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Netscape Alums Tackle Cloud Storage

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the put-it-in-there dept.

Netscape 62

BobB-nw writes "A new cloud storage vendor is entering the market, promising an enterprise-class file system with snapshots, replication, and other features designed to simplify adoption for existing users and applications. Zetta, founded in 2007 by veterans of Netscape, has $11 million in funding and is coming out of stealth mode Monday with Enterprise Cloud Storage, a Web-based storage platform that will compete against Amazon's Simple Storage Service and a growing number of cloud vendors. Zetta's goal was to build a Web-based storage system that would be accepted by enterprise IT professionals for storing primary data. 'Data growth rates are staggering. In businesses you see growth rates of 40 to 60 percent year over year,' says CEO Jeff Treuhaft, a Zetta cofounder and formerly one of Netscape's first employees. Another Zetta cofounder is Lou Montulli, an early Netscape employee who invented Web cookies."

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Proprietary file system? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27474681)

Not a word about open source...

Privacy oriented paranoia (5, Insightful)

megrims (839585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474727)

This service looks immensely useful, especially for smaller businesses without the capabilities required to manage their data-storage and back-up needs.

But still, I feel uneasy about the idea of having my data out of my immediate control in the long term, which is my primary qualm about the whole cloud-computing concept.

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (4, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474819)

Through their marketing speak it doesn't look like they're targeting the small business sectory. Even their TCO demo starts out at 10tb and their cost per terabyte is 2,500 if that 2.50/gig is correct. 10 tb for 25,000 doesn't sound terribly bad but by the time you figure integration costs is it really saving you? From my perspective cloud storage is fine for an archival/repository situation in which cases you will find hardware based solutions that are very easily self managed from EMC/Clarrion that do this and probably even cheaper and automagically with cool applications to handle it all.

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475183)

does this $2.50/gig include backup costs so that if you need data from say 9 months ago they can recover it for you?

everyone can do DR backups, most of the data restores where i work are due to missing data in archive databases and we need to find the raw data again from several years back

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (1)

phoenix_rizzen (256998) | more than 5 years ago | (#27485679)

$25,000 for 10 TB of disk storage? That's outrageously expensive. Considering it's "in the cloud", you'll be limited to whatever your Internet connection is for throughput. Unless you have a couple of massive fibre links, with very few hops between you and "the cloud", performance will suck.

For $10,000 CDN ($8,000 US) you can put together a 10 TB storage box using multiple 3Ware RAID controllers (or even just plain SATA controllers), 24x 500 GB SATA drives, a 5U rackmount case, redundant power supplies, and quad-port NIC, using FreeBSD or OpenSolaris with ZFS.

Export zvols using iSCSI to use it as a SAN, or export zfs filesystems using CIFS or NFS to use it as NAS.

Need more space, then just replace the 500 GB drives with larger ones as needed, and the zpool expands out to use the extra space.

Need off-site storage? Build two servers, and configure rsync to run everyday. If they ever fix the performance issues, you could even use the zfs snapshot send/recv to keep the servers in sync. It'd still be cheaper than their $25,000.

And the performance will be a hell of a lot better.

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27485995)

Actually their starting price is $0.25 per gig [zetta.net] , so that's $250/tb.

The TCO calculater is asking for your current storage cost per gig.

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27475089)

All this talk of cloud computing reminds me of this song:

I'm just a little black rain cloud
Hovering under the honey tree

I'm only a little black rain cloud
Pay no attention to little me

Everyone knows that a rain cloud
Never eats honey, no, not a nip

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (2, Interesting)

Forge (2456) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477733)

What about a private cloud?

these days, the lowest cost hard drive available from major server vendors (at least Dell) is 160GB.

Meanwhile many of the server applications we use need only a small fraction of that space. What I would like to see is a software that allows me to share an arbitrary portion of the unused space on each server as part of a storage cloud.

Right now, we could squeeze out 20 or so Terabytes from the server hardware we already own and 80 unused Terabytes, just from those desktops which have to run 24/7 and have pretty locked down software configurations.

