Now that the hype of “cloud everything” is subsiding, organizations are getting down to work deploying cloud storage to do actual useful tasks. The march from CAS to cloud to object storage has seen high-profile high-end flare-ups (think EMC Centera and Atmos) but the bulk of work is done by more pedestrian (think lower-cost) hardware and software. Through it all, Paul Carpentier has been at the forefront. Now his company, Caringo, is back in the news, delivering much-needed storage service features like multi-tenancy, named objects, and dynamic caching.
For essential background, check out my article, From CAS to Cloud: Revolutionary Storage
The Back-Story of Caringo
The “Caringo” company name refers to its three founders, CTO Paul Carpentier, President Jonathan Ring, and CEO Mark Goros. Carpentier is the man behind CAS pioneer FilePool, which EMC acquired and markets as Centera. The three formed Caringo and launched the CAStor product in 2006 as a software alternative to Centera.
Although you may not have heard of Caringo, you may have encountered their product in the form of the Dell DX object storage system. Many were puzzled when Dell, known for its EMC-powered storage offerings, embraced Caringo for object storage, but those familiar with the products weren’t surprised. Caringo’s approach is much more in line with Dell’s image of affordability, simplicity, and commodity products, and their relationship with EMC is increasingly shaky due to their recent acquisition strategy.
Caringo’s CAStor is a software product that transforms commodity servers into a scale-out object repository. It is all-inclusive, with compliance, tiering, spin-down, and replication part of the total package. Like most CAS and cloud storage solutions, CAStor uses a simple HTTP interface for client access, with “gateways” available for NAS along with some native support from applications.
What’s New in CAStor 5?
Caringo has set a course for the service provider market, adding essential features like multi-tenancy and flexible permissions to version 5 of CAStor. Although still pitched as an object store, CAStor 5 is close enough to be thought of as a cloud storage platform.
The ability to support and segregate multiple “tenants” is a holy grail for service provider storage systems and a key ingredient of cloud storage solutions. CAStor 5 can be segmented into multiple domains, each with its own security and authentication and each subdivided into “buckets” for different applications. This would be useful both for a public service provider and an internal-only solution, since segmenting applications is relevant in the enterprise as well.
CAStor 5 no longer clings to system-assigned names for objects, allowing users to assign their own names for public consumption. This is a huge advancement for CAS, and was one of the key differentiators of cloud solutions which often directly serve content to web clients. Another “ripped from the cloud” feature is dynamic caching, allowing high performance access to popular content, again useful for direct client access.
Caringo seems reluctant to wear the “cloud storage” mantle, but their product has been steadily moving in that direction. CAStor 5, with its multi-tenancy, segmented security and authentication, named objects, and caching, looks an awful lot like Amazon S3 and the rest. But the hype around “cloud storage” is dying away. Businesses looking for functionality rather than marketing labels will find a lot to like in CAStor.