When you think about hybrid cloud architectures, storage isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind. You might think of the hybrid cloud as a cloud-based web frontend accessing an on-premise SQL Server backend. Or if you do think of storage, it’s more often as cloud storage for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) VMs or sometimes, it might be as cloud storage for your backups or replicated VMs. It’s not usually as an extension of your local storage systems.
However, seamlessly extending your local storage to the cloud is exactly what many hybrid cloud storage appliances do. Sometimes these hybrid cloud storage options are extensions to local storage systems or sometimes they are specifically designed for hybrid cloud storage.
These hybrid cloud storage appliances reside on-premises and on one side they are connected to the LAN and on the other side they are connected to a cloud provider. They provide high-performance local storage and they also provide seamless access to cloud storage as if it were local storage. Local storage acts as a cache or buffer and can accelerate access to cloud data. Many of these solutions offer automatic data tiering where hot data is kept on-premise and cold data is moved to the cloud. These hybrid cloud storage appliances offer several advantages over tradition local storage solutions. They enable businesses to buy less storage hardware and still meet their growing storage and data protection requirements. In addition, the cloud storage can be accessed globally from multiple locations. Let’s take a closer look at some of today’s main hybrid cloud storage appliances.
Hybrid Cloud Storage Appliances
While this list doesn’t include all of the products in this space it does show a representative sampling some of today’s most well-known hybrid cloud storage appliances.
- Amazon’s AWS Storage Gateway is offered in three different types of gateways: Tape Gateway, File Gateway, and Volume Gateway. These are supplied as virtual machines (VMs) or hardware gateway appliances. They support standard storage protocols including NFS, SMB, and iSCSI. The appliance, which is serviced by DELL, provides 5 TB of SSD storage with the option to add 7 TB of additional storage. The appliance only connects to AWS storage services.
- Avere vFXT provides local NFS and SMB file services and it offers up 25.6 TB of local SSD storage. Designed for demanding High-Performance Computing (HPC) workloads, Avere vFXT supports clustering and works with Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS and the Google Cloud Platform.
- CTERA Edge Filers cloud storage gateways provide NAS with support for SMB,NFS,AFP and up to 96 TB of local storage capacity. It offers multi-site support, deduplication and policy-driven retention and data tiering policies. CTERA Edge Filers work with Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle, Verizon, and the IBM Cloud.
- Microsoft StorSimple was one of the pioneers in the hybrid cloud storage appliance space. It is provided as either a local hybrid cloud appliance or a cloud-based VM. The 8000 Series appliance provides enterprise iSCSI SAN support with data tiering between SSDs and HDDs. StorSimple arrays have a maximum local capacity of 500 TB and they support snapshots, inline deduplication, compression, and encryption. StorSimple only works with Microsoft Azure.
- Nasuni Filer is a versioned NAS appliance that at specified intervals takes snapshots of new or changed data and copies it to your chosen cloud storage provider. Nasuni Edge Appliances are stateless and you can deploy them as VMs or hardware appliances. They support standard file sharing protocols of SMB/CIFS and NFS. Their “cache from cloud” architecture uses local storage that is just big enough to cache the active files. Nasuni is able to work with Amazon, Azure, DELL EMC, Hitachi and the IBM Cloud.
- Panzura Freedom is a NAS family that provides single and multi-site storage solutions with SMB and NFS file access. Panzura provides intelligent data caching, deduplication, compression, and snapshots. The definitive copy of all data resides in the cloud and in multi-cloud configurations Panzua claims 16 9s of availability. Panzuna works with Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud.
- Pure Storage is probably best known for their enterprise-level all-flash arrays that scale up to 5.2 PB with deduplication, compression, and encryption using iSCSI or Fibre Channel support. They also provide hybrid cloud access from their on-premise storage arrays using their Evergreen Storage Service (ES2) which connects to Amazon AWS.
Hybrid Cloud Storage Manages Data Growth
Hybrid cloud storage appliances enable businesses to address today’s most pressing storage issues of providing high-performance storage and simultaneously dealing with massive data growth. Hybrid cloud storage appliances combine the high performance of local storage, often local flash storage, with the massive scalability of lower cost cloud storage.