What is Cloud NAS?

What is Cloud NAS?

The generally accepted definition of Cloud Network Attached Storage (NAS) (or in other words, the definition most easily found on Google search) is from TechTarget:

The storage is usually hosted by a third-party service provider, who charges the customer a fee based on capacity and bandwidth. In the enterprise, the off-site storage might be proprietary, but the chargeback method would be similar.

Our Cloud NAS, SoftNAS, modernizes this definition in two key ways:

  1. SoftNAS is not a cloud service: it’s a software product running as a NAS virtual appliance 
  2. SoftNAS does not charge customers on data capacity and bandwidth; SotNAS charges by performance requirements 

The essential feature of a NAS is accessing data as if it was local, hiding the behind-the-scenes reality of a secure, Internet-accessed storage tool. Indeed, we pride ourselves on delivering an affordable storage solution delivering high performance and availability for AWS and Azure clouds and on-prem VMware.

A Cloud NAS does (or should) work like the legacy, on-premises NAS currently in many data centers. Typically, a third-party vendor delivers an IP address to the customer while hiding the implementation complexity. In reality, the IP address points to a virtual appliance designed to manage private cloud storage, which multiplies your expenses to pay for the virtual appliance, cloud storage, and bandwidth. In some cases, these third-party vendors act as resellers for another cloud provider, adding additional expenses to use their service. While this is a Cloud NAS, it is not an ideal solution.  

For Buurst, the virtual appliance itself is the key to Cloud NAS. It is not a storage capacity and bandwidth service. Storage capacity and bandwidth are already available in multiple formats and offered much cheaper than any private organization can reliably provide by the Cloud, AWS, and Azure monoliths. The goal of Cloud NAS should be to leverage the services of these giants, simplifying infrastructure and providing flexible deployment options while reducing costs. Thus you can leverage the scalability and flexibility of cheap cloud storage and still provide familiar enterprise NAS functionality. By delivering a flexible virtual appliance, we can also allow organizations to host locally and the cloud, delivering a hybrid solution. 

Why do you need Cloud NAS?

The traditional needs met by locally hosted Network Access Storage are still present today. Users need ready access to multiple file formats without delay and downtime.  

However, the amount of newly generated data requires an updated solution model to accommodate the explosion of data storage costs.  

According to predictions from various sources (SeedScientific), in 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be created every 24 hours worldwide, with over 175 zettabytes globally. In comparison, estimates for 2020 claim (or predicted) approximately 40 zettabytes. Active data storage for personal and business requirements drives an ever-increasing demand for reliable storage, with most people unaware that most data is stored three times in the cloud. It is still unknown what effect Covid-19 will have on these predictions, but it could be substantial – for example, according to Forbes, remote work has increased 300% over pre-Covid levels. 

What does this mean? It means hosting data on-prem will become exponentially more expensive in hardware costs and associated services such as DR (disaster recovery) because AWS and Azure focus on creating essentially “limitless” cloud storage. It is already far more efficient to leverage these services than to fork-lift hardware-based solutions. In addition, with built-in redundancy, disaster recovery is also much, much cheaper. Finally, with the right set of capabilities, cloud-based NAS offerings significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to migrate from an on-premises NAS to the cloud. 

Buurst SoftNAS Competitive Pricing Advantage

The storage industry has brought their legacy pricing models to the cloud, making you pay twice for your storage. Once to the cloud vendor, and once to the storage vendor. On top of this, if you want to increase performance, you have to increase capacity with it. With Buurst’s SoftNAS, you’ll never have to pay for your own data.

%

Save up to 60% compared to NetApp ONTAP

%

Save up to 80% over AWS EFS

%

Save up to 60% over Azure NetApp Files

Benefits of Using a Cloud NAS service

Price/Performance Flexibility

A robust Cloud NAS virtual appliance should provide a great deal of flexibility. It should be available on or compatible with several key cloud platforms (AWS and Azure). It should leverage both lower-performance and lower-priced cloud object storage (AWS S3 or Azure Blob) and higher performance tier block devices to satisfy HPC (High-Performance Computing) SLAs. You may even be able to utilize both types of storage from the same virtual appliance, depending on your use case. The right Cloud NAS solution will be able to meet your storage requirement for any project.

