Coraid delivers its flexible cloud storage vision

The race is on to make every part of the data center — from switches to storage arrays — software configurable. That’s the rationale behind Coraid’s new EtherCloud storage platform.

For EtherCloud, Coraid  is using Yunteq orchestration technology acquired last October to make its storage more flexible and adaptable to changing needs.

Redwood City, CA.-based Coraid’s storage  takes advantage of the lower-level — and very efficient — ATA-over-Ethernet protocol. That means that Coraid customers don’t need to upgrade to the pricey switches and other gear required by the fancier iSCSI or Fibre Channel protocols and still get good performance, said Jim Bagley, senior analyst with Storage Strategies Now.

Coraid CEO Kevin Brown said the resulting software will let users build and manage pools of shared storage that can then be divvied up or consolidated as needed.  EtherCloud taps into customers’ existing LDAP or AD(s msft) directories for authentication and will meter the use of compute, network and storage resources. The company said  admins will be able to deploy VMware(s vmw) ESXi VMs — and their associated storage allocation and network connections — in one click.

The company also announced programmable  EtherFlash Cache that uses solid-state drives (SSDs) to boost read performance in time-sensitive server virtualization, database and e-mail applications. That software will let customers “mix and match” drives as needed, Brown said. The use of solid-state or flash drives is another recurring theme this week as vendors prep for the Flash Summit Conference.

Coraid, which landed $50 million in Series C funding in November, is something of an up-and-comer in the a market where it faces much bigger competitors in EMC(s emc) and NetApp(s ntap).