Meeting Cloud File Storage Cost and Performance Goals – Harder than You Think

Meeting Cloud File Storage Cost and Performance Goals – Harder than You Think

According to Gartner, by 2025 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional data centers. Today, 10% already have. We know this is true because we have helped thousands of these businesses migrate workloads and business-critical data from on-premises datacenters into the cloud since 2013. Most of those workloads have been running 24 x 7 for 5+ years. Some of them have been digitally-transformed (code for “rewritten to run natively in the cloud”).

The biggest challenge in adopting cloud isn’t the technology shift – it’s finding the right balance of cost vs. performance and availability that justifies moving to the cloud. We all have a learning curve as we migrate major workloads into the cloud. That’s to be expected as there are many choices to make – some more critical than others.

Many of our largest customers operate mission-critical, revenue-generating applications in the cloud today. Business relies on these applications and their underlying data for revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and retention. These systems cannot tolerate unplanned downtime. They must perform at expected levels consistently… even under increasingly heavy loads, unpredictable interference from noisy cloud neighbors, occasional cloud hardware failures, sporadic cloud network glitches, and other anomalies that just come with the territory of large scale datacenter operations.

In order to meet customer and business SLAs, cloud-based workloads must be carefully designed. At the core of these designs is how data will be handled. Choosing the right file service component is one of the critical decisions a cloud architect must make.

For customers to remain happy, application performance must be maintained. Easier said than done when you no longer control the IT infrastructure in the cloud…

So how does one negotiate these competing objectives around cost, performance, and availability when you no longer control the hardware or virtualization layers in your own datacenter?  And how can these variables be controlled and adapted over time to keep things in balance? In a word – control. You must correctly choose where to give up control and where to maintain control over key aspects of the infrastructure stack supporting each workload.

One allure of the cloud is that it’s (supposedly) going to simplify everything into easily managed services, eliminating the worry about IT infrastructure forever. For non-critical use cases, managed services can, in fact, be a great solution. But what about when you need to control costs, performance, and availability? Unfortunately, managed services must be designed and delivered for the “masses”, which means tradeoffs and compromises must be made. And to make these managed services profitable, significant margins must be built into the pricing models to ensure the cloud provider can grow and maintain them.

In the case of public cloud shared file services like AWS® Elastic File System (EFS) and Azure NetApp® Files (ANF), performance throttling is required to prevent thousands of customer tenants from overrunning the limited resources that are actually available. To get more performance, you must purchase and maintain more storage capacity (whether you actually need that add-on storage or not). And as your storage capacity inevitably grows, so do the costs. And to make matters worse, much of that data is actually inactive most of the time, so you’re paying for data storage every month that you rarely if ever even access. And the cloud vendors have no incentive to help you reduce these excessive storage costs, which just keep going up as your data continues to grow each day.

After watching this movie play out with customers for many years and working closely with the largest to smallest businesses across 39 countries, at Buurst™ we decided to address these issues head-on. Instead of charging customers what is effectively a “storage tax” for their growing cloud storage capacity, we changed everything by offering Unlimited Capacity. That is, with Buurst SoftNAS® you can store an unlimited amount of file data in the cloud at no extra cost (aside from the underlying cloud block and object storage itself).

SoftNAS has always offered both data compression and deduplication, which when combined typically reduces cloud storage by 50% or more. Then we added automatic data tiering, which recognizes inactive and stale data, archiving it to less expensive storage transparently, saving up to an additional 67% on monthly cloud storage costs.

Just like when you managed your file storage in your own datacenter, SoftNAS keeps you in control of your data and application performance. Instead of turning control over to the cloud vendors, you maintain total control over the file storage infrastructure. This gives you the flexibility to keep costs and performance in balance over time.

To put this in perspective, without taking data compression and deduplication into account yet, look at how Buurst SoftNAS costs compare:

Buurst SoftNAS vs. NetApp ONTAP, Azure NetApp Files and AWS EFS

These monthly savings really add up. And if your data is compressible and/or contains duplicates, you will save up to 50% more on cloud storage because the data is compressed and deduplicated automatically for you.

