When Should You Trust Your Data to a Startup?

March 12, 2019By David Friend

It seems like a safe and easy decision to stick with big cloud storage vendors like Amazon or Microsoft as opposed to committing your data storage to a next-gen vendor like Wasabi. However, sticking with the incumbents comes at a steep price: to be specific, $21-23/TB per month with the big guys vs. $6/TB/month with Wasabi. And that's just for storage.

Amazon charges an additional $90/TB in egress fees compared to zero with Wasabi. Amazon also adds on micro-charges for every PUT, GET, and other API requests. Wasabi: zero. So you could end up spending 5-10 times more to keep your data in Amazon's cloud, or even more with Google, Microsoft, IBM or Oracle. Is it worth it?

What do you get for the extra money? You don't get more durability, both S3 and Wasabi offer 11 nines (99.999999999%) of object durability. You don't get more system availability, both SLAs are 99.9% uptime. You don't get better service, try calling Amazon for support and then try calling Wasabi.

What you do get is the assurance that Amazon is in no risk of going out of business. To get comfortable that a startup like Wasabi is in it for the long-haul, you need to take a good look at the company’s financial situation, business prospects and track record. Has the company raised a sufficient amount of money to fund its growth? Does it have a large and growing customer base? Does the management team have a proven history of success? With Wasabi, the answers are yes, yes and yes! A startup that has raised a lot of money, is growing rapidly, and has a product that delights customers is highly unlikely to go out of business.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what vendor-neutral industry analyst firm Storage Switzerland, LLC had to say about this dynamic between startups and “established” vendors their recent newsletter. In response to a reader question “Should I Avoid Storage Startups?,” the firm replied:

Is buying from a storage startup all that risky? I've been covering the industry as an analyst now for almost 12 years and while I don't keep a list, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a list of more than six companies that have gone 100% entirely out of business leaving their customers high and dry. Interestingly I can think of dozens of products from major vendors that were “sunsetted” in that same timeframe. In each situation, the application is no longer updated, supported or available.

As proof take recent startup failures, at least the ones I can think of; Violin Memory and Primary Data. Violin Memory, now Violin Systems, went through the bankruptcy process, was acquired by a George Soros fund and seems to be doing quite well, recently purchasing XIO's storage product line. DDN purchased Tintri and also appears to be doing better than ever. Primary Data reemerged as Hammerspace, and while we can't verify how well the new company is doing, they do seem to be actively communicating their message. In all three examples, the original venture capitalists may see the companies as a failure but in all three cases, the products that others declared dead still live on (in a new incarnation perhaps) to continue servicing their customers.

While there is a risk in any product selection, I'm not sure if big company products are any more resistant to sunsetting than a startup's product is resistant to having its company go out of business. However, the overwhelming majority of startups tend to live on, and while it might be ugly, they do seem to make it.

With the passage of time and the continued success of startups in the market, the perception that a startup necessarily carries risk seems to fade. I can remember in the early days of Carbonite (my previous startup), prospects would ask, “Who the heck is Carbonite and why should I trust you with my data?” Nobody asks that today, as Carbonite is a 13 year old company with several thousand employees.

Similarly, sometime in the next few years, people will stop thinking of Wasabi as a startup and will simply look at the very substantial savings and performance advantages of a company that is focused exclusively on being the best cloud storage vendor in the market.

Big vendors like Amazon may not be going out of business, but that doesn't mean that they offer the best storage solution or that they are going to support every product in their portfolio forever. The big cloud players all have bloated product lines. They sell dozens of different products from compute, storage and networking services, to blockchain applications, to machine learning solutions to security tools. With so many different products to support and enhance, it is difficult for them to maintain expertise and leadership across the board. There’s always a chance someone like Amazon could acquire a company and sunset an existing product line, leaving customers in a lurch. (Historically, plenty of on-prem storage vendors have acquired or merged with other companies, discontinued products and subjected customers to costly and disruptive rip-and-replace programs.)

At Wasabi, we are laser-focused on storage. It is all we do, and we are in it for the long-run. We provide enterprise-class storage that’s 80% less expensive and up to 6x faster than AWS S3, with no hidden egress fees or nickel-and-dime API request charges. All backed by a well-funded company, with a seasoned management team and a satisfied customer base.

We believe Wasabi is a safe and smart alternative to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and the others, and our continuing growth in total customers and total storage continues to point to a solid future for both Wasabi and our customers.

For a recap of our growth from 2018 to 2019 and global expansion, see my post on “Wasabi Celebrates Global Expansion.”

The cloud revolution has only just begun – come join us and take advantage of next-generation cloud services at prices and performance much better than first generation offerings.

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