A Private Cloud That’s More Than A Backup Appliance – Cloudian Product Analysis

An organization’s backup storage target options have changed from simple tape to an almost bewildering number of options such as fully integrated backup appliances, secondary storage systems, cloud storage, object storage and various other software defined storage (SDS) systems.

An ideal storage system would be flexible, infinitely scalable and capable of serving multiple use cases beyond just backup. It would also be able to integrate seamlessly with existing storage infrastructures, as well as with public cloud storage.

An Effective Private/Hybrid Cloud Solution

One very effective storage solution that can enable an organization to cost effectively build and manage a backup storage target is Cloudian’s latest release of its HyperStore 6.0 object storage solution. It is designed to simplify and automate the operational management of cloud storage with new management features that scale to meet the requirements of multi-petabyte, multi-region storage deployments. This lowers management costs while reducing the administrative burden. Furthermore, with its 100% native S3 API support, it is proven compatible with backup solutions including VERITAS, Commvault, and Rubrik, as well as a wide variety of other data management applications. (For compatibility with VEEAM, the solution also supports file transfers.)

The newest release is available as an appliance or as software-defined-storage, like its predecessors, with features such as peer-to-peer architecture with no single point of failure, multi-tenancy, replication, erasure coding, compression, QoS (Quality of Service) controls, and AES 256 bit encryption.

For DR purposes, Cloudian HyperStore also supports replication to public cloud platforms including Amazon S3 and Google GCP. It also has extensions for NFS and SMB protocols to facilitate interchange between object storage and standard file systems.

HyperStore acts as a new storage tier that can collect data from various enterprise applications — backup is just one example — and store that data in a single, limitlessly scalable namespace. Furthermore, because HyperStore clusters can span across data centers, that data can be geographically distributed for DR or content distribution needs.

Backup and Archive Considerations

The various data protection and security features available in the Cloudian HyperStore solution make it ideal as a storage target for backups and for archives. Proactive repair and auto correction features such as erasure coding, enable deep archive efficiency and flexible redundancy resulting in robust data protection. These automated features constantly evaluate data integrity ensuring that storage within the system is always repaired and data integrity is constantly verified. A Repair-On-Read feature automatically checks all replicas of an object on a read request. Missing or out-of-date replicas are automatically replaced or updated.

Additionally, the Smart Redirect feature for erasure coding and replication schemes enables both a local cache replication for data protection and Amazon S3 cross-region replication for regulatory compliance and disaster recovery while making more hot spares available for erasure coding. The S3 cross-region replication only replicates new PUT commands.

Data Management: Beyond Backup

Cloudian is not a point solution. As a limitlessly scalable storage pool, Cloudian can play multiple roles within the data center. NAS offload is one of them. Cloudian partners with Komprise to analyze data on Tier 1 NAS systems, such as NetApp and Isilon, and then transparently migrate the dormant or infrequently used data to Cloudian. This typically results in reclaiming about 60% of the NAS capacity. This process is invisible to users, with no disruption to data access.

In addition to reclaiming NAS capacity, this migration also results in reduced NAS backup time and lower backup software licensing costs as data is removed from the backup path.

A Step Towards the Future of Data

Today, organizations must meet the expectations of consumers and governments to have historical information immediately searchable and accessible. In the future, data retention will become even more critical. The advent of AI and machine learning will turn data and analysis into a strategic weapon. Data will drive the learning that in turn drives better business decisions are made. A comprehensive data pool will become a company’s differentiator.

For an example of historical data in action, think of Amazon. As a retailer, the company’s knowledge of their customers’ browsing and buying history is an enormous advantage. With this information, they can make better recommendations to the shopper (ie, increase revenues), and make better operational decisions (ie, increase margin). In the near future, similar thinking will apply to all types of organizations around the globe, with data retention as the central building block.

Adopting object storage is a starting point toward this future state. As a backup and NAS offload data repository, the object storage pool provides storage consolidation that serves two goals: First, it saves cost and complexity (while retaining continuity with existing processes). Second, it forms the basis for the data pool that will become the AI learning engine of the future.

Object storage systems are designed to store limitless amounts of data for lengthy periods of time. Their metadata facilitates searches for specific objects stored on the system. And their scale-out architecture provides for scalable performance while protecting data from hardware failure at whatever level is needed. This makes them ideal for archives as well as backups.

Flexible Deployment

Cloudian HyperStore is available as an appliance and as a software solution that the user deploys on their commodity hardware. Either way, Cloudian enables limitless scalability, multi-data center storage and replication, fully automated replication or data tiering to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud and support for all S3-compatible applications.

The appliances can range from 48TB to 760TB per device. Multiple devices can be combined to create clusters that can grow to many petabytes.

The two appliance models are the HyperStore 1500 and the HyperStore 4000. The HyperStore 1500 is a 1U platform with 12 hot-swappable 3.5” disk drives, and up to 4 hot-swappable 2.5” SSDs, and 10Gbe networking.The HyperStore 4000 is a 4U platform that combines two nodes in one chassis. It contains 70 hot-swappable 3.5” disk drives (35 per node) and up to 4 hot-swappable 2.5” SSDs, and 10Gbe networking.

In addition to the HyperStore software feature and functions, the HyperStore system can also use the Komprise option to provide advanced second-gen Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) capabilities to automatically and transparently identify and migrate cold data from NAS systems to Cloudian scale-out storage based on user defined policies.

StorageSwiss Take

With advanced data protection features that ensure data remains unaltered over lengthy periods of time, as well as the ability to store PBs of data and millions of files cost effectively, Cloudian HyperStore is an ideal storage target for backups and archives. Its additional automated data management, analytics capabilities and compatibility with a wide range of popular data management applications, make this a system that organizations should seriously consider for all their storage needs.

Joseph is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and an IT veteran with over 35 years of experience in the high tech industries. He has held senior technical positions with several OEMs and VARs; providing technical pre and post sales support as well as designing, implementing and supporting backup, recovery and data protection / encryption solutions along with providing Disaster Recovery planning and testing and data loss risk assessment in distributed computing environments on Unix and Windows platforms.

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