ClearSky Data Unveils Global Network for Storage on Demand
Using algorithms to distribute data across the best locations according to a company's workloads, ClearSky Data said it can provide simplified, on-demand and low-latency storage management for enterprises with complex data needs. The Boston-based startup today emerged from stealth mode by announcing the launch of its global network for storage on demand.
ClearSky's service provides managed-service access to points of presence (PoPs) in major metropolitan areas, and also uses dedicated, redundant private networks and other optimization strategies to keep latency low. The company described its offering as a combination of traditional and cloud environments that can help ease storage management for IT administrators.
Operating quietly since late 2013, ClearSky was co-founded by CEO Ellen Rubin (pictured), a veteran of Netezza who also helped establish the tech companies Manna and CloudSwitch, and CTO Lazarus Vekiarides, previously executive director of software engineering for Dell's EqualLogic Storage Engineering group. The company is backed by $12 million in venture capital funding.
Three-Pronged Approach for Data Storage
"Today, almost all enterprise IT teams still buy and consume storage the way they have for decades, with traditional storage arrays, backup and disaster recovery infrastructure in data centers -- but this model is fundamentally broken, not to mention miserable and expensive for enterprise customers," Rubin said in a blog post today on the company's Web site.
Developed based on the co-founders' past experiences with enterprise users' data storage needs, ClearSky's offering takes a different approach to traditional strategies, Rubin added. "We believe this is the new model for enterprise storage, in which customers never have to manage infrastructure again -- instead, they simply plug in," she noted.
ClearSky's architecture is based on three main components: an "edge cache" for storing "hot data" -- the most important and most-frequently accessed information -- in the customer's data center; PoPs across a global network for "warm data;" and a backing cloud for storing all enterprise data, including so-called "cold" data.
Algorithms Categorize Data as Hot, Warm or Cold
"Less than ten percent of an enterprise's overall data is accessed with any regularity, and the composition of that ten percent of data changes over time and across workloads," ClearSky noted in a white paper. "However, categorizing data as hot, warm or cold in real-time and distributing it where it belongs remains difficult. Data usage changes over time and often in unpredictable ways."
ClearSky said it uses algorithms to monitor and distribute data, providing a fully-managed storage service option with 99.999 percent availability. Its infrastructure can also handle hundreds of thousands of input/output operations per second with network latency levels of less than 2 milliseconds, according to the company.
That approach -- offering "true primary, transactional-level storage services with all the benefits of cloud economics and management" -- has been "a long time coming," according to Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
ClearSky's customers can access the service from anywhere via a Web-based portal and they can add or reduce capacity as required to meet current storage needs. The service, which uses VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes, also enables users to access system alerts and updates around the clock.