Cold Storage not so cold – Google Nearline v Amazon Glacier

It may have taken a little time but Google has come up with an alternative to Amazon’s Glacier cold storage proposition.

Called Google Storage Nearline it is now available in beta as part of Google’s object storage product, Google Storage.

Google Storage is targeted at businesses and a Google Storage account is required to take advantage of Google Nearline as Nearline is a choice when creating a Google Storage bucket / container.

Google Storage Nearline

Once a bucket is designated as Google Nearline it can be used immediately.

Google positions Nearline as providing “the convenience of online storage at the price of offline storage” and indeed it does with access and retrieval times in the order of around 3 seconds.

Nearline also offers regionality of the  storage bucket (similar to what users can expect from Amazon S3 / Glacier). This allows users to control where data is stored. The regional options include U.S., Europe and Asia. The regional storage buckets are not expected to be fully available until Nearline emerges from beta.

Ultimately Nearline is offering companies a relatively simple, fast-response, low cost, tiered storage solution with not only quick data backup but on-demand retrieval and access.

For users who are already using or aware of Amazon Glacier the major differences are as follows:

Nearline                                     Glacier

1 cent per GB pm                     1 cent per GB pm
($10 per TB pm)                        ($10 per TB pm)

3 second retrieval                      5 hours retrieval
(on demand access)                  (request needed)

Data Redundancy                     Data Redundancy
(multiple locations)                    (multiple locations)

Regional support                      Regional support
3 locations                               7 locations

Google Storage API’s               New Glacier API’s
(use existing)                            (API specific to Glacier)

Egress fees                              Egress fees

Retrieval cost .12 per GB         Retrieval cost .09 per GB

Retrieval 4MB/s per TB            Data delivered in 3 to 5 hours
(after first byte / scales linearly)

Availability 99%                        Availablility 99.99%

Pricing and features are of course subject to to change so always check the links below for latest details:

Amazon Glacier Pricing can be found here.
Google Nearline Storage Pricing can be found here.

Amazon Glacier Whitepaper here.
Google Nearline Whitepaper here.

Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS volumes can now store up to 16 TB

Amazon EVS 16TBFrom  today, users of Amazon Web Services can create Amazon EBS Provisioned IOPS volumes that can store up to 16 TB, and process up to 20,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS).

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides persistent block level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute) instances in the AWS Cloud.

Users can also create Amazon EBS General Purpose (SSD) volumes that can store up to 16 TB, and process up to 10,000 IOPS. These volumes are designed for five 9s of availability and up to 320 megabytes per second of throughput when attached to EBS optimized instances.

These performance improvements make it even easier to run applications requiring high performance or high amounts of storage, such as large transactional databases, big data analytics, and log processing systems. Users can now run large-scale, high performance workloads on a single volume, without needing to stripe together several smaller volumes.

Larger and faster volumes are available now in all commercial AWS regions and in AWS GovCloud (US). To learn more please check out the Amazon EBS details page.

Storage Vendors go for broke with OpenStack Swift Storage

openstack logoOpenStack, the open-source on-premise alternative to Amazon S3 is heading into 2015 with a vast mount of momentum. VC’s are falling over themselves to invest in OpenStack related companies and there seems to be genuine enterprise momentum.

The OpenStack story kicked off in 2010 and was initially a combined project between Rackspace and NASA. Fast forward to 2015 and it is managed by the OpenStack Foundation which is a non-profit corporate entity that was established in September 2012 as a means to promote OpenStack software.

Most people may know OpenStack primarily due to it’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution, but it also has an object Storage solution, called ‘Swift’ (not to be confused with Apple’s new programming language, also confusingly called ‘Swift’) which also has garnered a momentum of its own.

Object Storage is a type storage architecture that manages data as objects unlike other storage systems which either manage data as a file hierarchy or as blocks within sectors and tracks (block storage).

The advantages of object storage architectures is that they offer unlimited scalability with a lower emphasis on processing and they offer access using Internet protocols (REST) rather than storage commands.

There is a momentum around Object Storage companies that include such commercial vendors as CleverSafe, Cloudian, Amplistore and Scality.

Vendors who are offering an OpenStack Swift distro as part of their offering include:

HP (Helion Content Depot)
IBM (Cloud Manager with OpenStack)
SoftLayer (Now owned by IBM)
SUSE Cloud
Ubuntu OpenStack
RedHat OpenStack
VMWare OpenStack

As an example of the sums of money involved, Mirantis recently closed a round for $100 million and SwiftStack a round for $16 million, taking both company to total investments of $120 million and $23.6 million respectively. IBM also purchased SoftLayer for a reputed $2 billion. It’s clear that VC’s and Software vendors see something special in OpenStack.

Amazon Web Services may rule when it comes to public cloud but a recent survey sponsored by GigaOM gave results indicating that half of private clouds deployed where OpenStack based.

OpenStack, like Amazon Web Services, is primarily supplied with REST API’s and toolkits  that developers can use to interact with the OpenStack infrastructure. As with AWS this creates opportunities for vendors at the Application level to provide Apps and tools.

Storage Made Easy is a company that has already make an impact on the OpenStack community with its Enterprise File Share and Sync product offering, which has been optimized for OpenStack Swift. The company, itself a startup, already has a growing number of service providers and customer using its enterprise application in conjunction with OpenStack Swift, and has partnered with a number of the key players listed above in a strategy focused around taking advantage of OpenStack’s growth.

Other companies are treading the same path and this itself creates an eco-system of enterprise ready Applications ready to take advantage of OpenStack’s foothold in the Enterprise to grow or to be acquired.

Of course, with OpenStack being an open-source initiative it is not just commercial Apps that have sprung up around OpenStack. There are  Open Source Applications such as Swift Explorer and CyberDuck, but strangely, given the Open Source root of OpenStack there seems to be more commercial offerings rather than open source offerings.

All in all OpenStack is an initiative that is in its ascendancy. It used to be said that OpenStack was more hype than reality but as we head into 2015 the money men have placed their bets and they tend to bet on reality rather than hype.