Canonical is thinking out of the box and putting its innovation on display at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada this week with a software-defined storage support service that gives enterprise IT maximum flexibility. It’s called Ubuntu Advantage Storage.
Simply stated, Canonical is now offering metered support plans with prices based on the amount of data written. That strays from the traditional approach, which tallies the number or size of disks or machines used to provide the service.
Canonical is offering this support with optional L3 escalation. Both open source technologies like Ceph and Swift and vendor solutions from Nexenta, Swiftstack and other third-party providers are included in the portfolio.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, said customers “prefer on-demand usage-based pricing.” He’s betting the new automated management and integration will be especially attractive for companies with smaller clusters that still want a top-notch experience out of the gate.
Dynamically Increase Storage
Ubuntu Advantage storage gives enterprise IT more choices. Enterprises, for example, can deploy scale-out storage technology onto their commodity hardware infrastructures and still distinguish between supported and unsupported clusters. IT can also route support calls to a range of specialist providers through Canonical as the common L1 support provider.
But what has the industry talking is the ability to dynamically increase storage capacity by adding more machines or disks to the cluster. It’s turning heads because NAS and SAN arrays, by contrast, require up-front commitment to large amounts of capacity and are difficult to scale incrementally.
“SwiftStack was founded to give enterprises the benefits of OpenStack Swift without having to develop their own management stack,“ said Joe Arnold, co-founder and chief product officer at SwiftStack. “Programs like Ubuntu Advantage Storage help enterprises choose the engine that powers the world’s largest storage clouds with SwiftStack, the certified object storage distro in the OpenStack Marketplace.”
With Ubuntu Advantage Storage, there is no duplication of costs for replicas. Customers don’t pay for empty space like they would on modern public cloud storage services. The model was inspired by the pay-for-what-you-use approach that’s prevalent in the cloud storage services world.
“Bringing cloud-style pricing to the on-premise market is a key step in the evolution of private cloud,” said Christian Reis, vice president of Hyperscale and Storage at Canonical. “Customers now have utility-based pricing for an open portfolio of software-defined storage solutions from a wide range of competing and innovating players, all under one program, on whatever commodity hardware they prefer.”
The service includes storage software, deployment and management tools, security and stability updates, reference architectures, knowledge base access and 24-7 commercial support. Price starts from $0.022 per usable GB per month.
“The pace of data creation is exploding. As unstructured data fills disks and data retention policies lengthen, every organization must grow their storage infrastructure,” said Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical. “Organizations facing the imperative to scale need cloud-style economics in the pricing of software and services, and that’s what the Ubuntu Advantage Storage service offers. ”
We asked Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, for his thoughts on the new pricing paradigm. He told us this is a smart move by Ubuntu.
“This is the way IT is going, particularly now that more line of business managers are getting involved in IT purchases. More and more you are seeing organizations want the ability to pay for their IT infrastructure on a utilization basis,” Kerravala said. “There are lots of different ways you can measure utilization, but what they came up with is pretty simple: You store more, you pay more. To me, it’s a simple way to be able to pay for storage and in line with the way cloud and IT is going.”