The 10 Coolest Enterprise Cloud Storage Offerings In 2016 (So Far)

Enterprise Cloud Storage: Much More Than Enterprise Cloud Storage

Think "cloud storage" is all about storing massive amounts of data in the cloud? Well, yes, it is. But it is so much more. It's about finding new ways to manage stored data, to archive it, to protect it, to migrate it, and more.

Dozens of companies ranging from hyper-scale public cloud providers to hard drive vendors are offering innovative ways to better store, manage and protect enterprise data. It is a business that can go one of two ways:

-- Indirect, via a channel partner who can help customers find the best way to implement the technology to meet present and future requirements.

-- Direct, in which case the poor customer is on his or her own.

Because of the diversity of offerings, enterprise cloud storage is a business seemingly made for the channel. CRN has gathered 10 new offerings highlighting that diversity that were unveiled in the first half of 2016.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2016, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

Axcient Fusion Disaster Recovery As A Service

Axcient in June scaled its Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service technology to the midmarket and enterprise with the introduction of its Fusion cloud platform, designed to bring together the data from all of a customer's nonproductive workloads into a single platform.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Axcient's Fusion combines the company's hardware-less disaster recovery and archiving technology with a choice of public cloud to let customers manage data from multiple workloads. The company said such data, including data from such nonproductive workloads as backup and recovery, disaster recovery, business continuity, archiving, test and development, and data warehousing and analytics, can be consolidated into a single cloud-converged platform. Axcient Fusion can be set up and deployed in 10 minutes with a full range of services including global data deduplication, in-line WAN optimization and replication.

SwiftStack 4.0 For OpenStack Object Storage

SwiftStack, the San Francisco-based developer of a commercial version of the open-source Swift object storage technology, in April introduced SwiftStack 4.0, which is aimed at server-focused channel partners who can use the software to build OpenStack cloud-based object storage solutions.

New with SwiftStack 4.0 is integrated load balancing to help overcome potential network bottlenecks. SwiftStack 4.0 can also now export the metadata generated by object storage for use in searches with third-party indexing and search services. It also includes new data migration tools channel partners can use to help customers with capacity planning or for moving data to the SwiftStack platform, as well as an optional desktop client for Windows or Mac environments to sync and share laptop data.

Caringo Swarm 8 Cloud Search For Object Storage

Austin, Texas-based object storage software developer Caringo in February unveiled a new version of its technology that allows the metadata of storage objects across on-premise and cloud infrastructures to be easily searched.

New with Caringo Swarm 8 is the ability to do searches and queries on stored objects using object attributes or custom metadata, with the results, including insight on the relationship between objects, ready for viewing in the Swarm 8 portal or exporting. Caringo Swarm 8 also automates the data life cycle of stored objects. It gained a number of analytics capabilities as well, including an integrated NoSQL search engine, a new user interface that does simple point-and-click searches, and the ability to roll back objects to previous versions.

AWS Elastic File System

Seattle-based Amazon Web Services in June made its new Amazon Elastic File System available to all customers. Amazon EFS is a new, fully managed service for setting up and scaling file storage in the AWS Cloud. Customers can go through the AWS Management Console to create file systems that are accessible to multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances via the Network File System (NFS) protocol.

Amazon EFS automatically scales without manual provisioning of storage or throughput to petabyte scale, and supports thousands of concurrent client connections with consistent performance, the company said. It supports a broad range of file workloads including big data analytics, media processing and genomics analysis, as well as latency-sensitive workloads.

Azure Premium Storage Virtual Machine Backup

Microsoft in June unveiled the general availability of backup for premium storage virtual machines using Azure Backup. The new capability is targeted at protecting enterprise applications such as Oracle DB, Cassandra and SAP running on Azure IaaS. Backups can be enabled for both classic and ARM (Azure Resource Manager) virtual machines with premium disks, the company said. Premium disk-based storage is typically used for enterprise-critical workloads where performance is important.

The data can be restored to either premium or standard storage accounts. Data backed up from premium storage virtual machines will need to be restored to a premium storage account to get the same performance characteristics, the company said.

Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform

New York-based Ctera Networks in June enhanced its private cloud IT-as-a-service solution, the Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform, with improved military-grade security and consumer-grade ease-of-use experience capabilities as a way to improve its enterprise file sync and share and endpoint backup experience.

The Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform is a platform for storing, syncing, sharing, protecting and governing data across endpoints, remote offices and servers. It is deployed behind the firewall and leverages any private or virtual private cloud infrastructure, the company said.

Updates to the solution include native mutual authentication with support for smart cards or client certificates, enhanced data loss prevention capabilities during external file sharing and collaboration, a new mobile app, and self-service migration between PCs and Macs.

Commvault Early Adopter Program For Endpoint Data Protection, Email Archive SaaS

Commvault, Tinton Falls, N.J., in June introduced an early adopter program for two new endpoint data protection and email archive SaaS offerings it said addresses the ongoing market shift toward cloud-based solutions.

The new services provide a fully managed cloud service to automatically and securely back up data on employee laptops and desktops and archive email, reducing the risk of data loss from breaches and lost or stolen endpoint devices. It also enables enterprisewide compliance and eDiscovery of data on endpoints and in email.

Other capabilities of the new SaaS data protection solution include built-in security that allows encryption of files and folders and the ability to wipe data from lost or stolen devices, secure visibility and control over endpoint data for compliance and litigation purposes, a corporate-sanctioned file sharing service, and detailed archiving policies.

Egnyte Data Governance Solution For File Sync And Share

Egnyte, Mountain View, Calif., in June launched Egnyte Protect, calling it the first hybrid data governance solution for cloud-based or on-premise enterprise file sync and share. Egnyte Protect gives customers visibility, insight and control over files accessed in most common content environments, including popular services like Box and SharePoint.

Egnyte is storage-agnostic, letting it collect, analyze and classify activities surrounding customers’ business content whether it is in the cloud or on-premise and regardless of how it is created, accessed, edited or shared.

It includes four file services: access control to ensure data access complies with policy and regulatory requirements, selective encryption of files, data residency so that businesses can control the location of their content, and data retention policy management.

CodeLathe FileCloud 12.0 Self-Hosted Enterprise File Sharing Platform

CodeLathe, Austin, Texas, in April launched FileCloud 12.0, the latest version of its enterprise file sharing and sync platform. According to the company, FileCloud 12.0's key differentiator is FileCloud ServerLink, a remote office and branch office feature that reduces latency and enhances high availability across long distances with direct connectivity or as part of a hybrid cloud in conjunction with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud.

FileCloud 12.0 provides full text search capabilities, and allows Microsoft Office users to open, edit and save files to FileCloud directly from the application on a PC. It also lets users sync iOS device folders to a FileCloud service, with Google Android capabilities expected soon.

Veeam Direct Restore To Azure

Baar, Switzerland-based Veeam Software in March introduced Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure, a free, pre-configured Azure appliance in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace that delivers cloud restore for Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam Endpoint Backup.

Direct Restore to Microsoft Azure lets customers restore or migrate on-premise Windows-based virtual machines, physical servers or endpoints to Azure via an automated physical-to-virtual or virtual-to-virtual conversion process, the company said. Users can also execute planned workload migrations from on-site to the cloud, and take advantage of Azure-based test environments to test backup reliability and manage patches and critical updates. With the solution, Azure can be utilized as an on-demand cloud data center for disaster recovery.