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Nexsan Unity 7.0 boosts security, performance

StorCentric's unified storage product line, Nexsan Unity, hits version 7.0 and brings more protocol support, security features and performance for existing hardware.

Nexsan upgraded its enterprise-class unified storage product, Unity, to version 7.0, bringing better security, higher performance and more protocol support to its software.

Nexsan, acquired by StorCentric in 2018, is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 storage provider, as well as a data backup vendor. The Unity 7.0 software upgrade adds the Amazon S3 protocol, taking Unity from a unified block and file storage to a block, file and object storage, according to the vendor. The upgrade also improves performance in existing Unity appliances and adds security enhancements and ransomware protection.

Companies need to store and protect data at scale, which the upgrade to Nexsan Unity's software strives to address, according to the company. Citing IDC's annual DataSphere and StorageSphere forecasts, StorCentric pointed to the 64.2 ZB of data created or replicated in 2020 as an indicator of rapid data growth.

"[StorCentric] has revamped its entire product line over the last year as our customers want reliable data [storage] plus security," said Surya Varanasi, CTO at StorCentric. "That brings us to Unity 7.0, a software update that benefits hardware already in the market."

Focus on security

While it will provide storage advances, the upgrade's focus on security is what's notable, according to Varanasi.

"The biggest thing for us coming out of Nexsan Unity 7.0 is helping our customers think about data security a little bit more," he said.

The security enhancements to Unity 7.0 include bringing in the existing security and protection measures of Retrospect, a data protection vendor that StorCentric acquired in 2019, and Assureon, StorCentric's data vault technology, he said.

Unity 7.0 introduces immutable snapshots, a data backup technique where data cannot be changed once written, Varanasi said. Admins can define a policy as to when the snapshots are deleted. Snapshots are kept close to the primary data for a fast backup and restore if needed, he said.

Nexsan Unity 7.0 dashboard
Nexsan Unity 7.0 adds security and performance improvements.

Along the lines of immutability and as part of the introduction for S3 support, Unity now also provides object locking, where objects can be stored using a write once, read many model.

Much like snapshots, locked objects are governed by a set policy as to when they can be deleted, adding protection as well as compliance.

"[Nexsan] makes very reliable, solid and good midrange storage," according to Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. "The update to 7.0 is a solid evolution of the Unity product."

With ransomware becoming so pervasive, companies need added security layers such as immutability to make their products harder to crack, which is what Nexsan is doing here, Staimer said.

Varanasi said the S3 support rounds out protocols, which may make Unity attractive for data backup.

StorCentric also stated that it has improved the performance of its Unbreakable Backup product. With 7.0, Nexsan has increased the backup performance from Unity to Assureon by up to 50%, Varanasi said. In the event of an attack, the system can be quickly restored, although he didn't quantify how quickly, by maintaining a copy of the backup on a faster Unity appliance and Assureon at the same time.

Increasing performance on existing systems

Security and protocol support are must haves, Varanasi said, but adding stability and performance without adding new hardware is a bonus for customers.

The software upgrade increases performance by 40%, going from 8 GBps to 13 GBps, according to Varanasi, and the hardware now supports more, faster network interfaces. Unity 7.0 introduces variable drive writes per day to better meet customer endurance needs as they can vary from customer and workload.

Nexsan Unity 7.0 is now shipping on new hardware units and will be available for a software-only upgrade in the coming months.

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