TFD10 Prep: Caringo


This is part of my series of posts for Tech Field Day 10.

Caringo is an object storage software company, essentially.

Caringo make a thing called Swarm, which is scale-out object storage software. It can run on physical servers or VMs, apparently, and supports lots of different access protocols including S3, Swift, NFS, SMB/CIFS, iSCSI, and HDFS. That sounds pretty cool, and if I could set up a multi-VM/multi-physical filestore type thing with appropriate data protection capabilities in my lab, that could come in quite handy.

Swarm is available for a free trial that supports up to 2TB of storage (pretty good!) which I had a go at grabbing and installing. There were a couple of snafus in the process of getting the VM image, such as not getting an automated “here’s the download link” after signing up (there’s a manual approval step), which was a little odd for 2016. Still, the friendly people at Caringo got me sorted out, and I managed to get as far as loading up the OVF into my Ravello account and spinning up a few VMs.

Alas, the documentation isn’t quite detailed enough to easily follow step-by-step as someone completely new to the process, so I was able to get the VM booted and running, but wasn’t sure how to configure it to actually do anything useful. And then I ran out of time and wasn’t able to get back to playing around with it to figure out where I’d gone wrong.

When I say Caringo is an object storage software company, I’m not entirely sure. That’s what I think they do, but it’s not entirely clear why I should care about that. What’s the software for? Caringo lists a bunch of possible use-cases on their website, which all seem to be situations that need large amounts of data that needs to be online, i.e., not on tape. Okay, but now what?

Last night after dinner, I was talking with fellow delegate Chris Evans about this very thing. We’re not sure what all the various object storage type solutions are really for.

I want to understand who the customers for Caringo are, and what they’re doing with the software, and particularly why they need this kind of solution and not other possible options. I don’t have a good mental map of the market that Caringo play in, and where they are on that map, and it wasn’t easy for me to figure it out from reading their website and doing some basic research.

That concerns me, because if I’m a potential customer, I need to be about to figure out if Caringo is an option that should be in my initial set of candidate solutions. That’s a simple yes/no question, and it happens before I dig into things in more detail and start comparing options against each other. I have to figure out which options I should bother finding out more about before I potentially waste my time on research of an option that is obviously not for me. I don’t go shopping for shoes in a women’s lingerie store.

Hopefully Caringo can help me to understand their market and where they fit in it. And then I can spend some more time getting the software running to see if the reality matches the marketing.

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One Comment

  1. Hi Justin! We appreciate your feedback on our process, and look forward to meeting you at TFD10, where we will make sure all your questions get answered!

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