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Introduction

From its founding, Zadara Storage has demonstrated itself as an innovator in the crowded field of data storage. At its annual Zadara Summit 2015 held in Las Vegas, NV, the company welcomed 75 of its very loyal customers. Neuralytix was invited as one of only three analyst firms to attend this event.

As soon as the event started, there was no question that the customers who attended the conference were “die-hard” believers. In fact, the event was as much a religious service dedicated to the admiration as much as a technology showcase and private preview to the new features Zadara announced on June 23, 2015.

New features

Zadara announced two key features to its enterprise storage-as-a-service and on-premise [storage]-as-a-service (OPaaS) offerings:

  • Backup to Amazon S3 (and by extension, Glacier); and
  • Docker container support.

As an “as-a-Service” offering, the support for backup to Amazon S3 (known in Zadara nomenclature as B2S3) is both innovative and highly desired. Customers who invest in Zadara solutions are about simplicity, function and a highly managed and predictable storage experience. By integrating Amazon S3 (and S3-compatible services) to the feature list of Zadara’s offerings means that not only is primary storage elastic, easy and cost effective, it now provides an additional layer of disaster recovery from an off-premise, highly respected third- and fourth-tier of storage.

Customers can configure how long data is stored on the S3 service before migrating to Glacier, Amazon’s super low cost cold storage. Essentially, Zadara is now offering tier 0/1 (flash), tier 1 (traditional rotating magnetic HDD), “VTL”-like tier 2 (Amazon S3), and tier 3 (Glacier).

Neuralytix research shows that no other as-a-Service with enterprise features has this level of flexibility and cost elasticity.

As far as Docker support (known in Zadara nomenclature as Zadara Container Services, aka ZCS) is concerned, this feature allows users to run tasks directly within the storage service itself. The benefit of ZCS is simple, it enables users to run code with close to zero latency between the application and its data, resulting in the highest performance possible.

Some of its early adopters include customers in the media and entertainment (M&E) vertical that continue to find solutions that maximize performance, at a cost efficient price, with capacity elasticity.

Happy customers, happy partners

Neuralytix continues to believe that Zadara will maintain its leadership for some time to come. Interviewing customers at the Summit, Neuralytix noticed the very high percentage of customers who assessed solutions from NetApp (as well as other traditional vendors) and found the offerings to be less than ideal. Most of the customers noted that traditional storage vendors could only offer leases for their products, but were not able to offer the typical elastic pricing that is akin to the modern concept of on-demand pricing (such as what Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure offers.)

A number of academic and government customers expressed how Zadara’s pricing enabled them to invest in the enterprise level storage capacity from Zadara (along with its enterprise features, including multi-tenancy) without needing to involve capital investment, and allowing their internal customers to understand exactly how much they are spending on storage capacity.

At the conference, a number of Zadara’s partners also indicated how they were able to construct service-led opportunities for their customers, increasing their margins, and differentiating their solutions against traditional storage vendors.

Guidance

Neuralytix believes that the “-as-a-Service” approach to storage capacity will increase over the next several years. This is a disruptive approach to the entire storage industry that continues to commoditize at a rapid pace.

With the subscription approach, and now with added-value features such as Backup to S3 (B2S3) and Zadara Container Services (ZCS), Zadara is able to create greater value within their service, allowing them to outpace their competitors.

The Zadara service also allows small-and-medium businesses (SMB) who value the enterprise features normally only available on enterprise on-premise arrays to migrate their infrastructure to an all-cloud, on-demand architecture.

These announcements by Zadara also demonstrate its ability to be agile and address the needs of its customers in an accelerated manner without disruption to its existing customers operation, as well as improving the availability and options for customers to acquire storage capacity based on actual needs and cost.