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October 28, 2014

European firms turning to ‘cloud’ on-premise storage

Zadara Storage signs up European Space Agency and adds Azure support as cloud business models are brought on-premise.

By Ben Sullivan

European firms are warming to the idea of on-demand on-premise virtual storage faster than their US counterparts, according to Noam Shendar, a VP at storage firm Zadara.

Zadara provides on-demand storage within On-Premise as a Service (OPaaS) solutions, and Shendar, the vice president of business development for the company, said that the cost and flexibility of on-demand storage is attracting European firms which are still recovering from the financial crisis but still want to grow.

Zadara’s services effectively bring the cloud business model to on-premise environments, with similar flexbility and scalability found on the cloud.

By way of proving his remarks, Zadara has announced that the European Space Agency will be a new customer for the firm’s on-demand storage services.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will use Zadara’s hardware agnostic on-premise storage to hold evolving data about volcanic eruptions for civilian airlines.

Zadara also announced the expansion of availability for its VPSA service to include Microsoft Azure, with Azure users now getting access to the storage functionality within European boundaries.

Announcing the news at Frankfurt’s Powering the Cloud conference, Shendar said: "This has been a very good month for us in terms of our European traction."

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"Europe is not yet enjoying the financial recovery that the US is. Companies still need a way to grow without spending. They need to spend less without sacrificing employees," Shendar told CBR.

The European Space Agency will using satellite data stored on the Zadara Virtual Private Storage Array (VSPA) to gain a better understanding of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and by so doing help reduce the loss to life and property as well as the economic impact caused by these natural disasters. The Zadara VPSA service, offered by CloudSigma as Scale-Out Magnetic Storage, provides ESA’s team with flexible storage with the necessary performance and scalability to run its analyses and store the satellite data and computational results.

Zadara Storage CEO, Nelson Nahum, said: "This is a great example of the power of the cloud when it comes to providing a public service. The combination of Zadara Storage and CloudSigma has provided the European Space Agency a powerful, elastic, rapidly deployable platform on which to run its applications and store its data.

"Additionally, the platform is much more cost effective than purchasing on-site storage – ensuring public funds are used as effectively as possible."

Zadara, founded in 2007, has received $13m of funding from Toshiba, and is approaching 100 customers, including the London School of Business and Finance.

The company provides virtual storage in the format of petabyte/hours, and has so far racked up 7500 petabyte/hours in 2014.

Shendar said: "We don’t think in terms of capacity, we think in terms of build."

Julio Carreira, a capacity manager at the European Space Agency, said: "We need large amounts of high performance storage, because our data archive is very large and growing.

"By having our choice of good performance, cost effective storage as well as high-performance SSD storage, all of which is elastic and on-demand, we’re able to quickly and cost effectively deploy our platform, whose goal is to use Earth Observation data to protect both life and property from earthquake and volcanic hazards."

Shendar shattered comparisons with storage providers such as EMC. He said: "Ask the customers what they think, they like their [storage] products, but they don’t like what they have to do for the products. Their products are high maintenance."

"Every few years they have to replace the product. Until recently, customers were okay with this. But now that the cloud is around they see a different way of business. With cloud there are no long term decisions.

Zadara offers storage solutions through a customer’s on-premise hardware for a minimum contract of six months, but customers can also recieve storage by the hour if using hardware from co-location data centres and service providers. But Shendar said that it is the firm’s on-premise solutions that is the attraction.

"Most customers want to see the storage. They don’t yet trust storage which is invisible."

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