How to Tame Data and Storage Sprawl with a Cross-Cloud Data Fabric

Over the last decade, the modern data center has evolved into a complex, virtualized environment that hosts many different types of applications ranging from legacy applications to new next-gen applications, while also struggling to securely store, manage, and monetize the ever-rising tide of unstructured data and analytics. The result is massive storage sprawl as organizations add more storage both on-premises and in the cloud.

Organizations need a comprehensive means to manage their data in a way that avoids the need to keep adding more discreet storage silos for different use cases. A viable solution would consolidate all existing storage regardless of type or location. It would also provide automated data mobility and provisioning through user-defined policies with support for all current file-sharing protocols. And ideally, it would deliver self-service data access for the end-user applications, DevOps, and Big Data teams.

With these factors in mind, we can see the need for some type of scale-out distributed or parallel file system with advanced data management features. While there are numerous scale-out parallel file systems available from various vendors, they each have certain limitations. Some use a centralized model, which limits how  much you can scale. Others may use a true distribution model but suffer from performance issues. A data fabric based file system would be one method of accomplishing these goals.

A Cross-Cloud Data Fabric Solution

A recent entry into this field is a new software-only company called Elastifile. It has taken a holistic approach to active and inactive data, for dynamic workflows across on-premises and in-cloud environments and both flash and object tiers, to help solve the data challenges preventing true Hybrid IT. Elastifile was designed from the ground up to deliver a hybrid cloud infrastructure that provides seamless data access and sharing between different environments.

At the heart of Elastifile’s solution is the Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS). ECFS is an elastic, distributed file system that can create a single namespace across all on-premises and cloud locations. It is optimized for flash-based storage (SSDs), is able to scale from three nodes to thousands, store billions of files, with linear scale-out IOPS and bandwidth and consistent millisecond latencies at any scale.

ECFS accomplishes this scale via a patented architecture that employs innovative techniques for managing distributed metadata, which eliminate the bottlenecks and performance issues frequently encountered in scale-out storage as file counts become very large. And for cloud migration and inactive data management, ECFS integrates unique object tiering and space-efficient data migration capabilities.

Elastifile Feature Set:

  • Environment Agnostic Deployment – Software-only solution can be deployed in the cloud, on-premises, or spanning both to create hybrid and cross-cloud deployments.
  • Hardware Agnostic Deployment – Works with all servers and SSD types, eliminating hardware lock-in.
  • Data Efficiency – Efficiently compresses and deduplicates data to maximize utilization of available storage capacity.
  • CloudConnect – CloudConnect feature enables:
    • Highly efficient (compressed and deduplicated) data migration and “check in” to capacity-optimized object format for cloud storage.
    • On-demand, granular “check out” of desired files for active access from POSIX-compliant in-cloud file system.
  • Elastic Scalability – Scales to handle data sets of any size, whether on-premises, in-cloud, or spanning both. Supports thousands of nodes and billions of files, with linearly scalable performance.
  • Consistent QoS – Stack streamlined for flash to deliver maximum performance. Fully distributed metadata model and adaptive data placement ensure consistent Quality of Service, even in noisy, heterogeneous environments.
  • Interface Agility – POSIX-compliant file system delivers standardized interface for both applications and end users. RESTful API enables easy programmatic access.
  • Unified Management – Provides comprehensive suite of self-service control and management tools through a unified management console. Enables centralized visibility to globally distributed data, with granular monitoring and policy-based controls. Even object tiers can be managed with granular file and directory-level “check-in” and “check-out” management.
  • Consumption-based Pricing – Supports OpEx-centric “pay-as-you-grow” subscription pricing. Enables agile, cost-optimized control over IT expenses, based on dynamic infrastructure requirements.

Elastifile’s solution addresses a wide variety of on-premises, in-cloud, and hybrid use cases including high-performance computing (e.g. for Life Sciences and EDA workloads), stateful containers, and the “lift and shift” of traditional applications to the cloud.

StorageSwiss Take

Elastifile is a solution that effectively addresses the many issues organizations face in dealing with storage sprawl and hybrid cloud challenges. Its ability to consolidate all data within a single namespace while automating management transparently according to user-defined policies means organizations no longer need to create storage silos for individual data use cases. Its wide range of features and flexibility make it a compelling solution. Any organization struggling with on-premises storage sprawl, or seeking a unified solution for hybrid or in-cloud use cases, should take a serious look at this product.

Sponsored by Elastifile

About Elastifile

Elastifile is redefining the way data is stored and managed, enabling seamless deployment of private and hybrid cloud solutions. With enterprises and service providers increasingly seeking to support both on-premises and cloud workflows, Elastifile delivers a cross-cloud data fabric that unifies the data across these environments within the single global namespace of a global file/object system. The easy-to-manage, easy-to-deploy, elastic, scale-out architecture intelligently shares the resources across all environments, providing the optimal solution for enterprise data and related application services. For more information visit

Joseph is a Lead Analyst with DSMCS, Inc. and an IT veteran with over 35 years of experience in the high tech industries. He has held senior technical positions with several major OEMs, VARs, and System Integrators, providing them with technical pre and post- sales support for a wide variety of data protection solutions. He also provided numerous technical analyst articles for Storage Switzerland as well as acting as their chief editor for all technical content up to the time Storage Switzerland closed upon their acquisition by StorONE. In the past, he also designed, implemented and supported backup, recovery and encryption solutions in addition to providing Disaster Recovery planning, testing and data loss risk assessments in distributed computing environments on UNIX and Windows platforms for various OEM's, VARs and System Integrators.

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