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Coraid aims to be a cloud storage supplier

Coraid Inc. recently introduced its EtherDrive EX unified storage system, a high density array for block and file storage, as the company continues to try and push into large-scale cloud deployments.

The EtherDrive EX system comes with an integrated dual controllers and other redundant components within a single chassis for high availability, compared to block-based Coraid’s EtherDrive SRX and file-based EtherDrive ZX systems that each have single controllers.

A single EX chassis holds 60 drives and can scale incrementally by adding more chasses. An EX in a 4U form factor provides up to 240 Terabytes of raw capacity, while users can tailor its storage performance with a mix of SSD drives, nearline SAS drives and cache drives.  The system currently is available and it has a list price starting at $700 per Terabyte.

Gokul Sathiacama, Coraid’s vice president of product management, said the EX allows customers to start using Coraid systems at a small scale.

“We are trying to go after cloud service providers and enterprises that want private clouds,” said Sathiacama. “In that market, the agility of the platform is paramount. If you want to scale performance and capacity in a linear fashion, you can do it with the EX.”

Ashish Nadkarni, IDC’s research director in storage systems and software, said the company has been working on transitioning from being primarily a traditional storage player to a cloud supplier. Amazon uses technology that is similar to Coraid’s for its elastic block storage (EBS).

“They want to be the Amazon EBS equivalent,” he said. “Coraid wants to be the block cloud storage supplier, by making their technology friendly with things like OpenStack. They also has a software solution that helps it do cloud management. It’s a tough road to make the transition because the story is different on the cloud side. It’s about ‘How much do I get for my dollar?’ The enterprise storage (market) is crowded and crowded to the core. Even HP and Dell are struggling.”

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