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Startup Yottabyte develops OS for enterprise cloud storage

Yottabyte delivers an operating system that lets customers build enterprise cloud storage, either on-premise or hosted in the startup's cloud.

Yottabyte is coming out of stealth today with an operating system that the startup claims will handle most storage management features and enable companies to build private, public and hybrid enterprise cloud storage.

Yottabyte Enterprise 2.0 has been in beta for several months and became generally available today. An edition of the software for service providers is due by mid-2013. The vendor bills it as a tool to help enterprises and cloud service providers build Google- and Amazon-like clouds using commodity hardware or running on an existing storage area network (SAN).

The distributed Yottabyte file system serves as a content delivery network and handles deduplication, snapshots, synchronization and replication. The Yottabyte file system has the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor bundled in. Yottabyte software can also install on existing SAN or network-attached storage (NAS) systems and enable customers to take advantage of thin provisioning, caching, disk scheduling, mirroring and LUN management on the arrays.

"We believe the cloud is not something you buy, it's something you do," said Duane Tursi, Yottabyte founder and VP of sales and marketing. "We're looking to bring public cloud technology from companies like Google and Amazon to the enterprise."

Customers can use the cloud OS to build private enterprise storage clouds or to connect to Yottabyte's public cloud. The next version will enable service providers to build public clouds.

Tursi said Yottabyte will not support public clouds such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Windows Azure. "Out of the gate, customers can connect to our cloud," he said. Yottabyte has data centers on each coast and another in Bloomfield Township, Mich., where the startup is based.

Tursi referred to Yottabyte's software as a virtual data center, and the vendor claimed its software can do virtually everything in the data center. Yottabyte will compete with cloud storage providers such as Nirvanix, but isn't stopping there.

Yottabyte put together a chart of its features listing SAN and NAS software, deduplication, continuous data protection (CDP), replication, backup software, tape and disk targets, remote office storage and servers, file transfer software and encryptions. It identifies EMC, NetApp, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Symantec, Quantum, FalconStor, VMware, Citrix, Brocade, QLogic, Emulex, Dropbox and as competitors whose products it can replace. So is Yottabyte all that, or is its marketing just a lot of "yotta, yotta, yotta?"

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Peters said Yottabyte's software seems similar to what vendors are starting to call storage hypervisors or software-defined storage with a file system thrown in it. However, he wonders if the vendor's plans are overly ambitious.

"They want to be something that can control and manage everything. But you can't fight everyone in the business," he said. "It’s like jumping into the ring with every fighter in every weight class in every martial art.

"The two rays of light I see for Yottabyte are that it's focusing on the cloud and there's a definite interest in doing great things with software and commoditized hardware," Peters said. "It can take any commodity hardware, virtual machine or piece of storage and control, provision and manage it in one place."

Pricing for enterprises looking to build a private cloud is $2,750 a year per appliance for a three-year subscription. Customers who want to use the Yottabyte cloud must pay 15 cents per month, per gigabyte of deduplicated data.

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