Object and cloud storage technology developer Scality has worked with Microsoft to develop a new product for making Amazon Web Services S3-compatible storage work with the Azure Blob massively scalable object storage for unstructured data.
The resulting product, named Scality Connect for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, allows any application designed for Amazon S3 storage to work with Azure Blob storage without change, said Wally MacDermid, vice president of cloud business development for the San Francisco-based company.
All vendors have their own APIs, but S3 has been around so long it has become a virtual standard, MacDermid told CRN.
"It's a challenge for other vendors and channel partners because supporting so many APIs is difficult," he said. "We're offering a translation layer so that anyone with S3 storage can move it to Azure Blob."
This is an important capability since so many S3 users also have signed Microsoft enterprise license agreements and already have a lot of Microsoft licenses they want to use, MacDermid said. Customers also want multi-cloud flexibility and choice.
A lot of people think 'multi-cloud' and 'hybrid cloud' are the same," he said. "But that's not the case. Customers don't want to get locked into AWS or Microsoft or any one cloud. They want true multi-cloud environments."
The Scality Connect for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is a container that runs in a virtual machine in a customer's Azure Compute account, MacDermid said. It is managed by Scality, but only the customer can access the data. It allows applications with the S3 API read and write data to Azure Blob, he said.
For instance, it allows a data protection application to back up data to and restore data from Azure, he said.
"The key is, the data runs through our software," he said. "But Scality never sees the data. The data doesn't leave the customer's domain, or never leaves the customer's instance of Azure."
The Scality Connect for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is acquired and deployed via the Azure marketplace and is quickly available for use, MacDermid said.
The Scality Connect for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is a great addition to the Azure cloud, said Erik Krucker, chief technology officer at Comport Technology Solutions, a Ramsey, N.J.-based solution provider and Scality channel partner.
"It really provides flexibility," Krucker told CRN. "If a customer has an application with the S3 API, and wants to migrate data to Azure, Scality is the way to go. Or if the customer has data in one cloud, and wants to access it in another cloud, they can do it."
Customers could be looking to move data to Azure because they may not be able to access the tools they need in AWS, Krucker said.
"Or it may be a play on cost savings," he said. "Costs vary between cloud providers and change all the time. So maybe the customer can use Azure storage and AWS compute without rewriting the application."
The Scality offering may not be practical just as a cost-saving method, Krucker said. "But customers do want flexibility in terms of cost and tool sets," he said. "They don't want to be locked into a particular cloud."
The Scality Connect for Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is currently available. The initial version is aimed primarily at developers who will likely use it in the first few months to test it, MacDermid said.
Version 2, scheduled to be released by year-end, will add support for Azure's VMSS, or Virtual Machine Scale Sets, to auto-scale virtual machines as needed, he said. It will also include SSL support for enhanced security.