Cloudflyer Makes Multicloud Storage Drag-and-Drop Simple
Storing data in the cloud is so simple and transparent these days that most of us barely give it a thought. But when your file transfers are measured in terabytes, choices about storing and moving data have big consequences. That’s where Cloudflyer comes in.
A few years ago, Cloudflyer Founder Patrick Kennedy saw his customers wrestling with large-scale data transfers as cloud adoption was surging. The Los Angeles-based company he headed at the time, Acembly.com, had built a multicloud media management platform that was used by the numerous media and entertainment companies in the region.
The ability of those companies to take advantage of cloud platforms was limited, however, in large part by the practicalities of moving large amounts of data. The raw video files that film editors work with can require up to 500 GB of storage space per hour of playing time and there are often many hours of video in a single project.
Media companies also wanted choice because they use different tools in different clouds. Platform providers offered them attractive incentives to move their data into the cloud but getting it out was another story. Amazon Web Services has no incentive to help customers move to Microsoft Azure and vice versa.
“You have to work within each vendor’s console and none provides any simple services to move out of their environment,” Kennedy said. “There was a lot of complexity in managing networks in various source and destination clouds and there was no independent service for simply dragging and dropping between them.”
The most onerous penalty cloud providers charge is the egress fee that customers must pay to get data out. At between two cents and nine cents per gigabyte, the cost of moving a single terabyte of video can run to nearly $100 and many media companies work with petabyte-size data stores. The cost is out of proportion to the infrastructure or bandwidth required but the big cloud providers “are in a position where they can charge whatever they want, so they do,” said Niko Storni, DevOps and Infrastructure Engineer at Odysee Inc., a Cloudflyer customer that recently migrated over 1 petabyte of video and other multimedia content from AWS S3 to Wasabi.
The bigger cost, however, is time. “If you want to move a petabyte of data over a 1 Gbps pipe it can take three to four months,” during which time video production is frozen, Kennedy said. “Most customers want it completed in a week or two. They want to know all of the data is moved securely, as fast as possible.” That’s assuming every file makes the trip successfully, which is rarely the case.
Cloud providers offer high-speed direct connections but the setup is complicated and time-consuming. “Trying to do this in-house or with service providers will involve high costs, long time frames for planning and execution, and data migration uncertainty,” Kennedy said.
Moving files at high volume between providers also requires direct connections at each end. Customers that lack the programming skills and software to automate such inter-cloud transfers often resort to downloading everything to local media first and then transferring it to a second cloud. “Not everyone has the storage on-premises to do that,” Kennedy said. “Frankly it’s just not a viable option for data sets of 100 terabytes or more.”
Out of this need was born Cloudflyer, Inc., which launched early this year. Cloudflyer is essentially an intercloud data transfer service that specializes in moving large amounts of data in little time and at low cost. Cloudflyer absorbs the cost of egress fees and passes along the savings to customers.
Part of its formula is simply volume. The company has direct connections to the three biggest cloud providers, which enables it to tap into deep discounts that reduce egress fees to about two cents per gigabyte. It can provision similar connections to other cloud providers within hours.
With speeds of up to 100 Gbps, Cloudflyer can also cut the time required for transfers from months to days. The company has also honed a process that uses replication, automatic synchronization, and verification to ensure that every bite is transferred. That cuts down on errors that require manual intervention and makes cleanup trivial.
“We transferred a petabyte for one customer where only 33 objects out of 600 million didn’t move,” Kennedy said. “The customer later confirmed those 33 objects were either incomplete or corrupt,” Kennedy said.
A perfect fit with Wasabi
With its cloud-agnostic philosophy, Wasabi was an ideal complement to Cloudflyer’s multicloud value proposition. Over 35 storage services and cloud providers now natively connect to Cloudflyer. Wasabi’s cloud storage costs up to 80% less than that of the big cloud providers with no egress fees and market-leading performance. Customers can house their data with Wasabi and easily access it from almost any S3-compliant application. The combination of Wasabi and Cloudflyer delivers the ultimate convenience and flexibility for customers.
“We wanted to be the service that solved the riddle of how to save 80% and move off of dependence on a single cloud provider,” Kennedy said. “Wasabi was the most cost-efficient and best storage option on the market and customers are never locked in.”
Cloudflyer’s business is flourishing and so is its relationship with Wasabi. Customers can keep their data on Wasabi servers and access it from both their on-premises or cloud environments. Wasabi can also serve as a convenient and low-cost backup option.
“Wasabi is a growing destination,” Kennedy said. “Growth is tripling month to month.”
Cloudflyer has transferred more than 40 PB of data for its customers over the past six months and expects the volume to double in the second quarter. In partnership with Wasabi, the company is also eyeing new markets such as the vast amount of data that is locked up in on-premises storage. “We can connect to dozens of on-premises sources and move data to Wasabi,” Kennedy said.
Data growth and the associated storage requirements are as inevitable as death and taxes. Cloud customers around the world now have unprecedented freedom to move between providers with ease, speed and reliability.