Multi-Cloud is a Reality – How to Deal With it – NooBaa Briefing Note

Multi-Cloud, the idea of using a variety of cloud service providers based on their capabilities or who has the best price sounds great. While it sounds great that organizations will have the foresight to systematically review and move workloads in a calm and orderly fashion, the real world of IT does not work like that. In most cases, rather than gradually transitioning to a new technology or environment, IT has it suddenly dropped in their lap. This is the case with multi-cloud, as many organizations are already multi-cloud, and dealing with that reality is now a primary objective.

Instant Multi-Cloud

Most organizations become multi-cloud instantly. It can happen when the organization acquires another organization. For example, Amazon became a customer of Azure when it bought Whole Foods, Google became a customer of AWS when it acquired Waze and even a private cloud provider like Datto became a customer of Amazon, until it painfully migrated out of Amazon, when it acquired Backupify. Carbonite will go through a similar cloud conversion as it completes its acquisition of Mozy. The list can go on and on indefinitely.

Another factor is the impact of regulations like GDPR, where organizations will be restricted as to where in the cloud they can store their data. Any of these regulations, GDPR or others to come, may require that the organization relocate certain data in-country and that may also require switching providers.

Finally, there are the multiple clouds that the organization is already using. For example, what if IT gets that enterprise file sync and share project approved and they need to consolidate all of the various file sync and share solutions already in place into a single repository?

The time required to identify this data and consolidate it may not be worth the effort. Instead, the organization needs a single namespace that allows applications to access data in multiple locations without migrating, paying egress fees or building data placement knowledge into the application itself.

Introducing NooBaa Single Namespace

The single namespace concept is a key new feature in the latest release from NooBaa, a software defined object storage vendor focused on providing storage solutions for unstructured data, media, archives and backup. (To learn more about NooBaa see our initial briefing note on the company).

In this release (version 2.0), NooBaa can create a namespace bucket that acts as a metadata controller. All applications, be they cloud based or on-premises, are directed to the namespace bucket to ascertain file location and then are redirected to that location. The feature works transparently to the application and data can move between clouds without updating the application.

The first use case for Single namespace is to glue together an organization’s various storage repositories no matter on which cloud they are located. Then, over time, the organization can migrate data from one provider to another to take advantage of a particular provider’s unique capabilities or to take advantage of better pricing or more cost appropriate storage.

A key capability of single namespace is that it only moves the accessed data to the new cloud provider. For example, if the data set is in Azure, and the organization’s application is in Amazon EC2, only the accessed data would move to Amazon S3, not the entire dataset. Moving only accessed data saves time and money by avoiding egress charges.

As part of its multi-cloud functionality NooBaa also, in version 2, added the ability to migrate between AWS S3 API to Azure Blob and the Azure Blob API to AWS S3 storage. It also added lifecycle policies to automate tiering between different types of storage. NooBaa’s new Personalized Data Flow can extend these lifecycle policies, which enables administrators to create sophisticated data flows, perform data anonymization and extract research-oriented data out of huge data sets. Lastly, NooBaa added in version 2.0, the ability to do Erasure Coding for data protection, the previous release counted on replication.

StorageSwiss Take

As unstructured data continues to grow, a secondary storage solution is a critical component of any data center. The need to process and act on this data as well as move it between on-premises and the cloud or between clouds, becomes a very necessary capability. NooBaa’s ability to provide a single namespace into the existing multi-cloud reality as well as preparing the organization for an optimized multi-cloud experience deserves serious consideration.

Eleven 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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