Eliminate Legacy NAS Systems Refresh 

How do you predict precisely how much storage and the performance you will need from that storage over the next 12 months? Have your predictions ever been derailed by an unexpected project requiring additional storage at a different performance level? With legacy hardware NAS solutions, you usually get locked into a long-term contract, and if something changes, you incur the overhead and costs that come with a “fork-lift” upgrade. With a Cloud NAS, you are in control. You can create the storage you need when you need it, for as long as you need it, without signing long-term contracts or renewals. With some solutions, you can leverage your existing hardware to host their virtual appliance to help move your workload to the cloud more easily. 

Built-in Data Resiliency 

Most cloud storage has data resiliency built-in by storing multiple copies of data on multiple disks. You can even distribute the data across different availability zones in some cases. This resiliency does not replace the need for High Availability, SnapShots, and backups, but it is nice to have this level of resiliency built right into the storage used by your Cloud NAS. A quality Cloud NAS appliance should build on the available data resilience offered by the cloud provider and expand on it. 

Pay as you Go and Reduce Costs 

There should not be any additional costs for the storage you need with the right solution beyond the storage provider’s (AWS or Azure) charges. The licensing for the appliance should not change based on use case performance or storage requirements. Cloud storage is becoming cheaper and more flexible over time, as the cloud vendors compete on a massive scale. Suppose your Cloud NAS solution supports the many different storage performance tiers offered by AWS and Azure (as it should). In that case, you can instantly scale your cloud instances to best suit your needs simply by adding additional storage or changing the type of storage you use. You may even create tiered storage and push legacy data to lower-cost storage while maintaining performance for your frequently accessed data in top-tiered storage. 

Use Cases for Cloud NAS

SaaS-Enable Applications 

When looking to migrate applications from on-prem to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in the cloud, a common hurdle is that traditional applications typically do not support the native cloud storage interfaces. Rewriting your applications to support cloud storage requires application development and is usually complex and costly. For legacy applications that use standard file protocols, the optimal Cloud NAS can offer the expected file services and support for NFS, CIFS/SMB, and iSCSI, along with Active Directory integration support for your existing applications. Choosing a Cloud NAS with the features your application depends on is vital. 

High-Performance Computing (HPC) 

HPC requirements for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are becoming standard. The power of the virtual machines in the cloud today matches what you can get on-prem, but you also need your storage to meet HPC SLAs. The level of performance you can get from both compute and storage IOPs and throughput increases every day. With the right Cloud-based NAS, you can achieve 10s and even 100s of thousands of IOPS with massive throughput to cloud storage today. And as the performance of the cloud resources increases, you can use this power as needed and the flexibility to use it only when needed. 

The amount of data created by a business will increase in the aftermath of Covid-19, with more employees working from home and more employers seeking to ensure user productivity at a lower price point. Storage is a critical factor in saving money with a file share repository for users to store shared data or back-end support for a VDI solution. Such a solution needs to be flexible enough to support Windows and Linux users, cost-efficient, and balance performance needs with cost. Suppose user data needs to be kept indefinitely for compliance reasons. In that case, your solution should also help with the migration of legacy data or even the setup of an automated tiered storage solution. 

Backup and Archive Data 

The data your company collects is one of its most valuable assets in today’s world. You cannot afford to lose it. When you need to access that data, you need to be able to access it quickly. Using cloud storage to store backup or archive data can be the key. A Cloud NAS with lower-cost cloud storage gives you an “endless” capacity to store backup and archive data. You have the flexibility to decide what level of SLA you need for the retrieval of archived data and match it to the price/performance requirements you have. If your SLA to retrieve archive data is days, you can use archive-level object storage. If you can’t wait days, choose higher performance storage. If you need to plan to keep data accessible for decades for compliance reasons, you will want a Cloud NAS that can help you automatically move the files to less expensive cloud storage for you. The optimum Cloud NAS can help you increase capacity needs and keep costs down by moving those compliance files to more cost-effective storage. 

