After EMC-TwinStrata, can independent cloud storage gateway players stay that way?

Cloud computing / in the cloud / cloud storage

With storage giant EMC gobbling up TwinStrata, two years after Microsoft did the same with StorSimple, you have to wonder about the fate of the remaining independent cloud storage gateway providers.

Can Avere Systems, Nasuni, Panzura and CTERA Networks remain on their own? Do they want to? I’m guessing execs at those companies would argue that this is a big market, but there’s no question it is also hotly competitive, and with EMC and Microsoft throwing their weight around, things will likely heat up further.

That’s not to say the independents are staying still. A day after the EMC news, Panzura said it’s partnering with Google to offer 2TB of free storage (for a year) in conjunction with the Google Cloud Platform.

“By enabling businesses to continue to use traditional on premises storage protocols while seamlessly moving data to the Google object store in the cloud, Google and Panzura are removing the barriers to cloud adoption,” Panzura said in a statement.

Update: As the dust settles from theEMC deal, the independents are (as usual) claiming that the acquisition validates their business plan. This morning, this came in from CTERA’s  SVP of marketing Jeff Denworth:

“The world is moving toward enabling cloud storage adoption, bridging to new IT deployment models. This acquisition signals a validation of CTERA’s product category and focus. The EMC VMAX product team is echoing the already strong partnership we have with the EMC ViPR team.”

Earlier this month CTERA closed $25 million in new VC backing, bringing total funding to about $45 million. By some estimates more than $200 million in venture capital has flowed into cloud storage gateways since 2010.

Reached for comment after the TwinStrata news, Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriguez (pictured below) said he did not view TwinStrata as a direct competitor to Nasuni since it focuses on block storage only. Rather, he considers Panzura and Avere to be Nasuni’s most direct rivals.

Not surprisingly, Rodriguez also said he expects the acquisition to benefit the remaining serious players.

“We are all trying to build better storage systems and that vision goes far beyond using the cloud as a dumping ground for unused data. Not having these basic block-gateways trying to compete for attention will reduce the level of noise in the market and, just like with StorSimple, once any technology is in the hands of a large company, it has a way of disappearing.”

Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriguez

Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriguez

He acknowledged, however, that the EMC-TwinStrata news will “cause a lot of noise in the market” for the foreseeable future.

That “noise” includes a growing feeling that independent cloud storage gateway companies are playing a high-stakes game of musical chairs — with a limited number of chairs (buyers) still available.

This story was updated at 12:39 p.m. PST with CTERA comment.

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