Wasabi Technologies: Making Cloud Storage a Simple and Open-Standard Commodity

by February 23, 2018 0 comments

The popularity of cloud-based storage has grown significantly with the rising volume of data every minute. These services are changing the way enterprises deal with data, and migrating to cloud is becoming the norm, and mission-critical for organizations today. In an exclusive interaction with Analytics Insight, David Friend, CEO and Co-Founder of Wasabi Technologies discussed how cloud storage technology is spreading its footprints further and how the company is working on a mission to make cloud storage a simple, open-standard commodity, much like electricity.

Analytics Insight: Kindly brief us about Wasabi Technologies, its specialization and service offerings.

David: Wasabi is the hot cloud storage company that offers storage at 1/5th the price and 6x the speed of its competitors. We are 100% compatible with Amazon S3 and have the same 11 nines of durability. One thing that we have that Amazon doesn’t have is “immutable buckets.” If you store your data in an immutable bucket, it is completely protected from accidental deletions or overwrites. Nobody, including Wasabi engineers, can alter or delete your data.

Analytics Insight: With what mission, Wasabi was set up? Tell us about your journey since inception of the company?

David: We are cloud storage experts.  We founded Carbonite, the backup company, and have been doing cloud storage for 15 years. Jeff Flowers, our CTO, came up with a radically new storage architecture that allows Wasabi to be a far lower price, yet far faster than Amazon. We launched in May 2017 with a mission to create innovation in cloud storage, and stand today with thousands of customers across a broad range of industries, including TV and entertainment, genomics, scientific research, medical imaging, audio books, and government records. Our goal is to be the largest provider of general-purpose cloud storage in the world.

Analytics Insight: Brief us about your role at Wasabi and contributions towards the company and the industry.

David: I co-founded Wasabi along with Jeff Flowers who is also the CTO of the company. I am a serial entrepreneur. Before co-founding Wasabi, I co-founded five other companies: Carbonite (NASDAQ:CARB), FaxNet (a large provider of fax-to-email services, sold to Critical Path), Pilot Software (leading data analytics company sold to D&B), Computer Pictures (early computer graphics company sold to Cullinet, now Oracle), and ARP Instruments, the leading manufacturer of keyboard synthesizers for rock bands (sold to CBS Musical Instruments). I studied music and engineering at Yale and Princeton.  I am the “Chief Strategist” for Wasabi. My job is to provide overall direction and positioning for the company, set the “culture”, and to raise money.

Analytics Insight: Tell us how Wasabi is contributing in the Big Data Analytics industry and how the company is benefiting the clients.

David: Big Data Analytics requires storing a lot of data to analyze. There are two reasons why Wasabi is making such an impact in the data analytics world: 1) Price:  Analytics can require storing enormous amounts of data. If the data storage is too expensive, the risk/reward for the project may not make sense. As the cost of storage drops, it makes greater economic sense to see what kind of value can be extracted from the data.  2) Speed: People doing Big Data Analytics are attracted to Wasabi because it is possible to get enormous data sets out of storage and into analytics at very high speeds, roughly 6x faster than getting data out of Amazon S3. Because we are interconnected to AWS via their “Direct Connect,” you can do your analytics in AWS’s compute cloud, but store your data in Wasabi.

Analytics Insight: Please mention some of the major challenges Wasabi has faced till now.

David: The cloud storage technology is extremely complicated and we never could have built Wasabi had we not already had over a decade of experience building Carbonite’s storage. We don’t use Linux, Windows, or any other commercial operating system to determine how bits are physically arranged on disks. We actually write the very low level code that performs this function. It is an arcane area of software and one challenge is to find people who are smart enough to learn this new branch of software quickly. The other major challenge right now is keeping up with the growth. The amount of data that we store is growing between 8-10% week-over-week. This blistering rate of growth stresses the organization, but it is necessary if we want to achieve our goals.

Analytics Insight: How do you see Wasabi and the industry in the future ahead?

David: I believe that cloud storage will be a commodity, much like electricity or bandwidth. Right now, the three leaders in the market, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are each pushing their own incompatible versions of cloud storage. Customers hate vendor lock-in, so standards have to emerge. We are betting that the Amazon S3 API will become the de facto standard. Secondly, storage tiers will tend to disappear and cloud storage will become a one-size-fits-all utility. Right now the incumbents offer a confusing array of products, including S3 Standard, Glacier, Reduced Redundancy, Infrequent Access, Nearline, Coldline, and others. S3 is fast but expensive. Glacier is slow but cheap. Others have lower reliability.  And so on. Wasabi is faster than Amazon’s fastest (S3), and cheaper than their cheapest (Glacier), so there is no need for all these tiers, any more than you need to have multiple electrical outlets in the wall for different grades of electricity.

Virtually every application requires storage, and the amount of storage is growing exponentially. We see this market as nearly limitless. Like any other commodity, the vendors with the best product at the lowest price will dominate.

Analytics Insight: Where do you see growth coming in for the sector?

David: Most data is still stored in in-house data centers. The migration of data to the cloud is still in its very early stages – less than 20% of stored data is in the cloud. The cost of in-house data storage is in the 2-3 cents/gb/month range, roughly the same as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft cloud storage. So, from a purely economic standpoint, there hasn’t been a huge incentive to move data to the cloud. Products like Wasabi, at 80% lower cost, are already accelerating the migration of data to the cloud. Most of our customers have determined that they can store their data in our cloud for less than the maintenance cost of a comparable amount of in-house storage (using equipment like EMC, NetApp, and others).

TV and movies, imaging, genomics, and surveillance are industries with an insatiable appetite for storage. We see a lot of growth coming from these areas, both domestically and internationally.

Analytics Insight: Kindly provide key predictions for data storage technologies.

David: Everything seems to be producing data these days: my watch, jet engines, Tesla’s, phones, … even my refrigerator is connected to the Internet and is feeding data to analytics happening somewhere. There are billions of devices already connected to the Internet generating mountains of data. It all has to be stored somewhere, and the storage has to be fast enough to keep up with the ingress, fast enough for analytics to take place in near-real-time, and cheap enough that the payback on the analytics makes sense. Clearly we’re in a period where the ability to analyze data has the ability to improve nearly everything we do. But, underpinning all the analytics is the data that has been collected and stored, and that’s Wasabi’s very important role in the industry.

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