Object storage vendors have always needed features and an ecosystem to prosper...
Well, the author is correct that Caringo, Ceph and Ctera were not started yesterday. Caringo's founders developed what became EMC Centera before creating their own storage software in 2005 called CAStor, now re-invented as Swarm. With 10+ years in business and probably more customers than any other object storage software vendor, Caringo has survived without being bought and is looking to tune-up its approach to the object storage market with improved usability, native search and better file level integration with Microsoft Windows Servers and NetApp filers. All good and necessary things to do.
Ceph was part of Dr. Sage Weil's PhD research and dissertation back in 2007. Ceph is open source software, but its commercial sponsor, InkTank, was purchased two years ago by Red Hat for $175M. It combines file, block and object storage, which sets it apart from a pure object storage environment. Its commercial future now resides with Red Hat, which also purchased Gluster (GlusterFS), which is a clustered file system. Ceph is also popular among OpenStack enthusiasts.
Ctera was founded in 2009 and offers on-premises appliances for backup and file sync-and-share through a backend Ctera portal connection to an object store or other types of storage. Ctera has been commercially successful both in the US and Europe in the SMB and enterprise market as well as the service provider space.
The author doesn't break a lot of new ground here. The market for PB+ scale object storage customers is about 20K worldwide according to Scality's Mr. Jerome Lecat. Scality recently received a $10M investment from HP, which could be seen as a prelude to its acquisition by HP in order to counter IBM's purchase of Cleversafe for $1.3B last year.
The company that Mr. Signoretti did not mention, although he is familiar with it, is Cloudian, which does address the "scale down" and well as the "scale out" aspect of the object storage market with their HyperStore software and appliances. Cloudian's crown jewel is its full compliance with the AWS S3 API, which means that any third party solution or appliance that works with S3 will work with Cloudian. Cloudian can also tier data to AWS S3, Glacier or another S3 compliant object store. Cloudian plans to release a "Panzura-like" global file management virtual appliance later this month that is integrated with HyperStore.
Object storage vendors are aware that being "cheap and deep" is not a formula for commercial success. Customers need solutions that run the gamut from legacy file access methods, to RESTful API access, which generally means S3 compatibility, to tighter integration with big data analytics and search. There are also differences among the object storage software vendors in terms of their architecture, management and deployment. Customers should be willing to undertake a POC and perform due diligence before selecting a vendor best suited to meeting their requirements.