Dose anyone know where we can find a reliable and inexpensive software package to turn this unused space into a virtual SAN?

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27478857)

My first thought would be the Andrew File System. It's an old protocol/file system for distributed storage and caching.

But in such a configuration, where your failure rate increases, you'd want to ensure all data is replicated across multiple machines. AFS couldn't do that last time I looked. Ditributed caches would be invalidated on a write, so you'd get a single copy in the cloud until someone else tried to read the file.

Re:Privacy oriented paranoia (2, Interesting)

haeger (85819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27479411)

Something like this? http://allmydata.org/trac/tahoe [allmydata.org]

Tahoe, the Least-Authority Filesystem. This is a secure, decentralized, fault-tolerant filesystem. All of the source code is available under a choice of two Free Software, Open Source licences.

This filesystem is encrypted and spread over multiple peers in such a way that it continues to function even when some of the peers are unavailable, malfunctioning, or malicious.

Okay, there's half of the problem with the Cloud! (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474741)

There's half of the problem with the cloud: Cloud storage platforms that suck because they aren't redundant and lack other enterprise-class features such as snapshots.

Now the second half of the problem: cloud databases that suck because they don't aren't relational and don't offer much protection against corrupt data.

Oh, and for all of this to get widespread adoption, CIOs are actually looking for these platforms to be open source and open standards so that they aren't tied to one vendor. They're not interested in repeating the same mistakes that were made with vendor lock-in in the past.

Re:Okay, there's half of the problem with the Clou (3, Funny)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474827)

repeating the same mistakes

At my workplace, we call that progress!
( Sadly, I do not jest :'( )

Re:Okay, there's half of the problem with the Clou (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477055)

A snapshot of a cloud wouldn't do you much good, except for framing on your wall.

However, if you developed a cloud-making machine, you could have two clouds!

Re:Okay, there's half of the problem with the Clou (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478073)

So every database that is not relational sucks? Is there no application that needs non-relational object storage? You sound like a Luddite to me.

Re:Okay, there's half of the problem with the Clou (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478947)

No, I'm not. I'm saying that most applications used in the enterprise, uch as CRM, SCM, and other business intelligence/analytics applications, etc. absolutely require relational databases. Flat-file databases are relics of the past, and nobody doing anything serious is going to consider them, cloud or no cloud. At all.

Re:Okay, there's half of the problem with the Clou (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481135)

What do you say to Google? They've built the most successful company of the last decade without using relational databases for their core business. Why would Google have built BigTable if 'nobody doing anything serious is going to consider them'? Is Google not serious?

Cloud Storage .... (4, Interesting)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474743)

Cloud storage, also known as "give us your companies confidential data, and we will look after it and not look at it, honest...."

Re:Cloud Storage .... (2, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474823)

That's why the FSM created encryption.

Re:Cloud Storage .... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27474883)

Parent has a point.

A little birdie told my back in early 2006 google was looking at an online file storage service, but had privacy concerns. Last I heard they were working on a java applet to encrypt your data clientside, before it's sent to google. The whole process would be pretty much transparent to the user.

No clue what came of it, obviously the product hasn't launched.

Re:Cloud Storage .... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477493)

So you think using an applet provided by them leaves them with no possibility of allowing them to unencrypt the data ....

Yes I do sound paranoid, but if my data is important to my business then I have a right to be ...

Re:Cloud Storage .... (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482135)

What drives me crazy about all this is that a company I worked at did this stuff right in the 90's including data reduction, compression, encryption, and bare-metal restore. Somehow they didn't make fabulous amounts of money from it and make my stock options worth millions. (Ok, it was backup to a server instead of to the cloud, but that's hardly a leap.) Now we talk about this concept like it's a radical future thing, which it still is, and I'm mystified as to why. Alas! Here I am still working for a living *and* looking for a good backup application with DR. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,8927,00.asp [pcmag.com]

Re:Cloud Storage .... (2, Insightful)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477379)

I've never really seen the privacy thing as an issue.

