Cost Effective Storage for Legacy Apps heading to the Cloud

Briefing Note: Avere CloudFusion

The cloud appeals to organizations of all sizes, but as they begin their migration they are faced with the challenge of trying to integrate into the cloud provider’s storage infrastructure. Amazon, for example, has Elastic Block Storage (EBS) that supports the Amazon compute environment and Simple Storage Service (S3) that is for the bulk storage of data. Organizations don’t have the time or skillset to rewrite their applications for these cloud storage environments. As a result, they are looking for Cloud hosted NAS solutions to simplify the process. The problem is that very few of these services can manage and move data between the fast but expensive EBS, and the cheap but slow S3. Avere’s CloudFusion promises to bridge that gap.

What NAS in the Cloud?

When on-premise data becomes inactive, there are numerous cloud archiving options. In fact, Avere’s FXT Edge Filers are an example. Unlike other cloud archiving solutions, the FXT Edge Filers provide very high level performance in the data center, but can archive less frequently accessed data to the cloud. As we discussed in our recent webinar, if you want to create an all-flash data center then this is a viable option.

NAS in the cloud is for the opposite use case. It is for organizations that have their compute in the cloud already and want to access cloud based data without having to rewrite applications. A cloud-based NAS creates a CIFS/SMB/NFS mount point out of existing cloud storage and presents it to a cloud hosted application as a network share. There are several of these solutions available in the Amazon marketplace, and they enable use cases like:

  • Enabling the cloud-ization of legacy applications
  • Web-site repositories
  • Remote Office, Small Office, Home Office NAS

Cloud Storage Gets Expensive

The challenge facing organizations when moving to the cloud is the cost of the storage. Cloud compute can be scaled up and down, even turned off, when not in use. Storage, on the other hand, is more permanent: it can’t be stored, deleted and then recreated, at least not easily. The cloud does have an alternative; move data that is not currently in use from EBS to S3. The problem is that most organizations lack the time, skill and maybe even access to the code to move this data in any automated fashion. As a result, they just live with EBS pricing or cancel the cloud project.

CloudFusion – Making Cloud Storage for Cloud Compute Practical

CloudFusion seamlessly integrates EBS and S3 storage, automatically moving data between the two types as its activity dictate, without changing applications or user profiles. The result is a dramatic reduction in the cost of a 100% cloud project.

CloudFusion is available from within the Amazon Marketplace. The solution also provides traditional NAS protocol support so legacy applications can run on an Amazon compute instance almost as is. CloudFusion builds on the firm foundation of the Avere portfolio delivering a cloud only version. This family lineage means that CloudFusion should offer high-performance file access and highly intelligent data movement between tiers.

StorageSwiss Take

Organizations moving either one project or all of their applications to the cloud are confronted with a problem, while compute can scale easily up and down, storage can not, it is much more permanent. To keep the data side of the compute equation equally affordably requires moving data that is not in use to less expensive storage. Solutions like CloudFusion not only present legacy applications storage protocols that they are familiar with, they can also move data automatically and seamlessly to less expensive cloud storage when not in use.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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