Fortunately, customers have alternatives to choose from today:

  1. GIVE UP CONTROL – use cloud file services like EFS or ANF, pay for both performance and capacity growth, give up control over your data or ability to deliver on SLAs consistently
  2. KEEP CONTROL – of your data and business with Buurst SoftNAS, balance storage costs, and performance to meet your SLAs and grow more profitably.

Sometimes cloud migration projects are so complex and daunting that it’s advantageous to just take shortcuts to get everything up and running and operational as a first step. We commonly see customers choose cloud file services as an easy first stepping stone to a migration. Then these same customers proceed to the next step – optimizing costs and performance to operate the business profitably in the cloud and they contact Buurst to take back control, reduce costs, and meet SLAs.

As you contemplate how to reduce cloud operating costs while meeting the needs of the business, keep in mind that you face a pivotal decision ahead. Either keep control or give up control of your data, its costs, and performance. For some use cases, the simplicity of cloud file services is attractive and the data capacity is small enough and performance demands low enough that the convenience of files-as-a-service is the best choice. As you move business-critical workloads where costs, performance and control matter, or the datasets are large (tens to hundreds of terabytes or more), keep in mind that Buurst SoftNAS never charges you a storage tax on your data and keeps you in control of your business destiny in the cloud.

Next steps:

Click here to learn more about how Buurst SoftNAS can help you maintain control and balance cloud storage costs and performance in the cloud.

What do we mean when we say “No Storage Tax”?

What do we mean when we say “No Storage Tax”?

At Buurst we’re thinking about your data differently, and that means it’s now possible to bring all your data to the cloud and make it cost effective. We know data is the DNA of your business, which is why we’re dedicated to getting you the best performance possible, with the best cloud economics.

When you approach a traditional storage vendor, regardless of your needs, they will all tell you the same thing: buy more storage. Why is this? These vendors took their on-premises storage pricing models to the cloud with them, but they add unnecessary constraints, driving organizations down slow, expensive paths. These legacy models sneak in what we refer to as a Storage Tax. We see this happen in a number of ways:

  • Tax on data: when you pay for storage to a cloud NAS vendor for the storage you’ve already paid for
  • Tax on performance: when you need more performance, they make you buy more storage
  • Tax on capabilities: when you pay a premium on storage for NAS capabilities

So how do we eliminate the Storage Tax?

Buurst unbundles the cost of storage and performance, meaning you can add performance, without spinning up new storage and vice versa. As shown in the diagrams below, instead of making you buy more storage when you need more performance, Buurst’s pricing model allows you to add additional SoftNAS instances and compute power for the same amount of data. On the opposite side, if you need to increase your capacity, Buurst allows you to attach as much storage behind it as needed, without increasing performance levels.

Why are we determined to eliminate the StorageTax?

At Buurst, our focus is providing you with the best performance, availability, cost management, migration, and control not how much we can charge you for your data. We’ve carried this through our pricing model to ensure you’re getting for the best allup data experience on the cloud of your choice. This means ensuring your storage prices remain lower than the competition. Looking at the below figures illustrates this point further:

NetApp
ONTAP™ Cloud Storage
10TB
Buurst’s SoftNAS $1,992
ONTAP $4,910

%

NetApp
Azure NetApp Files
8TB
Buurst’s SoftNAS $1,389
ANF $2,410

%

AWS
Elastic File Services
8TB
Buurst’s SoftNAS $1,198
AWS EFS $2,457

%

AWS
Elastic File Services
512TB
Buurst’s SoftNAS $28,798
AWS EFS $157,286

%

These figures reflect full-stack costs, including compute instances, storage, and NAS capabilities, in a high availability configuration, with the use of SmartTiers, Buurst’s dynamic block-based storage tiering. With 10TB of data, SoftNAS customers save up to 60% compared to NetApp ONTAP. And at 8TB of data, when compared with Azure NetApp Files and Amazon EFS, customers see cost savings of 42% and 51%, respectively. The savings can continue to grow as you add more data over time. When compared to Amazon EFS, SoftNAS users can save up to 82%at the 512TB level. Why is this? Because we charge a fixed fee, meaning the more data you have, the more cost-effective Buurst will be.

