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StorageOS rebrands, launches SaaS platform for Kubernetes

StorageOS, a persistent cloud storage vendor for Kubernetes developers, rebrands as Ondat and expands its product lineup with a new SaaS platform for IT admins.

Ondat, the company formerly known as StorageOS, has expanded its product portfolio with a new SaaS platform, enabling both IT teams and developers to allocate storage for Kubernetes applications.

The online platform marks the first new product launch since the storage startup changed its name in October.

Ondat's new online platform complements the Kubernetes storage software's existing command-line interface and gives a GUI to the abilities and tools of Ondat's persistent Kubernetes container storage platform.

The new online platform enables enterprise IT teams to examine the storage within chosen data centers, monitor storage pool performance and enable customers to deploy their own database as a service for users.

Dave Raffo, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group, said the name change and new online platform mark a more developer-centric focus for Ondat and its products.

Developers don't want to be managing storage, they want to be managing the data.
Dave RaffoSenior analyst, Evaluator Group

"They're trying to get away from pitching themselves as storage," Raffo said. "It's not about the storage, it's about the data. Developers don't want to be managing storage, they want to be managing the data."

The platform is currently available to existing Ondat customers in beta with a general release expected in a few months.

New name, new aims

The Ondat platform is described by the company as software-defined, cloud-native storage for Kubernetes application development. The platform aggregates all storage across a customer's nodes into a pool, enabling developers to point apps to a singular, persistent storage source rather than provision for every container instance.

Ondat executives said the new platform should enable IT administrators to allocate storage faster and easier while Kubernetes-centric developers can remain focused on creating and maintaining stateful apps.

"You end up in this scenario where developers have this superpower [with Kubernetes], but the data element was still causing lock-in," said Alex Chircop, founder and CEO of Ondat.

The new online platform could increase adoption of the storage startup as web portals and more user-friendly features mark a maturing platform, Raffo said.

"Developers don't mind using command lines, that's how they work," Raffo said. "But at some point, IT people are going to have to use these products. They have to make sure the data is backed up, it has the right encryption policies … they're going to use GUIs."

Ondat growth mindset

The new Ondat moniker comes as the company plans further expansion through an increase in headcount, which Chircop expects to more than double to 50 by the end of the year.

Ondat first launched as StorageOS in 2016 and focused primarily on container storage for Kubernetes and Docker, according to Chircop. As with most of the industry, the company eventually began focusing on supporting Kubernetes container storage.

Ondat competes with other Kubernetes storage orchestrator vendors such as Pure Storage's Portworx and Vultr, as well as open source software such as OpenEBS and Rook.

"Any organization leveraging Kubernetes needs to understand container-based applications place different -- and often more extreme -- requirements on infrastructure, especially storage," said Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget. "Simplifying and accelerating resource provisioning is incredibly important and should be a priority. In addition, however, containers were designed to be portable, so solutions that offer hardware and location independence often simplify that portability, which creates additional value."

The company's continued push into Kubernetes storage isn't surprising, Raffo said.

He pointed out other companies offering Kubernetes storage are changing their branding to catch the attention of developers rather than IT administrators.

IBM's Red Hat changed the name of its OpenShift Container Storage to OpenShift Data Foundation, a move similar to Ondat but without as much fanfare, according to Raffo.

"[Ondat is] very involved in the developer community -- that's their base," he said. "I don't think the term storage is resonating with their audience."

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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