Just encrypt the data on its way out the door, keep a backup of the decryption keys in a safe deposit box or with your lawyers (if you can trust your lawyer, or your bank, that is.)

Re:Cloud Storage .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27479353)

Aka, box backup

Re:Cloud Storage .... (2, Insightful)

LaurensVH (1079801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477987)

If you don't encrypt confidential data with keys not given to everyone in your company, let alone people in *OTHER* companies, you deserve to have all your corporate data stolen.

Re:Cloud Storage .... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480519)

This isn't new - data vaulting has been around for quite some time and is highly popular, especially in the disaster recovery arena.

"Coming from Netscape"... not that good PR (3, Funny)

doktorstop (725614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474753)

Might work unless they keep the Netscape logo :)
A green monster eating a planet would do them pretty poor PR

Re:"Coming from Netscape"... not that good PR (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474791)

[green monster logo here]
Zetta: We munch your data in the cloud!

or

[green monster logo here]
Zetta: All your delicious data are belong to us!

11M enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27474825)

Don't think 11M is really enough in funding, do you? Only taking on Amazon, Microsoft...everyone else....

ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474847)

Given that a lot of ISPs seem to be heading toward a monthly quota model, all this "cloud storage" thing seems to be the wrong way to handle your data IMHO.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474971)

Storing your data in "the cloud" isn't really for home users, the advantages are minimal. It's for businesses who would normally incur massive bandwidth costs but instead are able to take advantage of the huge economies of scale a cloud vendor can provide.

A typical example is Twitter - all the user assets like avatars are hosted on Amazon's S3 service. That means Twitter doesn't have to pay for all that bandwidth, storage server space, redundant capacity, etc. They just pay a monthly fee that's far less per gigabyte than if they did it in-house. The disadvantage is that it ties them to Amazon.

I suspect that there'll be a few cloud vendors that sink in the next couple of years because they're not good enough to compete. Personally, I'd be wary of using one with only $11m in fund capital. It sounds a lot, but it's not. They could burn through that in months trying to market their service (against competition like Amazon and Google no less), and be left with no money having shut up shop, at which point all their existing clients would have a hell of a time migrating to another provider. They clearly have the technical ability to build a working service, but whether they have the ability to turn that into a service that will last in the market place is a whole different ball game.

That said, if I was researching a vendor to go with, I'd obviously read up on who else is with them on the non-technical side. They've got this far. That's more than a fair few others.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27476241)

Storing your data in "the cloud" isn't really for home users, the advantages are minimal.

With all due respect that's entirely wrong. Me, my friends and family all backup our photos and bits and bobs on Mozy or Dropbox or whatever as well as on an external drive precisely because it gives us an easy cheap method of off-site storage. Yes "cloud" storage may prove unreliable. But all I need to know is that either my external hard drive or the cloud-based data set is available on the day that my hard drive goes phoom.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477291)

I bought a hard drive which is connected to my home LAN via network cable. It is actually a device Linux system with Samba server. But in the home LAN it is visible just like a Windows network drive.

It is small and silent as it does not have a fan. It is in an aluminum casing, so it is silent and fast.

500 GB at your fingertips, my wireless LAN is 300 MB/s. There is already 1 GB model.

Why would I need a cloud storage for photos and movies?

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477373)

Rather: 1 TB model (in my previous post).

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (2, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477921)

I hope your house stays secure.

A good cloud service does 2 things:
1) it provides reliable off-site backup to protect from theft, fire, flooding or other things that destroy all copies in a single location

2) It helps protect against bit-rot. Having 2 live copies at home can help with this too, as if your appliance fails, you can get a new one and back up, of your desktop fails, the same. Though a random company with $11 million is probably more susceptible to company rot, than my USB hard drive is to bit rot.

I also will say this, I have a network appliance, and i only get 2MB/s off of it over the network. That means to fully backup the full TB of data will take me six days, of course this applies to the cloud too most likely.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478013)

Good point about physical security. I know a case when both a notebook and backup drive were stolen from an apartment at the same time.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

phoenix_rizzen (256998) | more than 5 years ago | (#27485721)

And when your house burns down, turning that nice little NAS box into charcoal, what then? ;)

Or, if someone breaks into the house and takes the NAS box along with the computer?

