Competition? What Competition? Part I – SoftNAS
Mary Roberts
June 25, 2021

Every company believes they do something better (or cheaper) than others competing for the same marketplace. But to be the best at something often means you have to carve out your niche, which isn’t easy to do. Sometimes, carving your niche means redefining competition. To Buurst, competition is opportunity in disguise, and competitors are partners waiting to happen. 

SoftNAS 

Buurst (formerly  SoftNAS) fills a marketplace niche that did not even genuinely exist at the company’s conception.  Everyone knew the cloud was the next big thing, but few thought about getting there or retaining the value of current data and data practices once you got there. At the time, no cloud-based solutions were replicating on-premise capabilities. SoftNAS offered cloud customers full enterprise feature capabilities, deployment flexibility, integration, and the use of standard protocols (CIFS/SMB, NFC, iSCSI).

Flexibility combined with stability is a rare thing, one that allows us to fit in where other solutions might not. We can replace existing systems, but we can also supplement and complement them. We can’t say that Buurst  (or  SoftNAS was known then) created the cloud storage marketplace. But I believe we redefined it and continue to do so with our enterprise Cloud NAS solution,  SoftNAS. If not the first, we were one of the first to offer an effective enterprise solution that consistently displays:

Cross-zone high availability

High Availability

Buursts SoftNAS typically exceeds or matches the toughest SLAs. SoftNAS offers 99.999% (5 9s) of availability and backs their solution with a moneyback guarantee. 

Optimized performance

Performance

The best performance to price ratio on the market (for example, look at our performance vs. Netapp ONTAP). 

Cost Management

Cost

The lowest price to performance point available.  

Flexibility

Deploy in any region on the AWS and Azure cloud, or on-premise, and do so without changing your applications or workloads.

Lets take a look at how weve continued to deliver the above core competencies consistently. 

High Availability 

SoftNAS’ patented solutions, SNAP HA™ and SnapReplicate have served our customers reliably for years, delivering five-nines (99.999%) of availability. None that we have seen offer a money-back guarantee to back up their promise. Most of our competitors cannot provide an SLA to match, typically limited to 3 or 4 9s of availability (99.9, or 99.99%). NetApp Cloud Volumes claims 5 9’s availability, but their implementation is not as integrated as SoftNAS’ design, and as far as we can tell, this appears to be a marketing claim that an SLA does not back.  

Performance 

Our competitors often tier their services, bundling both storage and a certain level of performance into a package. Typically, there are three or four tiers, each with defined performance parameters. To achieve higher performance levels, you must purchase the next tier and the increased storage. As you might guess, this interferes significantly with the granularity of their solution and often forces the customer to buy unnecessary storage to reach the desired performance level. 

Native cloud services have gotten better on this front, offering ways of tuning performance to your requirements (IOPS/Bandwidth). Still, such solutions are often themselves only available at certain levels of their performance groups.  SoftNAS allows you to use any Azure virtual machine or AWS instance in any region to marry the right level of performance to any amount of storage you need.  In this way, we can assure you that the solution we provide offers the most bang for your buck. Additionally, flexible deployment options in terms of cloud location boost performance by limiting latency and bandwidth.  

Cost 

Buurst’s SoftNAS only charges for the performance delivered to access the customer’s data. Competitors charge customers for both the performance they deliver and the storage or capacity of managed data. Some competitors mandate that you add more capacity to get more performance, even if the customer does not need the extra capacity, so you again pay for even more capacity and performance.

But it’s not enough to offer the same services cheaper – at some point, that approach results in the “you get what you pay for” adage. If you don’t innovate on behalf of the customer, someone else will, leaving you to play catch up. At Buurst, we actively try to bring features into play that will drive costs down and allow you to tailor your solution even further. It is this drive that resulted in our  SmartTiers feature.  SmartTiers allows our customers to save money by automatically tiering data based on usage.  Frequently accessed data is placed on production-ready, high-performance block storage options, and infrequently accessed data is placed on low-cost, lower performance options.

In an upcoming release, we will be working to save you more money by offering a cheaper high availability method for workloads that do not require 5 9’s of availability, making our product even more flexible in terms of cost.

Flexibility 

Designed to bridge systems together, whether for disaster recovery, transition to the cloud, or any other reason you might need such integration.  As stated, SoftNAS is available in both on-premise versions and the cloud. You can deploy  SoftNAS as an application on RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) or as a VM hosted on VMware on-premise. On the cloud side, you can leverage AWS or Azure, or both. SoftNAS can leverage industry-standard protocols such as CIFS/SMB, NFS, and iSCSI. It is the only solution (we are aware of) that can provide volumes accessible by multiple protocols at once.

In the section above, we already mentioned SmartTiers, which offers additional deployment flexibility, allowing you to define and automate the level of performance needed for your workloads. And as stated, we are also working to deliver a less costly HA option in tandem with our current SNAP HA solution. Stay tuned for more information on that in the weeks to come.

Lastly, because we have worked with AWS and Azure for many years, our integration is second to none, meaning we can seamlessly connect with AWS and Azure services and products, such as AWS Outposts or Azure Stack Hub.

Conclusion 

Buurst’s  SoftNAS  product represents our company values well. It is a product that offers capacities second to none but is accessible and flexible in a way that allows us to work with others seamlessly. As stated, competition is opportunity in disguise. We fully believe that the addition of  SoftNAS can improve nearly any solution, as much as we also know SoftNAS is an excellent solution on its own. In other words, here at Buurst, we look forward to proving it, one way or another.

 In our next blog (Competition – Part 2), you’ll see how  Buurst Fuusion extends this philosophy even further.  

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