I’m very happy to share that PacketFabric will be acquiring and deploying distributed RSTOR object storage technology at the edge of the PacketFabric NaaS. We believe the combination creates a unique position to help customers on their cloud and cloud storage journey, create more value for our partners, and power the enterprise cloud data core. Networking is the definition of data in motion and we’ve added more “store” to our “store and forward” architecture.
What is a “cloud data core?” It’s the natural complement to the cloud core that enterprises are building as the heart of the digitally transformed business, based on colocation data centers, cloud providers, cloud based services and SaaS; all connected via our on-demand NaaS platform. The cloud data core is the set of data stores distributed across that hybrid and multi-cloud core. By adding a realtime, collaboration-friendly tier of object storage across our global network, we’re not just connecting the cloud data core, we’re making it more agile.
The Enterprise Cloud Storage Journey Is In Early Stages and Has Some Friction
Enterprises are growing their storage capacity, and increasingly looking to do so outside of the traditional data center. The move to cloud storage is an attractive solution to their needs. But there’s a hitch. It turns out that moving all that data isn’t easy. In fact, it can be maddeningly slow, because network connectivity is a major friction point for cloud storage and data movement. The joke goes: “What’s the best way to move your data into the cloud?” Answer: “Fedex,” (as in fedexing hard drives). There’s not a snowball’s chance that that’s a good idea.
If it’s that hard to get data into cloud storage, imagine how hard it is to move data across your hybrid and multi-cloud core. And what if you need to use data from one or more clouds in a transient fashion? Hybrid and multi-cloud means that data is inherently becoming more distributed. Workflows across a hybrid and multi-cloud architecture also means volumetric data flows between those distributed data stores. Enterprises badly need a solution for this friction, to gain an enabler for data mobility.
This is a problem worth solving.
Data Mobility = Data Value
The combination of storage and network goes beyond moving baseline IT applications like backup, storage and retrieval and disaster recovery to the cloud to optimize cost and resilience. These are great applications (which we will continue to support), particularly for data protection, but this view of cloud storage is reductive and short-sighted.
For data to deliver more value, it has to really “work”. The Enterprise has to move beyond data migration, data protection, and data management and exploit on-demand flows of data to support hybrid and remote workforces that are operating on common data sets across town or across the world. Data has to get to the right applications, tools and users with both high performance and security. Data movement is becoming more symmetrical and bidirectional. Low latency reads and low latency writes are normalizing.
Collaboration is increasingly not just around text documents but also for unstructured data. An unmistakable example is in media and entertainment (M&E), where distributed teams need to process and collaborate in real-time around VFX data that is volumetric in the extreme.
Data value today is being unlocked by analytics tools in potentially different organizations on different platforms often integrating private and commercial (third party) data sets, whether for retail, healthcare, research and development, or financial organizations. New tools and architectures (are you ETL or ELT?) are coming to the market that normalize data from multiple sources, enrich it and enable secure sharing. The linkages in the resulting applications can appear as permanent continuous “migrations” of data to a new “center of gravity” or a completely distributed data infrastructure.
NaaS + Object Storage + Data Synchronization = Superior Data Mobility
The vision behind this acquisition concept is that combining our massively scalable and on-demand network, a distributed object storage tier with global object locking, plus multi-cloud data synchronization capabilities is just what’s needed for enterprises to gain meaningful data mobility. This trio perfectly complements the more centralized components of hybrid cloud storage in data centers and hyperscale cloud provider object buckets.
PacketFabric can now address the need for seamless data motion across edge, data center, hyperscale and alternative cloud providers. A distributed and edge-based approach powered by our carrier-class network can help enterprises move their data with better performance to and between the major portions of their hybrid and multi-cloud architecture.
Great News for our Partners
Distributed, regional object storage at the edge of our >50Tbps network will immediately address enterprise use cases like backup/archive, low-latency data motion for M&E cloud production, media serving, video surveillance, and many other simple but essential cloud storage use cases.
But, a data mobility solution isn’t the same thing as a primary cloud storage solution.
We are going to enable customers to move faster and more efficiently to cloud storage, whether that be AWS S3, Azure Blob, Google Cloud Storage, or something hosted by any one of our partners. The point of positioning distributed object storage across our network, connected via our high-speed fabric to data centers, clouds, and SaaS is to enable data velocity and increase the value of the entire cloud ecosystem while reducing the impact of one of the largest barriers to data sharing – unpredictable egress charges from public cloud storage. We think this is great news for our partners across the board.
Storage and networking in the cloud environment are both API-driven (designed to complement cloud service consumption automation) Both RSTOR and Packetfabric currently support rich APIs that are embodied in our individual portals – which also reflect our individual BSS(s). In the short term, partners will be able to functionally integrate with our complete solution through our respective APIs. For their convenience, in the longer term, our goal is to make these a single platform at those higher business functions. These APIs enable partners with a shared vision of faster, lower-cost and more operationally efficient storage by providing transparent, easily integrated infrastructure to power their solutions in more locations.
We also see this solution creating new partnerships where AI/ML, IoT, Analytics and other large scale data intensive applications and workflows will be addressable – particularly in combination with the PacketFabric Cloud Router to enable low latency transport in and between clouds.
Towards Data Mobility as a Service
The combination of PacketFabric and RSTOR will provide our customers and partners an easier on-ramp to cloud storage and greater data mobility. We’re happy to have RSTOR join the PacketFabric product family and delighted to start working with our existing and future customers in crafting distributed and hyper-connected storage architectures to meet their IT and digital transformation goals.