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Cloudian HyperFile marries NAS and object storage

Cloudian's HyperFile and HyperStore merge NAS and object storage for unstructured data. The new HyperFile appliance targets medical imaging, engineering files and legal documents.

Cloudian merged its object storage for high-capacity applications with an enterprise-level NAS controller, bringing together the unstructured data protocols into one system, without requiring a gateway.

The new Cloudian HyperFile NAS is available as an appliance or virtual machine deployed as a node within a Cloudian cluster. Cloudian HyperFile supports file NFS, SMB and the Unix-based Portable Operating System Interface file storage, and it includes snapshots, high availability and write-once-read-many for data protection. Cloudian HyperFile also supports a global namespace, multi-tenancy and a data migration engine to transfer data from existing NAS.

The scale-out HyperFile appliance natively supports the Amazon Simple Storage Service API. It comes in a 2U appliance, with two controllers operating in an active-passive mode. The appliance sits in front of Cloudian's object storage-based HyperStore, which comes in a minimum 4U configuration that holds 840 TB.

"This is not a gateway," said Jon Toor, chief marketing officer at Cloudian, based in San Mateo, Calif. "It's integrated with our HyperStore and provides all the functionality of a traditional NAS head, like active-passive controllers, snapshots and high availability. It brings it to the object storage world. The NAS provides the high-end functionality, and the object storage provides the long-term storage."

Cloudian supports Amazon Web Services, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Cloudian's object storage is based on the Apache Cassandra open source distributed database.

Toor conceded Cloudian HypeFile's latency is higher than traditional NAS.

"It's in the tens of milliseconds," he said, "but it is orders of magnitude faster than tape. And we are less than a third of the cost of enterprise NAS. The tradeoff with us is you get great capacity, scalability and cost, but it takes a bit longer to get the data."

Toor said the back-end file storage can be used two ways. Multiple controllers can share a common pool of storage with the global namespace, so all users can access the pool. Or, the multi-tenancy functions allows the storage to be carved into multiple pools that are accessible to different users.

"You can slice it up in small chunks with the multi-tenancy or one big chunk with the global namespace," he said.

Element Fleet Management Corp. needed a better storage system for its file and bulk storage when it doubled in size after acquiring GE Capital's U.S. fleet business. The Toronto-based company is transitioning away from most of its Dell EMC VNX and Isilon systems to Cloudian HyperFile and HyperStore to handle its growing unstructured data needs.

"When we bought GE Fleet, we needed to radically change how we were storing data," said Sean McAdam, vice president of computer and network services at Element Fleet. "The EMC systems are extremely expensive and hard to manage. I need a way to expand my storage capacity on demand. VNX does not have that capability. It's not a cost-efficient, agile solution."

Greg Shultz, founder of IT consultant StorageIO, said the marrying of file and object storage in Cloudian HyperFile means users don't have to choose between file and block storage.

"In the past, a lot of object storage was about how bad file systems were," he said. With Cloudian, "it's not about object storage versus file; it's about how they can be better together. You don't have to have a NAS storage pool or an object storage pool. You can have a common pool."

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