DevOps and Development 

With cloud-based NAS, developers and DevOps can quickly stand up a new storage infrastructure needed for a new project (a new app, a POC, or any other type of project) and then tear it down when done (no long-term storage contract required). The storage needed is always available to be allocated at the performance required for the project

Consider Your Needs Carefully

When considering a Cloud NAS partner, it’s essential to understand your current and potential future requirements. Most cloud NAS offerings include “table stakes” NAS functionality, but the devil can be in the details:

  • Some may charge for hosting as well as the interface
  • Some Cloud NAS’s only offer limited support for various types of cloud storage  
  • Some limit the capacity of supported storage 
  • Some may be fine for primary performance workloads but can be quickly overloaded as performance demands increase 

Top Cloud NAS solutions may offer solution extensions to help you solve problems beyond just storing data in the cloud. In addition, they may offer extensions that help you:

  • Migrate your data from on-prem to the cloud
  • Move cold data from more expensive higher performing storage to more cost-effective, less performant storage 
  • Offer enterprise-class high-availability 
  • Data orchestration that can help you automate the movement and transformation of data 

So when considering a Cloud NAS partner, take a look under the hood before you buy. Understand what type of mileage you will get with your selection and save time and money by choosing the right tool for the job from the beginning. 

More Information:
SoftNAS 5: New Linux Version, New Kernel, Better Performance

SoftNAS 5: New Linux Version, New Kernel, Better Performance

We are excited to announce that our newest version of SoftNAS, SoftNAS 5, is now publically available. In our latest update, we have made the following improvements:

  • New version of Linux, Kernel, Samba
  • Up to 60% better performance
  • BYOL License performance level enforcement
  • Firewall port lock down
  • Azure OMS Support

SoftNAS now leverages CentOS 8.2,  and a brand new kernel, ensuring that our product benefits from not only the latest Linux patches and CVE security fixes, but also increased performance. These Linux and kernel updates also allowed us to upgrade to the latest version of Samba. In side by side testing, Buurst has seen performance improvements of up to 60% between VMs/instances running SoftNAS 5 and those running our previous 4.4x versions. This 60% improvement was not reflected across all benchmarks, but findings showed a consistent and marked improvement across each of the key benchmarks(throughput, IOPS and latency) in every test run.

SoftNAS continues to offer the same excellent high availability, with our patented SNAP HA and SnapReplicate technology, as well as our No Downtime Guarantee, and still helps to ensure a seamless move of your workload to the cloud with our Lift and Shift solution. Our unparalleled flexibility ensures a seamless transition, without having to make changes to the formatting of your data. Improved performance simply adds some icing to the cake.In essence, SoftNAS, which already improved data performance when compared to solutions such as AWS EFS, has now improved further, operating up to 23 times faster in some cases.  AS you can see below SoftNAS offered significant performance gains in throughput and IOPS, as well as a significant drop in latency.

We have also made some security improvements, beyond ensuring that the latest CVE fixes are supported. Notably, we have locked down our internal firewall configuration, ensuring that by default only the required ports are open. This means, of course, that in addition to a more secure deployment, that in migrating to SoftNAS 5, additional services attached to your SoftNAS virtual machine/instance may require firewall configuration. If you have additional services attached to your SoftNAS deployment, and are upgrading to SoftNAS 5, please contact Buurst support for guidance.

Finally, SoftNAS also now supports OMS Azure Extensions. This allows you to integrate SoftNAS virtual machines into your Azure Operations Management suite for log analytics, alerting and alert remediation capabilities. We feel these improvements are more than enough reason to move to SoftNAS 5, but if not, know that SoftNAS 5 has laid the groundwork for a number of future improvements.  We highly recommend you contact Buurst Support to schedule your migration today.

