SNW: StorSimple makes cloud storage devices bigger, faster

StorSimple launches higher capacity cloud storage devices with upgraded software for faster data movement and restores.

DALLAS – StorSimple upgraded its cloud storage appliance platform today, adding a device that scales to 100TB while upgrading its management software to improve automatic data tiering and snapshot performance.

StorSimple made its product launch at Storage Networking World (SNW). NEC Corp. of America also upgraded its HydraStor storage platform at SNW, adding encryption for data at rest and multi-tenancy features for cloud storage.

StorSimple’s cloud storage devices let customers keep frequently accessed data locally and move other data off to a public cloud.

The new StorSimple 5520 scales to 50TB of usable local capacity and the StorSimple 7520 scales to 100TB of usable capacity. These follow the 10TB StorSimple 5020 and 20TB StorSimple 7020 launched in January.

The 5520 and 7520 include higher capacity controllers with NVRAM support. The 2U rack mountable devices support VMware ESX 4.1, vSphere 5.0 and support for native VMware iSCSI initiator.

StorSimple’s 2.0 software, which handles automatic tiering on solid state, SAS drives and the cloud, now includes a volume prioritization feature for moving data between local and cloud tiers.

“With the volume prioritization, you can accelerate control of certain volumes that you want to tier more rapidly to the cloud or keep data locally for certain applications,” said Marc Farley, StorSimple’s senior director of community and customer programs.

InventHelp, a Pittsburgh, PA, company that helps inventors receive patents or license agreements, migrated from direct attached storage (DAS) to a StorSimple 5020 this year. Luke Gracie, InventHelp’s director of IT, said volume prioritization can improve performance.

“With certain volumes you have the preference of keeping the data locally on the appliance before it pushes it out to the cloud,” Gracie said. “The user that accesses certain data more frequently has higher priority. You have less of a chance for it to be in the cloud, so I see it as a performance enhancement.”

StorSimple claims it has increased performance of its recovery time objectives (RTOs) with its CloudSnaps, which the vendor claims can restore data from the cloud substantially faster in version 2.0.

“You can be up and running 100 times faster with a cloud based on thin restore, by just getting the working set, than with tape or backup to the cloud,” Farley said. “All others restore everything, so everything is brought back. In our system, we bring back the working set.”

StorSimple’s software 2.0 also has a multi-cloud architecture that uses CloudSnap and CloudClones to help customers avoid lock-in with cloud providers. Copies of data can be sent to multiple cloud providers, so if one goes down or out of business a copy of the data still resides in another cloud provider’s data center.

“They always had disaster recovery,” Jeff Boles, senior analyst with the Taneja Group, said of StorSimple. “But now they also protect data across clouds with the multi-clone ability. Now you can protect your data and get away from cloud provider lock-in.”

That multi-clone capability increases the cost, however, because customers have to pay multiple cloud providers to store the same data.

StorSimple also added Hewlett-Packard Cloud Services to its list of supported clouds, along with Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Google and Microsoft Windows Azure.  

NEC adds data security

NEC’s software upgrade to its HydraStor HS8-3000 grid storage device adds encryption, instant file copy and a shared system mode.

The encryption-at-rest capability, which secures data before it is committed to disk, offers a security option that allows HydraStor to protect data with AES-128 or AES-256 encryption. It can be applied at the file system level so a mix of encrypted and non-encrypted data can reside on the same HydraStor system. This is targeted for classified financial and healthcare data that is subject to mandated security such as FIPS 140-2.

NEC also added the ability to clone individual files within a file system. Previously, customers had to clone the entire file system.

The shared system mode provides multi-tenancy permissions that prevent unauthorized access to data. This is targeted at managed service providers (MSPs) and organizations with private cloud implementations.

HydraStor encryption at rest capability is licensed per accelerator node and the other enhancements are available to all HydraStor customers under existing support contracts at no extra cost.

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