Stitching Your NAS to the Cloud

Stitching Nas to cloud

If you are drowning in data and buying more and more Network Attached Storage (NAS) capacity to keep up, I’m sure you’ve heard the answer, use the cloud as your secondary storage. Depending on your needs and security requirements, it could be a public cloud like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage or Microsoft Azure or it could be a private cloud/object store such as IBM Cloud Object Storage, Cloudian, Spectra BlackPearl or NetApp StorageGRID. Moving data to secondary storage on the cloud enables you to scale on-demand, store a huge amount of data and can be far more cost-effective.

With the public cloud, you can pay-as-you-go based on-demand and so with little upfront investment you can get started. But you have to weigh in issues such as security (you’re moving data outside of your data center), latency (it is farther way resulting in longer response times) and there are egress costs (charges for bringing data back from the cloud).

With an on-premises object storage (e.g. a private cloud), the issues are just the opposite. You have an up-front investment but security, latency and egress cost issues are not relevant.

 

Before making the move to the cloud, it is important to consider several factors.

 

Impact of a different protocol and construct

Cloud storage uses a different protocol and the construct are objects and not files. Now items you move to the cloud will need to be accessed differently and this can break applications and it can make it difficult for your users as they will need to use some other interface instead of their regular Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to access their data. You have to keep this in mind when deciding what to move to the cloud.

Lack of permissions and access control

Each file on your NAS has permissions that restrict who can view, change or execute the file. This is crucial to the security and privacy policies of your company. Yet, you lose this critical element when you move a file to the cloud. What happens if you want to recall it? How do you restore its access permissions? In today’s security-centric world, this is a very important consideration and a significant shortcoming with clouds.

Slower performance and longer latency

The cloud whether public or private will not be as fast as your local NAS. There are cloud gateways with caching that you can place in front of a cloud but that’s additional cost and does not provide the same performance of a NAS thus disrupting applications whose data is in the cloud. So you have to be careful and thoughtful about what data you should move to the cloud.

Lack of continuity of the data

Once the data has been moved, users and applications will not be able to access it from its original location. This is very disruptive and in most organizations, where IT does not create or use the vast majority of data, the decision as to what should be moved has to be relinquished to the end user. End users don’t like to move their data making the entire “let’s move data to a cheaper secondary storage” initiative less impactful with very little data moved or an initiative that never gets off the ground.

 

Komprise addresses each of these critical items by seamlessly stitching any cloud to your NAS storage system.

 

Frictionless stitching of cloud to NAS by bridging file and object seamlessly

Komprise provides analytics that shows you what data to move based on their usage and it moves the data transparently so that it can still be accessed via standard file protocols and from their original location. Users and applications are not disrupted and they don’t need anything extra to access their data. Furthermore, they can still see that data on their NAS allowing them to still search and list moved files.

Full preservation and enforcement of permissions and access control on moved data in the cloud

Komprise ensures that the original permissions and access control are also moved and enforced when the user tries to access the data through the NAS or even through Komprise. If the data is rehydrated back to the NAS, it’s brought back with identical permissions, access control lists (ACL), and attributes — so nothing changes. Since users are not affected by moving the data, control and management of the data is back again in the hands of the IT staff.

 

retrieval from cloud to nas

No degradation of hot data, optimized access to cold data

But what about determining what data to move and what if hot data is placed onto the slower cloud? Komprise addresses this too. Komprise analyzes all the data on your NAS and shows you the data that is being used and data that hasn’t been accessed in months to years.

In most organizations, over 70% of the data has not been accessed in over a year. Imagine how much money you can save and how much room you can make on your existing storage if you can seamlessly move all of this cold data to the cloud! With Komprise you can set policies such as “move all data that’s over one year old to the cloud”. You can specify exclusions based on size, location, name and owner of the files. With this approach you are only moving cold data to the cloud and leaving all the hot data on the NAS where it continues to get the best performance.

Still, you may argue that a lack of prior access does not mean a user won’t suddenly access a file tomorrow. While the probability is low, when a cold file in the cloud is accessed Komprise caches the file locally so that after the initial latency (which is dependent on network to the cloud and performance characteristics of your private or public cloud) it’s as if the file were on the local NAS. Komprise streams files so that large files don’t incur a huge latency. You can also specify recall policies so that if the file has become “hot” again (by being frequently accessed) it is rehydrated back onto the NAS. Komprise also provides a bulk recall feature so that if know that an old project is going to be revived you can recall all those files back to the NAS ahead of time.

Full continuity of data – no changes to users or app

When Komprise moves data to the cloud, it transparently archives the data so the moved data looks like it still resides on the source, and is fully accessible exactly as before, with no changes to users or applications.

To summarize, Komprise seamlessly stitches a public or private cloud to your NAS infrastructure providing you the benefits of both storage devices without their faults. Via policies you can drain the NAS of old, cold data making room for new data without any disruption to your users. It saves cost by storing the bulk of your data in less expensive object stores while increasing the life, capacity and performance of your existing NAS storage which only handles your hot data. Seems logical doesn’t it?

For more information please see the following :
Architecture Whitepaper
What is Intelligent Data Management video series
Komprise Case Studies