As of the 24th May, Ondat, a start-up that developed scale-out persistent Kubernetes storage software, is no more. The website has been taken down, and the Slack site closed. Will we see this technology emerge again?
StorageOS was a UK-based software-defined storage start-up founded by Alex Chircop, Simon Croome and Chris Brandon in 2015. The company developed a scale-out persistent storage solution, initially for Docker, then (as the market evolved) moving over to Kubernetes. The company rebranded as Ondat in the second half of 2021, subsequently being acquired by Akamai Technologies in March 2023.
As of 24th May 2023, the company website has gone dark, while a message posted on the Ondat Slack main channel indicates closure from the 24th. It appears that the software is no longer available, although it can still be accessed as a Docker image, and customers have use of the software (and presumably paid support) until the end of any licence term.
For the moment, it appears that the Ondat/StorageOS platform is effectively dead for on-premises deployments but will be used to host storage for applications running in the Akamai Connected Cloud (a cloud computing service). We currently have no visibility on whether the technology will resurface as an offering for future on-premises deployments (however, that appears unlikely).
Ondat was acquired by Akamai Technologies, a company well-known for its content delivery network (CDN). Akamai was founded in the late 1990s, during the early days of the World Wide Web, when online content was emerging as a significant business. Today the company boasts a CDN with approximately 350,000 servers in 134 countries connected to over 1300 networks.
It’s clear that a content delivery network is a good foundation for building a cloud computing business. In February 2022, Akamai acquired Linode, a cloud computing platform, for $900 million. That acquisition forms the core of today’s Akamai Connected Cloud, now supplemented by Ondat’s storage technology.
Ondat isn’t the first storage company to be acquired by a cloud computing provider and then disappear into obscurity. AWS acquired E8 Storage back in July 2019, with the E8 website going dark the very same day. Google acquired Elastifile in the same month. In both cases, the acquired IP was used to deliver more mature storage offerings for both cloud vendors. Although not a cloud company, we saw NVIDIA acquire Excelero in March 2022, while VMware acquired Datrium in July 2020.
We could go on, but the message is clear. Storage companies are a popular target for cloud service providers looking to gain technology and expertise to improve their service offerings. In all of these scenarios, the products of these companies were discontinued.
The Architect’s View®
In the Kubernetes storage market, we’ve seen Robin Systems disappear into Rakuten, while Pure Storage acquired Portworx. DataCore picked up MayaData (the developers of OpenEBS). Today, Portworx operates as part of the Cloud BU within Pure Storage, while DataCore has rebranded the OpenEBS technology as Bolt.
This market has changed rapidly over the last 12 months since we published our 2022 Container-Native Storage report. This year’s version will look markedly different as another commercial offering is taken off the list. It may be a bit premature to ask the question, but will there be any commercial or open-source offering left that can challenge the leadership position of Portworx? Could you trust that any of the other solutions will still be around? Come back in July to find out!
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