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Coraid Inc. launches EtherCloud for EtherDrive SAN

Coraid EtherCloud software runs on the company's EtherDrive SAN platform to help quickly provision storage services for private clouds.

Coraid Inc. this week unveiled its EtherCloud platform, designed to bring "Amazon-like" automation to private clouds so the process of mapping storage resources to applications is reduced from days to minutes.

EtherCloud incorporates orchestration and management software that Redwood City, Calif.-based Coraid gained through its Yunteq acquisition last year. Yunteq technology brings multitenancy, a RESTful API and policy-driven control over cloud infrastructure resources.

Coraid EtherDrive SAN systems are based on a lightweight ATA over Ethernet (AoE) protocol and standard Ethernet switches to handle block storage. Coraid claims its systems perform better than iSCSI storage at a lower price.

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EtherCloud software runs on EtherDrive storage, dynamically allocating storage resources to applications via pre-defined services delivered to multiple tenants. Administrators set policies mapping storage requests to storage services with different performance and data protection requirements. Coraid claims EtherCloud allows administrators to provision storage in approximately 30 minutes, and that provisioning consists of mainly one-time scripting.

EtherCloud gives organizations a way to quickly configure and deploy the type of cloud storage services Amazon offers in its subscription public cloud services, said CEO Kevin Brown.

"Deploying server virtualization has been getting a lot better, [but] configuring storage can take weeks," Brown said. "That has been a sore point in the industry. You can't launch the application until the storage is configured."

EtherCloud's policy engine connects data center infrastructure to applications through REST APIs. Coraid claims EtherCloud allows administrators to create pools of storage and grow them on demand; instantiate VMware ESXi virtual machines with storage allocation and network connectivity in one click; and meter storage, compute and network usage.

"This is like a lifeboat for IT departments that now have to deliver more services with less people while management is saying, 'If you don't, we'll get out our credit cards and go to Amazon,'" said James Bagley, senior analyst at Austin, Texas-based Storage Strategies Now.

EtherCloud can also benefit from Coraid's new EtherFlash Cache module that uses a real-time caching algorithm so more frequently read data is served from solid-state drives (SSDs). Administrators can customize the cache to meet service-level agreements (SLAs).

Multiple SSDs can be added to elastically scale out cache capacity. For instance, if an application needs more processing capacity at a certain time in the month, the EtherFlash Cache can be customized to allocate more cache resources to the application for that period of time. The EtherFlash Cache runs on Coraid's storage-tiering Ethernet Flash software.

"It's about taking cache and making it more liquid," Coraid's Brown said. "You can re-allocate the cache for better turbo charging and change the performance profile of an application."

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