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Putting vast quantities of data into the cloud is one thing—being able to manage it is quite another. For that, you need cloud-integrated storage, which makes accessing cloud storage as easy and secure as local storage. Cloud-integrated storage typically makes use of familiar NAS and SAN interfaces for compatibility and offers fast access. Alternatively, some of this technology is referred to as a "cloud gateway."
“Cloud-integrated storage is more efficient, cost-effective and lower maintenance than traditional storage,” said Nicos Vekiarides, CEO of TwinStrata. “It should serve as a gateway to a host of services and capabilities that strengthen the business and deliver competitive advantage.”
While cloud vendor selection is vital, so too is working out how to get your data up there and how to address functions such as replication, snapshots, deduplication, local storage, recovery, data movement and other actions. Several vendors provide products aimed at some or all of these needs. Here are a few of the highlights:
TwinStrata CloudArrayis designed to make cloud storage from any provider look, feel and perform like local NAS or SAN storage. It includes features to optimize performance; enhance security with at-rest and in-flight encryption; protect data with replication, caching and/or snapshot policies; minimize the amount of data stored in the cloud; and reduce bandwidth consumed. It is available in software or hardware appliance form factors, both starting at $4995 and in subscription bundles with cloud storage, starting at $0.19 per GB/mo. The company supports more than twenty cloud providers and can also run as an in-cloud appliance for services such as IBM, RackSpace and AWS.
CloudArray provides native NAS and SAN interfaces to any cloud provider, the ability to store local and cached copies of data with continuous operation should a cloud provider have an outage, and encryption at rest prior to sending to cloud with encryption keys managed locally.
“The emphasis of this technology isn't about how to use this ‘cool cloud thing.’ it's about how—or whether—the cloud can fundamentally address the very real challenges of growing storage,” said Vekiarides. “Cloud providers don't offer a solution that makes the data movement, interoperability and enterprise storage feature sets seamless. They're relying on the obvious business benefits of (and market movement toward) the cloud to increase cloud usage.”
Riverbed Whitewater is a cloud storage appliance built for data protection. It is said to improve disaster recovery (DR) readiness and reduce the operational costs of data protection by up to 80 percent. With inline encryption, deduplication and compression to speed replication to the cloud and a local cache included, Whitewater appliances deliver fast, local, LAN-speed restores while safeguarding important data in the cloud. It supports most data protection applications and cloud storage providers. Most recently, it added support for Amazon Glacier, larger virtual appliances and enhanced management for multiple appliances.
Whitewater is available in physical and virtual appliance formats. The company also provides a free read-only device to recover data to any location with an Internet connection. Deduplicated cloud capacities range from 1 TB to 160 TB, which could reflect 30 to 4.8 PB of source data. These appliances are available starting at $7,995. Free trials are available on the company website.
“Whitewater appliances reduce data sets on average by 10 to 30x, to cut down cloud costs and speed transmission while integrating with existing data protection applications,” said Jerome Noll, marketing director, Riverbed Technology. “Users can typically install a Whitewater appliance and begin moving data to the cloud within one hour.
Zenoss Service Dynamics provides service impact management, event management, resource monitoring and advanced analytics to manage physical and virtual devices as services instead of individual data points. A model-driven architecture unifies management and maintains dependencies correlated to services. This is said to reduce downtime, improve performance, make operations more agile, streamline operations and lower cost of management. Resource Manager (the foundation piece of the Zenoss Service Dynamics family) starts at $12,000 for an annual subscription of up to 100 monitored devices.
“Zenoss is architected for transparency, extensibility, and interoperability, delivering affordable business value,” said Chris Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Zenoss. “The legacy players have tried purchasing innovative companies to catch up, but this leaves them with point tools that were never meant to work together.”
Amazon Web Services Storage Gateway
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Storage Gateway is a service that connects an on-premise software appliance with AWS cloud storage in a secure manner. The company says it provides low-latency performance by such means as maintaining frequently accessed data on-premise. It also encrypts data inside the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Together with Amazon EC2, it can function as a cloud-hosted solution for DR purposes. That way, you can mirror the production environment.
Pricing wise, you can take a free, 60-day virtual gateway appliance trial. After that, pricing is kind of complex. Each gateway appliance costs $125 per month and then you pay for snapshots, data transfers and overall storage volume. The website lays it all out in vast detail.
Nasuni calls its offering Storage Infrastructure as a Service (SIaaS) and describes it as a complete storage solution leveraging the cloud as a primary storage component built-in to a unified storage system. It can distribute and share data across geographic locations, recover data from any previous version and provide IT with full control. It is priced per TB with annual contracts.
“With SIaaS, the resource drain of managing hardware infrastructure is eliminated, and IT resources are free to focus to manage the data,” said Connor Fee, Nasuni’s director of marketing. “Nasuni combines the attributes of cloud storage with an on-premises controller, all managed by a proprietary technology designed to deliver the same IT management,and user experience provided by traditional storage.”