More Efficient Enterprise File Data Storage and Collaboration – CTERA Briefing Note

The modern enterprise is highly distributed geographically, employs a range of in-office and remote workers, and is generating and using file data at an unprecedented pace. Legacy network-attached storage (NAS), or “filer” arrays were not designed to provide the levels of scalability, and geographically dispersed, real-time collaboration that are required to meet these new business needs. Furthermore, as data grows, storing data that is not frequently used by the enterprise (which comprises 80% or more of the organization’s file data) is becoming prohibitively expensive.


File data management software provider CTERA is tackling this pain point. As discussed in a previous Storage Switzerland briefing note, CTERA provides file data management software that facilitates a centralized, global namespace for endpoint and office file sharing and data protection. The platform can be deployed across the customer’s choice of on-premises and off-premises object storage resources, with multi-cloud environments also supported. An application programming interface (API) enables direct access to cloud resources from CTERA’s portfolio of edge filer appliances. The edge filers are deployed at customers’ sites. They provide caching and secure tiering of data from the appliance to the customer’s object storage resources. CTERA offers C Series appliances for bare metal, smaller office use cases; H Series appliances for larger VMware-based virtualized environments; and V Series virtual gateways. To this roster, it is now adding X Series edge appliances to enable legacy NAS array consolidation for large, distributed enterprises.

CTERA X-Series

CTERA X-Series appliances run as a virtual machine within Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s (HPE’s) SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). They are deployed in a two-node, high availability configuration; data availability is further supported through integration with cloud-delivered data protection. Synchronous replication syncs data between on-premises nodes, and data is then replicated asynchronously to the global object storage repository. Data is deduplicated before it is migrated to retention storage, to support data quality, to avoid the cost of storing redundant files, and to optimize bandwidth. To accelerate performance and to ensure enough capacity to meet enterprise-grade file data collaboration, the appliances consists of a high availability cluster of 2 nodes, each containing either 15 or 23 terabytes (TB) of solid-state disk capacity (raw) and 192 gigabytes (GB) of memory.

Customers may purchase X Series appliances directly from CTERA, or through one of CTERA’s channel partners across the world.

Key use cases for X Series arrays include remote office and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) file services.

  • The CTERA appliance may serve as the primary NAS device for remote offices’ virtual machine (VM) file data storage, with data being deduplicated and synced to the retention object storage. If the office is down, the connection to cloud disaster recovery services enables users to connect directly to the object store to access data, without needing to go through the local CTERA gateway.
  • HCI such as HPE SimpliVity has become a go-to for serving VDI. The CTERA X-Series appliance may be used in place of a traditional NAS array, for storing data and VDI environment profiles.

StorageSwiss Take

Storage managers at large enterprises may want to consider the new CTERA X Series appliances to cut costs and streamline management associated with storing file data and with enterprise file sync and share. This is especially true for organizations operating in highly-regulated verticals, such as financial services and the federal sector, which cannot fully migrate to the cloud but that still need to cut costs and facilitate global collaboration with agility. CTERA’S approach to facilitating a centralized global namespace is comprehensive in that it extends across file data from all office locations, remote users and mobile devices. Meanwhile, allowing customers to use a mixture of retention object storage resources enables customers to balance cost and security requirements.

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Senior Analyst, Krista Macomber produces analyst commentary and contributes to a range of client deliverables including white papers, webinars and videos for Storage Switzerland. She has a decade of experience covering all things storage, data center and cloud infrastructure, including: technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her previous experience includes leading the IT infrastructure practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research, and leading market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

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