South Africa’s Metrofile takes on the cloud giants

Metrofile has launched rand-based storage, allowing companies to store large volumes of historical data at relatively low cost.

Metrofile Cloud, the digital arm of JSE-listed data management solutions provider Metrofile, has launched a rand-based “petabyte file storage” solution that allows companies to store large volumes of historical data at relatively low cost.

“Because storing data was so expensive, companies and organisations were throwing that away,” Metrofile Cloud MD Steve Porter told TechCentral in an interview.

“For the first time, we are offering them a locally built organisation that gives them what the top cloud providers offer at a rand-rated storage cost. It gives organisations a chance to work through their historical data as opposed to throwing it away,” said Porter. We are up to 80% cheaper than the big three public cloud providers…

Metrofile’s traditional business comprises physical warehouse space to store large volumes of paper-based documents that companies keep for periods of time for legal compliance reasons. The ability to keep the data in storage beyond legally specified time periods offers businesses the chance to mine that data for insights that can help inform their strategic decisions.

“Our paper business is still the 500lb gorilla. If you think about South African legislation, when you buy a house you still sign documents with ink on paper. That requirement from a legal and compliance perspective hasn’t changed. But what we are noticing is that the digital element of the business is growing,” said Porter.

From a budgeting perspective, businesses are discouraged from using cloud storage and its data mining capabilities because costs can vary widely from month to month. Dollar-based pricing and per-second compute rates contribute to making costs less predictable. However, less noticeable egress and ingress fees can easily ramp up costs, especially as more data is accessed and manipulated, Porter said.

Metrofile Cloud

“Depending on the file types and the number of requests, this can be a frightening amount of money. We don’t charge you any of that.”

He explained that a DIY attitude has been pivotal to the company’s ability to lower cloud services costs. “We are up to 80% cheaper than the big three public cloud providers,” he said. Metrofile Cloud has partnered with Tsolo Storage Systems for technical expertise and uses a combination of open-source software and local infrastructure to minimise costs. “It is amazing what you can build with local software, talent and infrastructure,” he said.

Given the immense size of the petabyte storage solution offered by Metrofile Cloud, fully replicated copies of the data are infeasible and “replication has to be built into the system”. The company is however looking to expand its data centre footprint to other regions for redundancy.

“At this price, you can now place your data in reliable and affordable storage, and we keep three copies of it. Importantly, you are using a local company and ensuring your price stays firm and is not victim to the dollar,” he said.  – © 2023 NewsCentral Media

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