Wasabi, Founded By Ex-Carbonite Team, Plans To Attack S3 Storage Market With Disruptive Price, Performance

Cloud storage startup Wasabi Technologies on Wednesday came out of stealth mode with a promise to store customers' data in its cloud six times faster than can be done with Amazon S3 while charging only one-fifth of S3's price.

The Wasabi cloud storage service, however, is an open service that is 100-percent compatible with the Amazon S3 API, which means customers can come and go as they want with no vendor lock-in, said David Friend, co-founder and CEO of the Boston-based company.

Friend is no stranger to disruptive cloud storage technologies. Before founding Wasabi, Friend was a co-founder and the chief executive officer of Boston-based Carbonite, where he worked for 10 years until he left in January of 2015 to found Wasabi.

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Wasabi has already raised $8.5 million in venture funding.

Wasabi is offering a cloud-based object storage service that securely stores customers' data in its Virginia-based co-located data center, Friend told CRN. Wasabi claims it can store customer data for $0.0039 per gigabyte, per month, compared to the $0.021 to $0.023 per gigabyte, per month that Amazon would charge. The Wasabi price per gigabyte is lower than that of Amazon's low-speed Glacier archiving offering, he said.

"Our vision is that cloud storage is going to become a utility like electricity," he said.

More important than cost, however, is immutability of the data, Friend said.

Amazon S3 and Wasabi both offer 11 nines of reliability, and will not lose data, he said. However, Wasabi ensures that the data cannot be changed either accidently or on purpose once it has been stored. "With Wasabi, for anything saved, customers can push a button to ensure it can't be changed or deleted for the specified time," he said.

Friend declined to discuss the technology behind the Wasabi cloud storage offering, other than to say that is not the same technology used at Carbonite. Wasabi and Carbonite do not have any equity relationship, he said.

"The cost of storage depends on the cost of hard drives," he said. "We get the same price as the other cloud providers. Our secret sauce is in the software. We focus on how to manage the data. We don't use Windows or Linux. We have learned in the last 15 years how to control that cost. Our technology is completely new."

Wasabi will initially work mainly direct with end-user customers who will likely sign on to the service via the web and a credit card, Friend said. "Our marketing job is to make sure people know us," he said. "People who care about the cost of storage will choose Wasabi. People who care about blinding speed will choose Wasabi."

However, Wasabi will eventually have a channel play, Friend said. The company has already hired a vice president to develop a channel program.

"Most people will come to us direct," he said. "But we offer a good opportunity for MSPs who provide a whole range of services. There's no need to break the storage part out separately from the other services."

If Wasabi's service works as stated, it will be a very interesting offering, said Rafi Kronzon, CEO of Cartwheel, a New York-based managed service provider.

However, Kronzon told CRN, it will be important to see how well it actually works.

"The actual speed depends on many things," he said. "Speed moves at the bottleneck rate. Where's the bottleneck? In the upload? The download? The processing of the data?"

MSPs, in general, do not compete head-to-head with public cloud storage providers like Amazon, Kronzon said. "We usually store data in S3, but only through backup services like Carbonite, Backupify, and Crashplan," he said. "If Wasabi is going after these vendors, or after companies like Dropbox, it would be a big deal. But Amazon has all the right tools to store and archive data."

Wasabi is entering a crowded cloud storage market that is quickly racing to a cost of zero, Kronzon said.

"There's lots of room in the market, but it's still a tough market," he said. "I would have thought there would actually be more consolidation in this market by now. Cost-per-gigabyte is not a big deal for customers with a terabyte or two of data. The big difference is at large enterprises or at reseller selling services with petabytes of data."