Cloud NAS startup Nasuni Corp. today began offering multisite capabilities for its Nasuni Filer appliances, allowing multiple controllers to have live access to the same volume of snapshots through cloud service providers.
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The multisite features give users at different locations access to the same storage volume and the ability to share files simultaneously.
Nasuni will continue to offer its Nasuni Filer as either a virtual appliance or a physical 3 TB or 6 TB box that supports NFS and CIFS with Microsoft Active Directory integration. The Filers have full read/write capability and take snapshots of data.
We make a storage controller, and the cloud is a component. How many customers do you think ask about the hard drive in NetApp or EMC boxes? The controller is what customers care about.
Andres Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Nasuni
With this upgrade, Nasuni now keeps a golden image of data in the cloud that can be shared by all the Filers. The Filers have access to a single stream of snapshots through Active Directory, and any Filer can roll back to an earlier version of a file regardless of where it was created. Nasuni also uses OpenPGP to encrypt data at the customer site before sending it to a public cloud.
“This gives you access to unlimited capacity. Your storage never fills up,” said Andres Rodriguez, Nasuni's founder and CEO.
Rodriguez said the multisite model through the cloud is an alternative to using WAN optimization devices or doing controller-based replication between sites. He said it also makes the Nasuni Filer a viable replacement for traditional enterprise NAS instead of a gateway to store a portion of an organization’s data.
“Our customers all have storage problems, and they all want storage units; it’s not about the cloud and gateways,” he said. “We make a storage controller, and the cloud is a component. How many customers do you think ask about the hard drive in NetApp or EMC boxes? The controller is what customers care about.”
Nasuni will keep its same pricing model, charging for the amount of usable storage available to applications. Its data protection service packs range in price from $12,000 for 1 TB to $70,000 for 10 TB. The company will also maintain the service-level agreement (SLA) established in July that guarantees close to 100% uptime.
Nasuni is among a handful of cloud gateway vendors that have cropped up in the past two years, along with StorSimple, TwinStrata, CTERA and Panzura. While these vendors bill their products for primary storage, customers often use them for backup or for small data sets until they feel comfortable placing primary data in the cloud.
Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said if the multisite capabilities work as advertised, Nasuni will move into a different category of product.
“Now it’s not the gateway, it’s the storage system,” he said of Nasuni. “It just uses the cloud as one of the components of its storage system. It’s like managing one file server even if you have 700 of them scattered around. The second thing is, you never have to back it up -- no more buying Symantec NetBackup licenses or using somebody else for DR [disaster recovery]. It’s built into the product.”
Perhaps Nasuni’s biggest obstacle will be gaining customers’ trust. That’s the case for any vendor or service provider taking an organization’s data off site. The company's Rodriguez said the ability to encrypt data at the edge and in flight is a big piece of the multisite strategy.
“What took us a while to get here was to make sure the security model was maintained,” he said. “We want every model in the field to have encryption. Nothing leaves customers' data centers without being totally encrypted with keys held by a customer.”
However, the trust Nasuni asks of its customers goes beyond data security. Because of its SLAs, Nasuni only works with Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure. Nasuni also decides which of those two providers is best for each customer -- the customer doesn’t get to pick a provider.
“We only offer SLAs for those two, and we don‘t give customers a choice,” Rodriguez said. “If they’re adamant about using another cloud, we tell them to use another vendor.”