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Ctera Networks CEO: enterprise subscriptions spiking

Ctera Networks claimed subscription revenue for its enterprise file services platform more than doubled in fiscal 2017, pushing the company to record results for the year.

As a private company, Ctera Networks does not publicly disclose revenue. But CEO and co-founder Liran Eshel said the company boosted its direct customer total by about 30% to roughly 200. New additions included the McDonald’s fast-food chain, J. Walter Thompson marketing agency, and Henry Schein medical, dental and veterinary supply distributor.

Eshel said Ctera Networks focused on customers that care about security, and the top vertical industries in its customer base are financial services and government agencies. The U.S. Department of Defense expanded its deployments of Ctera’s products during the past year, connecting users and bases to highly secure private cloud-based object storage, he said.

Cloud partners running services based on Ctera’s products potentially have thousands of small and medium-sized business customers that indirectly use the company’s software, according to Eshel. He said Ctera Networks has scored “serious wins” with major cloud service providers such as Telefonica, Orange, Swisscom, Telecom Italia and Bezeq.

Ctera’s progress during the past year extended to the partnership front, where Eshel said the company grew business with Dell EMC and Amazon Web Services and struck reselling agreements with IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Eshel claimed he’s seen a significant uptick in the past few months with IBM and HPE. He said Ctera is on IBM’s price book through the vendor’s Passport Advantage program and is part of the HPE Complete Program, which offers a validated HPE and Ctera system with a single support contract.

CEO touts ‘edge to cloud’

The major new industry trend that Eshel noted for this year is “edge to cloud,” driven by machine-generated data and internet of things (IoT). He said many customers want to connect remote branches and IoT devices that produce content to their cloud or multi-cloud environments. He cited examples such as media agencies with large video files, health care organizations with images and transportation companies with telemetric data.

“Latency, distance and security all create challenges [in] ingesting, analyzing and moving the data from edge to cloud,” Eshel said.

He said Ctera had to add more caching and automatic tiering capabilities to address those needs. He said the company has an artificial intelligence-powered decision engine to determine which data stays at the edge and which goes to the cloud. Other technologies that help to address the edge-to-cloud needs include data compression and encryption, he said.

Ctera Networks offers two options for customers to get data from the edge. Eshel said they can run Ctera software on the host, or edge device, for “mounting the cloud” to the PC or volume. The second option is a server-based edge filer, or gateway appliance, which can steer everything the customer puts on it to the cloud, he said.

“When you have high latency, a large amount of data generation at the edge and multiple users of the site, the bridging devices – the edge filer, the gateway device – is the better approach because it accumulates all the data from all of the clients in the edge location. And it’s a shared local storage cache,” Eshel said. “When you have lower amounts of data and roaming users in multiple [locations], then the host-based solution is better.”

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