Start-up touts hybrid cloud storage

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Start-up touts hybrid cloud storage

Aussie man and his dog to accelerate storage in the cloud.

Sydney start-up Cloud Drive has partnered with international cloud providers Amazon, Nirvanix and Rackspace to accelerate customers' access to data in the cloud.

Launched in December, the company's flagship Cloud Drive Storage Service combines on- and off- premise storage, using a local cache to complement externally hosted data.

The software requires the customer to keep one to two percent of its overall storage capacity on-premise. Data is prioritised so that recently used files stay on-premise for faster access.

According to Cloud Drive founder Aaron Peapell, the hybrid solution has been demonstrated to deliver a three-minute-long download from Amazon's cloud in "milliseconds".

"There's a lot of maths behind it," Peapell said of Cloud Drive's patented technology.

Citing a lack of cloud computing data centres in Australia, he expected local demand to be especially strong because of latency.

"There's a lack of [cloud storage] providers in the Asia Pacific region, and the few that are here are based out of Asia," he told iTnews.

"Cloud storage is really cheap, but it's quite slow," he explained. "When I demonstrated Cloud Drive to Amazon, they were all pretty much gobsmacked."

Gartner storage analyst Phil Sargeant agreed that caching frequently accessed data could decrease latency for certain cloud storage users.

"We've seen caching on networks for years," he said, noting that it had not yet been applied to cloud computing on a significant scale, and would be a "step forward" for cloud storage.

"One of the limiting factors for storage on the cloud is service speed. If it's [data is] cached, it's going to decrease latency to some degree," he told iTnews.

The Cloud Drive Storage Service is priced at US$100 (A$122) per terabyte of local storage per year, and presents all available storage - hosted or otherwise - as a local drive.

The product uses industry-standard HTTPS encryption. Peapell did not anticipate any new security issues, arguing that data was often more secure with cloud hosts, as these companies specialised in data centre provisioning.

Peapell shares the credit for founding Cloud Drive with his dog, Lucky. The software took three years to develop, and grew from technology that aims to reclaim and consolidate otherwise wasted storage space from multiple machines.

That technology is now offered as an optional, free addition to the Cloud Drive Storage Service, called the Cloud Drive Network Accelerator.

"The initial idea was how to make lots of little bits of storage look like one big cluster of storage," Peapell explained.

Initially, the product is targeted at the media industry, with trials underway at News Corp in New York and in Australia.

Peapell is also in discussions about providing Cloud Drive as an add-on service through Nirvanix and Houston-based cloud storage platform Mezeo.

There are also ongoing discussions with venture capitalists, and other cloud computing giants about better integrating Cloud Drive with their cloud storage platforms.

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