A Cloud Ventures Interview

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Part Two of an Interview with Tom Chalker, CEO and Founder Esotera, Senior Associate Cloud Ventures

Can you briefly explain how Esotera works?

Esotera is a solution that manages a bunch of geographically distributed servers. It also supplies a piece of client software that runs in a web browser. Once a user is provisioned, they can launch that client and they see a file manager that talks to their own independent virtual drives. They drag and drop and double-click just as they would on Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, but the files they write are stored across the Esotera cloud by generating unique seed values that position the blocks of their file. Only they know the seed values; only they can open their files. What’s really powerful about this approach is that the use of random numbers automatically balances the use of servers while at the same time making it impossible to rebuild the file with knowledge of the seed.

In a recent release it was said that the Esoteric suite of distributed storage products simplifies both the end-user and system administration functions. How so? How is it different from conventional storage systems, how does it disrupt traditional mass storage business models? Specifically, what makes it different from other existing solution such as RackSpace?

If you look back at the major innovations in technology you will see a pattern. The simpler designs win because they are inherently more stable and malleable. Esotera is simply a solution that manages the seeds of files stored in an encrypted file system. It is mathematics that determines the behavior of the system in terms of its reliability, security and scalability. That’s it. It exploits the expandability of Cloud systems and yet the software components will not require re-engineering to manage zettabytes or yottabytes of data. The math takes care of that.

Conventional solutions start with hard-drives that are bounded in storage and shoe-horn an unbounded hierarchical file system model on top of them. Then through layers of rules and tables and encoded heuristics, the system attempts to form the emergent behavior of scalability and security. But it’s a brittle solution. Some points in the chain need special attention and that means you need highly qualified engineers to look after them.

Rackspace has innovated by adding a new layer to conventional storage. They have leveraged virtual machine infrastructure to optimize the hardware that controls the underlying storage and created fabulous algorithms to allocate and release data over a large Cloud. Ultimately, though, it’s just another abstraction that will need to be perfected and maintained by their talented engineers.

Esotera disrupts the business model of data storage with its ability to manage unlimited numbers of independent data collections with negligible IT HR resources.

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