Object storage maker SwiftStack has announced a distribution agreement with networking behemoth Cisco. The agreement, called a collaboration by SwiftStack, will see SwiftStack’s object storage bundled in with Cisco’s on-site OpenStack offering called Metapod.
The agreement apparently grew out of Cisco’s internal deployment of SwiftStack for its own internal cloud needs, and the two companies have been working together for some time.
The Swift part of SwiftStack comes from the OpenStack Swift project, on which SwiftStack is based. SwiftStack provides additional components on top of the underlying Swift codebase to provide enterprise features, such as manageability, scale, and integration enhancements, that are not present in the open source project itself.
The agreement will likely do wonders for SwiftStack’s numbers, as this arrangement gives them access to the considerable reach of Cisco’s channel, but this isn’t an exclusive deal by any means. The company has customers that use HPE, Dell, SuperMicro and Seagate systems, not just Cisco. “As the company goes forward, absolutely we would entertain partnerships or collaborations with other system vendors where we felt like that would bring us, or them, a unique opportunity in their customer base,” said Don Jaworski, SwiftStack CEO.
SwiftStack is far from alone in the object storage market. Most major storage vendors have an object storage offering of some sort — NetApp has StorageGRID — and there are plenty of startups in the game as well: Hedvig, Cloudian, Basho’s Riak CS, and Minio to name a few. With so much competition, I asked Jaworski what he believes makes SwiftStack different.
“We are one of the only object storage systems that supports bi-modal access,” he said. “An application can access the same data either from a file handle, from a CIFS or NFS point of view, or from a Swift or S3 API.”
Jaworski also told me that the Project Technical Lead for the Swift project, John Dickinson, is a SwiftStack employee. Dickinson is the Director of Technology at SwiftStack, having joined three years ago from Rackspace, and has been involved in the OpenStack Swift project since the very beginning. “We have a number of engineers, half of our engineering organisation, is focused on projects that are open source contributions,” Jaworski said. “We’re very committed to putting resources of the company in that direction.”
OpenStack itself seems to have recovered some momentum from the near continuous proclamations of its demise just twelve months ago. “I feel like we’ve moved into this next step of people really starting to go down the path of production deployment,” said Jaworski. “I feel like it’s starting to look more practical, where customers are trying to solve real problems. Two years ago we saw this big, strategic enterprise IT conversation, which frankly looked like a computer science project.”
“Now I see it acting more like real solutions and real deployments,” he said.
You can read about the announcement in more detail at SwiftStack’s blog.
This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.