There's a reason for having off-site backups, whether it be a box discs in the safe deposit box, a removable drive at a friend's, stuck into your gmail account, or somewhere "in the cloud". Just so long as it's not right next to the device it's backing up. :)

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27515489)

Why would I need a cloud storage for photos and movies?

Because one day your house may either burn down or get burgled. Basically the same reasons that anyone ever uses off-site storage.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27479881)

Dropbox isn't "cloud" storage in the same was Amazon is. Think distributed replication. Amazon has servers all over the world. You put your large files/images on Amazons service. If a browser is requesting a file from your website that is stored in Amazon's cloud the file will be sent from a server closest to the customer. So if your website has worldwide appeal or just occasional MASSIVE traffic you can handle the slash-dotting fine, because the important large files aren't being hosted by your cheap website from your single site.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477297)

The thing about S3 is it their pricing structure is almost too granular. I mean, S3 charges $0.01 per 10,000 GET's [amazon.com] in addition to the data transferred per request. Their EC2 charges $0.10 per 1 million I/O requests [amazon.com] .

I mean, those numbers sound small, but even I have no clue how many IO requests I am making right now... is ten cents per million a good price or a bad price? Dunno! Is a penny per 10,000 GET's a good price? Probably--that is ten bucks for 10 million requests, right?

The disadvantage is that it ties them to Amazon.

Sure it ties them to Amazon, but how tightly? I mean, as a percentage of their codebase, there is probably what, 0.5% specific to Amazon? And codebase aside, how hard is it to migrate your data from one cloud to another? I mean, at most it is a month long project and most of that is probably testing and dealing with unexpected edge cases. But none of these cloud guys do anything that really tie you in any more than a regular host.

BTW--I was looking at the URL structure of twitter and I tell you, if I was to use S3, I wouldn't tolerate the URL's for my images looking like this:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_production/profile_images/120987937/twitter_photo_bigger.jpg [amazonaws.com]

That URL looks really unprofessional for such a big player. Can't they at least get their own hostname? It does prove my point though--about the only cost to migrate is changing the "upload avatars" code and changing the template to use a new URL structure.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Makoss (660100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483505)

I mean, those numbers sound small, but even I have no clue how many IO requests I am making right now... is ten cents per million a good price or a bad price? Dunno! Is a penny per 10,000 GET's a good price? Probably--that is ten bucks for 10 million requests, right?

It can add up fast.

My company provides an offsite backup solution, and we've been using S3 as our primary storage backend since a few months after S3 went live. It is not unusual for us that the per-op costs are greater than the actual data storage or transfer costs. It is worth noting however that our use of S3 is quite non-standard. We do some pretty extensive verification to catch bitrot should it ever occur, as well as some fairly convoluted data processing to minimize actual transfer overhead for updated files.

So the answer is that it really depends. If you just throw data up there all at once and hope it sticks, those additional costs won't matter. However, if you want to build something more complicated that doesn't just blindly trust S3, or that does efficient data updating, then yes, those costs do matter quite a lot.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478489)

Well, at some point it's cheaper to do it in-house anyway. Maybe not for online interconnected services like Twitter, but especially for primary enterprise data (what they're targeting) you need fast, available access to data locally, the web only makes it more difficult to get it fast and available.

I don't even know if Twitter has the advantage of scale anymore. The advantage of scale only comes in where you xx% of a given capacity over 3-5 years but need 100% of the infrastructure to provide that xx%. At a certain point, the markup of the vendor and the disadvantages of the centralization (especially with storage, larger amounts of data increase the price of the storage infrastructure instead of decreasing it) and delays associated with that vendor exceeds that price.

