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Zetta hopes to change the data storage landscape with what it claims is the first cloud offering for primary storage.
Zetta Enterprise Cloud Storage is aimed at the unstructured data that makes up the bulk of enterprise data, rather than database applications that demand real-time performance although Zetta CEO and co-founder Jeff Treuhaft thinks it's just a matter of time until the company can support those applications too.
Treuhaft hails from VeriSign and Netscape, and the company's other co-founders came from Netscape and online photo sharing site Shutterfly, where they developed the storage technology that underlies Zetta's offering.
That technology includes a proprietary file system, encryption and security, POSIX compliance, guaranteed performance, and data integrity and protection, all for 25 cents a gigabyte per month with pricing declining based on volume and bandwidth charges that come in at about 20 percent of the data storage charges.
The company calls its RAID variation RAIN6 N+3, which stripes data across computers instead of drives and includes three parity nodes. Data integrity is ensured with SHA1 file and chunk hashing.
The company's motto is "we will not lose data," said Chris Schin, vice president of products.
Zetta's target users are companies that employ 200 to 2,000 people and have 10TB or more of data. Zetta claims it offers a more efficient storage infrastructure that is "plug and play," lower cost and easier to manage. The service "looks and performs just like a local network-mounted file server," the company says.
"We've been storage administrators ourselves for the last decade and we've built very scalable petabyte-sized storage infrastructures," said Treuhaft. "We've felt the same pain our customers have felt."
Taneja Group analyst Jeff Boles said, "In a fundamental way, they are illustrating what cloud is all about it isn't just economics, but it is about how multi-tenancy in the cloud can let organizations access interesting new technologies that they would otherwise never be able to access themselves. ... The guys at Zetta make a good case for what is required to deliver real, scalable file storage with data integrity, and that case makes such a solution seem nearly unobtainable for the average organization chasing it alone."
One early user is Jerry Levine of AQR Capital Management, who said that during beta testing he was "impressed with the versatility of the CIFS access for quick and easy access to small data files." He also used SFTP for bulk data transfer.
Levine said he's looking forward to when the service is available with greater bandwidth via fiber ring. "This will allow for the efficiency of data transfer to be maximized and thus provide a very useful tool to the enterprise looking to keep certain data online as opposed to tape, but not necessarily on tier one storage," he said.
Zetta not to be confused with the Zetta Systems acquired by Overland a few years ago is backed by $11 million in venture funding from Sigma Partners, Foundation Capital and angel investors.
The service is entering a second phase of staged customer testing and launch. For a free trial, visit www.zetta.net/freetrial.html.
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