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EMC's most prominent customer is AT&T. The AT&T Synaptic Storage virtual private cloud, however, is a hybrid storage cloud offering that's quite different from others. It runs in AT&T data centers, but is accessed by customers through AT&T's MPLS network. As a result, it combines security and performance of private clouds with the economics and scalability of public cloud offerings.

Besides EMC Atmos, there are several other cloud storage software products. Caringo Inc. brought CAStor Content Storage Software into this market by repositioning its content addressable storage (CAS) product as a cloud storage solution. Cleversafe Inc. offers a cloud storage platform that leverages information dispersal algorithms (IDAs) that slice data across nodes in the cloud, eliminating the need for replication; Cleversafe claims it has achieved substantially higher storage utilization than products that have to store multiple copies of data on storage nodes for redundancy.

Hybrid cloud storage gateways

Cloud storage gateways sit between on-premise storage and public cloud storage. They translate between traditional storage protocols and the more esoteric cloud storage protocols and APIs. Historically, public cloud storage could only be accessed via custom integration. Furthermore, cloud gateways perform data migration of data from on-premise storage into public cloud storage and vice versa, usually via policy engines.

Cloud storage

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gateways differ in several key areas. They're either block or file based; and they present themselves within the data center as block-based storage or NAS devices. Data deduplication and compression are critical cloud gateway features, as both features significantly impact cloud storage cost. Encryption of data in-transit and while stored in the storage cloud is a must. Some gateways are designed and optimized for backup and archival, some are closely integrated with applications like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, and others are targeted as a transactional cloud storage tier to supplement internal storage tiers.



This was first published in January 2011

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