One of the challenges facing IT planners is where to start with services like Amazon’s AWS. The logical first step is as a data repository to reduce the amount of on-premise data that needs to be stored and managed. The concern though when tiering to the cloud is what will the storage impact be and how complicated will the movement between those cloud and on-premise storage systems be? At Amazon re:Invent, Avere Systems announced their Cloud NAS as a potential solution to these challenges.
As we discussed in a recent video with Avere’s CEO Ron Bainchini, Avere’s product can best be described as an Edge Filer.
The Edge Filer can sit in front of a NAS and dramatically accelerate storage I/O performance, making the NAS infrastructure ideal for more than just the file sharing use case. The Edge Filer leverages the legacy filer’s data services capabilities so it can focus on high performance. With the acceleration provided by an Edge Filer, workloads like virtualization and databases, can comfortably be supported by Avere.
From its first incarnation, Avere’s product has evolved beyond performance acceleration to also include advanced Global Name Space and advanced data management services. It provides the ability to manage the data across multiple NAS back ends while controlling data movement between them. Their next evolutionary step is to accelerate cloud storage and remove the latency roadblock out to cloud storage. We provided a preview of these capabilities in another video we did with Bainchini entitled, “Overcoming The Road Block To Cloud Storage”. At Amazon re:Invent, Avere has delivered on their vision by bringing to market an Edge Filer solution that integrates directly into the Amazon offering; behold, the Edge Filer Cloud NAS.
Cloud NAS is the latest software addition to Avere’s Edge Filer product family. This offering allows IT planners to add public or private cloud storage to Avere’s Global Name Space and provides transparent access to data no matter where the data is stored in the organization’s enterprise. Data can be on an on-premise NAS, on-premise object store or in Amazon’s S3 and Glacier.
Avere claims that the Cloud NAS can cut the TCO of NAS data storage by as much as 73%. In our opinion, a typical design would be to create an Edge Filer large enough to store the active data set; then leverage an existing on-premise NAS for the data management and protection of both the active data and transitional data (data that is beginning to age). This data could also be copied to the cloud continuously for disaster recovery assurance.
Thanks to the performance capabilities of Cloud NAS, you can now really leverage Amazon S3 and Glacier to their fullest capabilities and definitely drive down the cost of storage. In fact, the on-premise NAS may never need to be expanded. The only future on-premise storage may be to expand the Edge Filer if the active data set increases. For most data centers the growth rate of the active data set is on a much slower curve than the inactive data set.
From a Storage Switzerland perspective, this is a significant announcement for Avere and for IT planners. Avere brings traditional data centers who are not armed with “cloud geeks” the ability to truly use Amazon S3 and Glacier, seamlessly without disrupting or changing their workflows. It resolves the basic issues of performance and data management, as well as even cloud outages or failures and is something that filer heavy data centers in particular should explore.