But we don’t just offer a competitive pricing model. Buurst customers also experience benefits around:

  • Data performance: Fast enough to handle the most demanding workloads with up to 1 million IOPS on AWS
  • Data migration: Point and click file transfers to with speeds up to 200% faster than TCP/IP over high latency and noisy networks
  • Data availability: Cross-zone high availability with up to 99.999% uptime, asynchronous replication, and EBS snapshots
  • Data control and security: Enterprise NAS capabilities in the cloud including at-rest and in-flight data encryption.

At Buurst, we understand that you need to move fast, and so does your data. Our nimble, cost-effective data migration and performance management solution opens new opportunities and capabilities that continually prepare you for success. Get all the tools you need so day one happens faster and you can be amazing on day two, month two, and even year two. We make your cloud decisions work for you – and that means providing you data control, data performance, cost-management with storage tiering, and security.

To learn how Buurst can help you manage costs on the cloud, download our eBook:

The Hidden Costs of Cloud Storage

 

What do some of the most important brands know about SoftNAS?

What do some of the most important brands know about SoftNAS?

What do these powerful brands all have in common?

They’re all using SoftNAS.

Many of our customers tried their own cloud-native storage solutions or used on-premises solutions that were ported to the cloud, only to quickly realize they were difficult to implement and did not provide the cost or performance needed. Traditional storage solutions just want to sell more storage, driving companies down a slow, expensive path, resulting in a solution that doesn’t scale easily and is unable to take advantage of the capabilities and tools offered on the cloud. So why not learn from their mistakes? Skip the fail step by jumping right to the successful solution that helps you manage and control your data on the cloud, without the hefty price tag. SoftNAS offers NAS-like tools that support your highest-performing, data-intensive applications while helping you manage costs on the cloud.

So how does SoftNAS provide high performance without a high cost? 

Storage tiering

Automatic dynamic storage tiering applies data aging and access policies to data, moving aging data from high-performance block storage to less expensive, lower performance storage –saving you up to 67% in cloud storage costs. Unlike file-based tiering models, SoftNAS SmartTiers is block-based, meaning the portions of large files that are regularly accessed remain in high-performance storage tiers, while irregularly accessed portions are moved to lower performance tiers for better cost savings.

Deduplication and compression

SoftNAS doesn’t stop at storage tiering to keep your costs low. Inline data deduplication and compression greatly reduce your storage footprint, therefore reducing the amount of storage you have to procure. SoftNAS’s data deduplication compares your application files block by block to find and eliminate redundancies. On top of deduplication, data compression capabilities will reduce the size of your data by an additional 50-75%. With these drastic drops in storage needs, it’s not difficult to see why so many organizations are looking at SoftNAS to manage cloud costs for their high performing application data.

CapEx for OpEx

Perhaps one of the more obvious ways that SoftNAS manages your costs is by enabling you to make the shift from CapEx to OpEx. Netflix couldn’t operate at their current scale if they were strictly managing their data on-premises –the costs would be astronomical, and maintenance would be unfathomable. Procuring on-premises storage doesn’t stop at purchasing another piece of hardware. It means you’re buying hardware, a secondary data center, and paying for the electricity, manpower, and security to manage that hardware. The list goes on. SoftNAS eliminates the need to purchase hardware by making the transition to the cloud fast, easy, and possible. If it worked for Netflix, why can’t it work for you?

If you’re ready to unlock the same cost-effective capabilities many powerful companies have already experienced, check out our 30-day free trial: