PAUL TIEN knows all about building great NAS hardware. His new goal is eliminating it.
Currently the CEO of Morro Data, a storage-as-a-service vendor based in Fremont, Calif., Tien is also the founder of Infrant Technologies Inc. That company, acquired by NETGEAR in 2007, was responsible for the ReadyNAS line of on-premises NAS devices. Tien’s new venture, which is now four years old, seeks to do in the cloud almost everything that ReadyNAS products and similar hardware do on-site.
Morro’s CloudNAS solution hosts a user’s files in online storage repositories from Amazon Web Services, Wasabi Technologies Inc., or Backblaze, caching recently used documents in a lightweight local appliance available in both physical and virtual form factors. “We vaporize the hard drive while keeping the performance,” Tien says.
The solution also features a distributed file system that automatically syncs data across locations via the internet, offering businesses with remote sites an easy, affordable alternative to complex wide-area networking options. “Without a VPN, all the workers in multiple offices can work as if they are on the same network,” Tien observes.
Compatibility with Microsoft Active Directory and a consolidated, cloud-based management interface further contribute to the system’s simplicity, he adds, as does a pay-as-you-go pricing scheme that covers everything but the local appliances, which run $495 and up depending on capacity. Unlike the per-user rates charged by Dropbox Inc., Box, and other file sync and share vendors, moreover, Morro levies fees strictly on a per-appliance basis.
“We don't care how many users are on the device,” Tien says.
The end result for channel pros, according to COO Michael Clegg, is an opportunity to turn network-attached storage from a hardware-based business with declining margins into a reliable source of software-as-a-service annuities. “We really feel we're bringing the next generation of storage to the market,” he says.