Home Zetta Offers Enterprise Cloud Storage to the Mid-market

Zetta Offers Enterprise Cloud Storage to the Mid-market

The spiraling costs of supporting unstructured data such as active file archives, home directories, data migrations, media storage, and data warehouse extensions is a headache for most medium-sized Enterprises. Zetta, a startup out of Sunnyvale, CA is offering to relieve the mid-size customer of the burden of supporting their growing storage needs.

Zetta introduced its Enterprise Cloud Storage for primary data solution at the Storage Networking World conference in Orlando this week. Starting at twenty-five cents a gigabyte, it’s a pay as you grow alternative for mid-market customers. These size IT shops have distinctive needs that limit their choices for data storage. The escalating cost of storage is in the unstructured, network-attached arena because customers have to keep email around longer; they can’t purge their data the way they used to because of regulatory requirements; and the increase of electronic communications with high storage requirements results in a nightmarish unstructured data problem. Once the company realizes it’s butting up against the limit of the capacity, they have two choices. The first choice is to buy more storage, but it’s expensive and time-consuming and before you know it, you’re at capacity and have to do it all over again. The second choice is to go with a web 2.0 option such as Amazon’s S3, but those options “are not built for the Enterprise customer,” according to Chris Schin, VP Products for Zetta. Schin says they lack the data protection and data integrity that the Enterprise customer requires.

Zetta’s answer takes the best from both scenarios. It offers a cloud file system in a genuine multi-tenant environment, including RAID technologies, PKI based security, and geo-redundant data collection, storage and distribution. It appears to that IT professional just like the additional network-attachment storage (NAS) box he might put on his network. It takes the characteristics of the enterprise NAS files the enterprise wants and needs and adapts it to the on demand business model.

Zetta’s management team has street cred in building and running multi-petabyte enterprise storage infrastructures having contributed to the commercialization of the web at Netscape and running operations at Shutterfly. But as a first mover in this space, Zetta may have a tough time convincing customers and the industry this is a sound alternative. Phil Wainewright, a leading SaaS blogger and consultant, expressed some doubt about Zetta’s opportunity. “Maybe this is an advance on what mid-size businesses have previously had access to, but it’s not exactly what I would call cloud storage. Fact is, if enterprises really want to benefit from cloud computing, they are going to have to learn some new APIs. Anyone that tells you different is pulling the wool over your eyes,” he said.

Others in the storage game also expressed concern over the notion of outsourcing storage in general. “If you’re outsourcing your primary data to another party, you’re asking for trouble– especially in this economy,” said Jeff Flasco, Storage Solutions Specialist, at Ryjac Computer Solutions. “It’s not something I would ever, ever recommend to a client unless they were so small that they couldn’t afford it. If it’s an Enterprise account? There’s no way a company is going to trust 10 -50 terabytes of data to a cloud or to a company that has no background.”

Zetta raised $11M in a round of financing led by Foundation Capital and Sigma Partners. The company launched in 2007 and employs 25 people. Zetta stands for 10 to the 21st power, or, a sextillion.

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