Cloud file vendors try to woo enterprise storage buyers

Some enterprises want cloud file storage to complement or replace legacy NAS. Several product enhancements last week target issues of cost, data security and remote shared storage.

Enterprise-ready cloud file storage continues to gain attention, and several vendor products introduced offerings last week that address cost and data security.

File storage in the cloud initially was based on object storage, and while that remains a well-used deployment, it has limitations. Cloud providers AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure all provide file instances, but those systems do not easily scale. Surging creation of dense unstructured data has led to a flurry of products, as vendors try to deliver NAS performance and scalability as a native cloud service.

Steve McDowell, a senior technology analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said enterprises want the same level of scalability and data-rich application services in the cloud that they get from legacy on-site NAS appliances.

This gap opens the door for the more traditional storage vendors to provide rich cloud file services, which have long been taken for granted within the data center. This gives IT administrators greater flexibility to deploy file-based data where it is stored most efficiently, McDowell said.

Here is a rundown of the file-related cloud storage launches from last week.

AWS adds single-zone classes

AWS added single-zone storage classes to Amazon Elastic File System. Amazon EFS One Zone is an alternative to geographically spreading data across multiple Amazon availability zones.

Amazon EFS One Zone's monthly cost is 16 cents per gigabyte, and about 1 cent per gigabyte for One Zone-Infrequent Access (IA), AWS said in a blog post. The use case includes workloads that don't require high availability. AWS backup policies are automatically configured for all file systems using One Zone storage. EFS-created file systems move inactive data transparently to the One Zone-IA storage class.

Distributed file services are a huge aspect of the post-pandemic era.
Liran EshelCEO, Ctera

Ctera file storage supports remote work

Cloud NAS specialist Ctera launched work-from-home tools to Ctera Enterprise File Services Platform. The product suite consists of a desktop-sized gateway and software agent for computer endpoints. Ctera CEO Liran Eshel said many enterprises still struggle to serve users forced to work remotely.

"Distributed file services are a huge aspect of the post-pandemic era," Eshel said. "Customers are asking, 'How do you serve users at the far end of the network?'"

The new Ctera HC100 Edge Filer provides 1 TB of usable NVMe flash with CIFS and SMB protocols. Up to 20 users are supported on a single HC100 appliance. Organizations can connect any number of edge devices to a single namespace, according to Ctera.

Panzura revs cloud security

Recently acquired Panzura improved cybersecurity in the CloudFS file system. CloudFS 8 Defend is a new component that integrates with Varonis Data Security Platform. Panzura's cloud file storage technology provides optimal placement of data scattered across hybrid clouds. CloudFS 8 Defend provides performance-based alerts to help IT teams apply the recommended data security, according to Panzura.

Quantum expands video storage

NAS and tape vendor Quantum Corp. has developed a new deployment model for tracking video data on a hybrid cloud. The modular configurations combine the vendor's block storage devices running its StorNext file system and target organizations that generate dense video storage, said Eric Bassier, Quantum's senior director of technical marketing. According to Quantum, the reference designs support up to 2,000 cameras and capacity to retain video files up to one year.

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