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Lenovo, Cloudian Partner On Amazon S3-Compatible Object Storage Appliance

Lenovo, which already works with Nutanix on hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, has added Cloudian to its stable of software-focused storage partners, this time with an emphasis on the object storage market.

Software-defined storage vendor Cloudian is partnering with server vendor Lenovo to bring an object storage appliance compatible with Amazon’s S3 public cloud to the channel.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Cloudian and Lenovo, which has its U.S. headquarters in Morrisville, N.C., on Monday unveiled an appliance combining Cloudian's HyperStore software with a Lenovo Storage DX8200C system, touting it as a simple way to bring object storage with unlimited scalability and multitenancy to the Amazon S3 cloud.

The solution ships preconfigured, making it a rack-ready solution targeting big data applications, said Paul Turner, Cloudian chief marketing officer.

[Related: Opening Up: 9 Privately Held Storage Vendors Break Out Some Financials]

"This is a best-of-breed solution for a market moving towards more compute-based storage," Turner told CRN. "It features native object storage capabilities, and is Amazon S3-compliant."

Stuart McRae, director of product planning and marketing for the Lenovo storage business unit, told CRN that his company is still a relatively small storage provider, and that building appliances in partnership with companies like Cloudian gives it flexibility in how it will approach the storage market.

"The growth of data is huge," McRae said. "Traditional legacy storage solutions can't scale to meet the growth. We have relationships with a wide range of industry partners, and are looking at how to leverage those partnerships to solve customer solutions."

Customers may not yet be ready to fully embrace public clouds, but they are ready to take advantage of cloud-like flexibility, McRae said. "So we looked for the right partner," he said. "Cloudian is such a partner with object storage and scale-out capabilities. Software-defined storage can be complex. We work with Cloudian to give one avenue for support and a complete solution."

Lenovo is no stranger to combining its x86-based server hardware with software from strategic storage partners. The company earlier this year signed a partnership to build hyper-converged infrastructure appliances with San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix.

Lenovo will handle Level 1 and Level 2 support for customers and partners of the Lenovo-Cloudian object storage solution, and will escalate support to Cloudian if needed, McRae said.

The solution includes the full range of Cloudian capabilities, including erasure coding, replication, encryption and multitenant support, Turner said.


McRae admitted that a lot of Lenovo partners do not yet have the skills needed to tackle the object storage market. "We have a dedicated team of sellers to help our partner community, and we're helping them work with Cloudian sales reps," he said. "Our model is to identify opportunities and pull in our storage specialists."

At least one longtime Lenovo partner is looking forward to the Lenovo-Cloudian object storage solution.

San Francisco-based Fusionstorm has recently started working with Cloudian to evangelize the object storage business, and has also been offering public cloud services using Amazon, said Alvin Chu, the solution provider's senior director for solutions.

"Fusionstorm has just starting offering public cloud with Amazon Web Services," Chu told CRN. "Customers can use AWS as a backup target for Cloudian. We have a lot of customers with private clouds who are also looking at public clouds and how to tie them together."

For Fusionstorm, Cloudian has done a good job in working with hybrid public and private clouds, Chu said. "Their support for Amazon S3 is probably the best," he said. "The Lenovo-Cloudian solution takes out complexity. Customers see time to value -- from concept to design to building the architecture to deployment can be time-consuming. This solution shortens the time to value."

Fusionstorm has been seeing significant growth with its Lenovo server business, Chu said. "We see Lenovo as an opportunity for us to add value," he said. "For customers, software-defined storage is in general a complex technology to deploy. So many customers are reluctant to go full-blown software-defined. Unless they have a partner like us to help. That's our value."

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