What are Cloud File Services?

Most IT professionals think of cloud storage as storage at the end of an internet connection that, because of the inherent latency, is for data that doesn’t need instant access. As a result, IT uses it mostly for backup, archive and file sharing workloads. But cloud storage is also the storage infrastructure that supports cloud-based applications. The protocols to access these infrastructures tend to be different than what the typical data center uses.

For new applications supporting these new protocols is not a problem. But for organizations looking to move applications to the cloud, it is a big problem. One of the biggest roadblocks to moving an application to the cloud is concern over re-developing how it accesses cloud storage. Cloud File Services provide a bridge between legacy applications and cloud storage infrastructures.

Cloud File Services enable modern cloud storage infrastructures to present NFS, SMB/CIFS and in some cases iSCSI to the applications they host. This means an organization can move legacy applications to the cloud without having to re-develop how it accesses storage. Not only does this speed up the movement to the cloud, but it also provides a safety mechanism: If for some reason, the organization changes its cloud strategy it can easily move the application back into the data center since it is still using the legacy access protocols it once had.

Cloud File Services also gains all the advantages of cloud hosting. It has almost unlimited access to both performance and capacity. Adding more of either is as simple as filling out the cloud provider’s “request for resources” form. There is no longer a need for migration between new systems. The cloud provider handles upgrades.

There are a number of use cases for Cloud File Services. Beyond the obvious file sharing use case, other use cases include providing legacy protocol access for recently migrated applications. Cloud File Services provide storage for VMware hosted images, back-end storage for web-servers and it can even provide persistent storage for Docker containers.

There are a number of Cloud File Services options available. Every cloud provider offers an option and there are several independent software options available. In our on demand webinar, Storage Switzerland and SoftNAS go over Cloud File Services in detail, explaining what it is, detailing the use cases and helping you sort out the differences between the various solutions. We show you how to decide if Cloud File Services are right for your organization and which of the available options is the best fit.

Watch On Demand

George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer of StorONE. Prior to StorONE, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland, which StorONE acquired in March of 2020. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, 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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