions architect at Veristor.
Service providers deploy Cloudian storage nodes in a cluster, aggregating storage resources into a single pool. Nodes can be of mixed sizes, and don't require the same capacity. Cloudian's technology automatically performs load balancing when new nodes join the cluster. This approach lets Veristor add storage incrementally, as needed, which keeps capital costs down by eliminating large purchases in advance of storage demand. The approach also improves storage utilization.
"We can buy just ahead of our needs," Martino said, noting the approach helps Veristor avoid overprovisioning.
Cloudian, meanwhile, views MSPs such as Veristor as a key market for its storage technology. Cloudian chief marketing officer Jon Toor said the service provider segment now accounts for about a third of the company's 550 customers.
The appeal of cloud adjacent storage
Veristor has made Cloudian the foundation for its standalone, S3-based storage-as-a-service offering. Previously, the company had bundled storage within its overall managed services package.
Martino describes the company's storage offering as "cloud adjacent," meaning Veristor's service operates outside of public cloud platforms but remains accessible to them. As a result, customers can run compute workloads in the public cloud but store data in Veristor's private cloud environment.
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Cloud adjacent architecture appeals to customers with compliance and security sensitivities. These customers typically want to know where their data resides and how it is being handled. "We can tell you the address of our data center," Martino said. "We can show you where your data is and how secure it is."
The cloud adjacent offering is also attractive due to cost savings versus public cloud storage, Martino said.
Fortune 1000 customers also gravitate to Veristor's storage-as-a-service offering, which offers customers one price for a service that includes bandwidth and two copies of data in geographically diverse data centers. Such customers "really like having access to data in multiple locations" and not having to pay extra fees for bandwidth, data ingress and data egress, Martino said.
WORM and ransomware recovery
Veristor has also added write once, read many (WORM) capabilities to provide customers with an immutable backup copy of their data. Cloudian calls its WORM feature Object Lock. WORM also serves as a tape replacement and an option for long-term archival storage, Martino said.
"We've had huge success with compliance customers, and we have had a lot of customers getting rid of the tape side of things," he said.
Nick MartinoSolutions architect, Veristor
WORM backups add an extra dimension to Veristor's data protection and ransomware recovery services. The company can configure its data protection service with an air gap copy, copying data to a separate Cloudian system that has restricted access privileges, or a WORM-protected copy that also thwarts hacker encryption. Or a customer can request both methods.
Veristor's backup and disaster recovery services have helped customers recover from ransomware incidents, in some cases restoring critical workloads in four hours and bringing back all systems within 48 hours, Martino said.
In addition, Veristor uses Cloudian's integration with Commvault as the basis for its backup-as-a-service offering and as a core component of its disaster-recovery-as-a-service offering. Martino said his company accommodates a full spectrum of backup providers in addition to Commvault, including Cohesity, Rubrik, Veeam and even older IBM products that can write to S3. Cloudian supports those vendors, even if Veristor doesn't directly partner with them, he said.
Storage platform standardization
Cloudian is one of two storage platforms that Veristor has built its storage offerings on top of. Prior to that standardization, the company maintained products from eight or nine different storage vendors, Martino said. The reduction in storage vendors reduced costs, shrank the data center footprint and simplified upkeep.
"Keeping track of maintenance is massively simplified," Martino said.
Other intangible benefits include ease of deployment and customer onboarding, he added.