Cirtas Launches Cloud Storage Controller

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Cirtas Systems emerged from stealth mode today with a controller technology that is analogous to traditional RAID controllers, but that has been designed to use the cloud rather than local disk drives for storage capacity.

The company’s first product, dubbed the Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller, makes cloud storage work like onsite enterprise data storage arrays for mid-market enterprise organizations.

According to Cirtas, cloud storage controllers provide the same functionality as the controller units in an enterprise storage array, but overlays its capabilities on top of public cloud storage services to enhance their native functionality.

Because Bluejet storage is natively thin-provisioned, customers pay only for data actually stored in the cloud. Once installed on a SAN, Bluejet’s CloudCache technology migrates data between a high-performance local cache and the cloud based on data access patterns, leaving the most recently and frequently accessed data cached on Bluejet while older data is stored in the cloud.

Cirtas is positioning the Bluejet as much more than a gateway to the cloud. The company claims its controller technology removes the barriers to the adoption of cloud as an enterprise-class storage solution.

“Today’s cloud is not truly a replacement for enterprise storage. Enterprise organizations won’t use cloud storage as is because it is insecure, slow, costly, and lacks enterprise-class features,” said Josh Goldstein, vice president of marketing and product management at Cirtas. “People tend to think about the cloud as a [storage repository] for dormant data.”

Those enterprise-class features include data encryption (in transit and at rest in the cloud), automated tiering, data deduplication, built-in WAN optimization and compression, snapshots, and the ability to provision unlimited capacity using multiple cloud providers – all of which are provided by Bluejet.

Cirtas is careful to point out that the Bluejet controller is more than just a cloud gateway. “It’s very easy to make something that connects you to the cloud – something that talks SAN on one side and cloud on the other. Making a device that is truly a replacement for a storage array is a whole other ball of wax,” said Goldstein.

On the back end, Cirtas has secured strategic alliances with cloud storage providers, including Amazon (a Series A investor in the company) and Iron Mountain, among others, which enables its users to mix and match services across cloud storage platforms to create hybrid solutions.

Cirtas Bluejet is available at a starting price of $69,995 from Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), Saturn Business Systems, NuSpective, Extend Networks, Syscom, EnPointe, Bear Data Systems, Trace3, Network Hardware, and Bedrock, with additional value added resellers to be named soon.

Part of the Cirtas game plan is to incentivize customers with a no-charge 60 day evaluation program. Under the program, qualified businesses will receive one Cirtas Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller to evaluate for 60 days and Cirtas will pay the fees accrued from their chosen third party cloud storage provider(s) over the trial period.

In conjunction with the launch of the Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller, Cirtas announced that it has closed a Series A funding round of $10 million. Cirtas’ roster of investors includes NEA, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon.

Cirtas will put its funding capital to work building infrastructure in support of the development and adoption of its Bluejet technology, including acquisition of engineering talent and the scaling of its marketing, sales and customer deployment teams.

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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