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Private cloud storage at about $1 per GB

With new software from Parascale, building your own cloud is getting easier every day.

There's no question that the cloud provides a conceptually correct approach to large-scale data storage. As opposed to expensive gear from the likes of Sun and NetApp, which require a large capital outlay to get up and running, cloud-based services allow to you scale as you need at a much cheaper rate.

Today, Parascale launched a private beta of their software for cloud storage. You just have to bring your own cloud or have available Linux boxes to run the software on.

The Parascale software appears quite similar to the open-source Eucalyptus project, which favors a node-controlled system with smart and dumb endpoints to manage and process data. Both products are also geared to a "virtualized layer" that abstracts the software entirely, providing for easy scaling.

As reported on TechCrunchIT:

Companies can keep adding as many servers as they need, with each one acting as a redundant node. The software runs on the cluster as whole, treating it as one giant file system. This creates private cloud storage that companies can host themselves inside their own firewalls. ParaScale CEO Sajai Krishnan says customers can expect to pay about $1 per gigabyte, depending on their server costs.

That compares to 15 cents per gigabyte per month from Amazon's S3 Web storage service, not counting what customers pay for inbound and outbound bandwidth. After about six months, a customer would end up paying more for Amazon S3.

This approach obviously bodes well for enterprises needing to scale data storage as well as Internet companies that have large amounts of assets to manage. Regardless, this is one space where I really think being open source makes sense. A big part of being able to scale is knowing what underlies the applications. It's impossible to know what's inside every company's IT department and without collaboration it will be very difficult for cloud-style storage software to be broad enough for the general market.