Storage is cheap and even in the semi-enterprise field (100TB over FibreChannel) it's cheaper to invest in it locally and have a decent admin to handle your needs. Over 100TB it's probably going to be cheaper to use that service (if they themselves already have the PB infrastructure) but at that time it's not feasible anymore to move that amount of data into the 'cloud'. You'll also have issues with liability if the data ever gets lost. I would only use these services if you can't afford your own 'live' offsite backups.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (2, Interesting)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475047)

Given that alot of things seem to be headed into the cloud, all this "monthly quota" thing seems to be the wrong way to handle your bandwidth IMHO

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475339)

Except that in a lot of places, you don't even have a choice for ISP.

But yeah, I also think that monthly quotas are the wrong idea. Then again, when you see the price/GB that some ISPs charge you when you go over the limit, that's even more insane.

Re:ISPs, bandwidth and quotas (1)

NetRAVEN5000 (905777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475235)

If you are a business (which you most likely are if you're even considering "cloud storage") then you're probably going to pay for a provider that doesn't have these quotas - either that or you'll figure that a safe data backup is worth the cost.

Link (5, Informative)

Any Web Loco (555458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27474947)

Would it have killed you to put a link to the firm in the blurb?

http://www.zetta.net/ [zetta.net]

Are they going to call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27474975)

....Zetta File System?

ZFS sounds like a good name for a file system.

Alums? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27474987)

WTF is an alum?

Re:Alums? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475209)

Alum -> Alumnus .... "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alumni"

Graduate of a college (or in this case the Netscape mindset ...)

Re:Alums? (2, Informative)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475521)

Poor abbreviation of Alumni , meaning a former associate, employee, member, etc...
(or typical slashdot spelling / grammar mistake )

Re:Alums? (1)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475949)

Is chemical.

Netscape alumnus at other startups too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27475011)

I'd wager.

What makes this one special? Or worthy of highlighting the minor fact that there are Netscape folk there?

Given how well Netscape ultimately did, why would we expect this to do any better.

They call him: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475211)

Lou "the cookie monster" Montulli...

Cookies? (1, Funny)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475381)

If the guy who invented privacy-invasive web cookies thinks I'll trust him with my data, he'd better think again.

Re:Cookies? (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477167)

But how implement a session without a cookie file?? No shopping basket then?? No keeping a choice until the next visit??

Re:Cookies? (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27478745)

I'm not saying no cookies, but they were implemented in a way that could easily be abused. For example, there should have been a user option to auto delete all cookies when the browser closes, or after a week, or a year. We have somewhat recovered some control, but when cookies were first loosed on the world, the site developer had all the control over the cookies, not the user. Same deal with pop-up window. What Netscape thought was a cool and useful new feature was implemented in a way that was hard for the user to override, and we all wound up with a screenful of women in bikinis that we could spy on with our X-cam. Netscape was just throwing stuff out there without thinking about how it could be abused and how the implementation could prevent that abuse. And now they want all your data.

Re:Cookies? (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27479085)

OK. I agree in general. Still they were going ahead bravely into unknown.

I believe it is not possible to produce an absolutely secure passive system. For example, one can break about any door or wall with a sledgehammer, or one can shoot a man in the best body armor and helmet easily.

What prevents criminals to do it is not only the strength of the door or body armor, but laws, self defense, police, etc., i.e. active hit-back security.

UN is doing about nothing in this direction. Spam brings billions upon billions of losses to the world economy via lost working time. Was anyone punished in Nigeria or wherever this spam is coming? Meanwhile the UN diplomats are doing nothing, while Western leaders are concentrating on very local organization like EU and NATO in the global world and forgetting about UN, which is really global organization.

Not just cookies (2, Funny)

Gerald (9696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27475775)

Another Zetta cofounder is Lou Montulli...

We can all rest easy now. The cloud will have a "blink" tag.

Re:Not just cookies (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27477979)

aka "Lightning"?

Re:Not just cookies (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487563)

We can all rest easy now. The cloud will have a "blink" tag.

That's nice, but will it have an interval attribute?

I would love something like <blink interval="100ms">blinkenlights</blink>

interoperability (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27476587)

Does it follow the S3 API? Is it cheaper? Is it reliable?

ASS Service? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27479983)

What? It's competing with ASS service?
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