Buurst’s SoftNAS: Why Now?

Buurst’s SoftNAS: Why Now?

Buurst’s SoftNAS: Why Now?

It is no secret that network infrastructure has been strained due to numerous factors surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak. More users are staying home, shopping online, and entertaining themselves with streaming services. Additionally, a huge number of industries are urging employees to work from home.

As an example of industry impact, an article from Mckinsey & Company recently outlined lessons learned by the Asian banking industry, noting the efforts that helped them achieve success despite the pandemic. In only two weeks, one southeast Asian bank managed to shift “a 125-member product development team… completely off-site over the course of two weeks. The team first implemented no-regrets moves, such as reinforcing best practices in handling data, and then defined a clear set of actions across key operating models to enable fully remote work. The actions were shaped by various business-continuity planning scenarios, ensuring operational continuity while supporting similar levels of productivity.” Another example highlighted was the implementation of a “platoon system” for its 450-member call center, shifting 150 workers to remote work at a time, ensuring that call center employees were not subject to close proximity conditions. This also required separation of duties to ensure the security of sensitive customer information

“Employees working from home handled only new customer inquiries and generic queries to avoid compromising sensitive customer information. Calls that required access to customer information were forwarded to on-premise call centers, where workspaces were altered and partition walls were heightened to increase space between employees.”

Such changes in operational procedure highlight the galvanizing effect on business practices necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. It also highlights the scale to which these changes occur. Such changes are obviously occurring now all over the globe. The result of such changes is the generation of more and more data, or at the very least, significant redistribution of such data.

The need to be flexible and ready also extends to infrastructure and cloud deployments. Just as Asian banks had to devote time and energy to invest in the infrastructure for its call center agents (VOIP infrastructure in the homes for example) to work from home, and for communication and collaboration tools to shift its product development to remote work, so too do we have to make changes to ensure infrastructure readiness. Cloud adoption was rising greatly even before the pandemic, and this trend is expected to continue even more strongly after. According to Ed Anderson, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, “The proportion of IT spending that is being allocated to cloud will accelerate even further in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, as companies look to improve operational efficiencies.” However, change is never easy, and cloud adoption challenges need to be addressed. Flexibility, scalability, and high availability are the keys to infrastructure readiness, and all three are and have been at the core of Buurst’s SoftNAS product development.

According to Ed Anderson, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, “The proportion of IT spending that is being allocated to cloud will accelerate even further in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, as companies look to improve operational efficiencies.” However, change is never easy, and cloud adoption challenges need to be addressed. Flexibility, scalability, and high availability are the keys to infrastructure readiness, and all three are and have been at the core of Buurst’s SoftNAS product development.

Flexibility

Buurst focused efforts early on to ensure SoftNAS’ storage appliance would be flexible and easy to manage. It may seem that shifting data from one environment to another is a simple process, but in reality, it can be a significant challenge, particularly if legacy sources are involved. Some assets can be moved easily, of course, but others often require some sort of mitigation or optimization. Changing operating systems can render some files inaccessible because they’re no longer in a readable format. SoftNAS’ approach is to support numerous file formats, from NFS, CIFS/SMB, to iSCSI, ensuring that applications do not need to be changed in order to access data after a transition.

SoftNAS also supports numerous storage types, both block and object storage. This flexibility allows you to choose the performance level you require, as well as supporting larger pools of data of any type.

Not only this, SoftNAS is platform-agnostic. SoftNAS supports on-premise implementation via VMware, as well as both Azure and AWS cloud platforms. This allows SoftNAS to make the transition from on-premise to cloud simple and easy, or to implement a hybrid solution, leveraging existing infrastructure. Our built-in Lift and Shift feature can make moving data and workloads to the cloud all the more efficient. As an article from Gartner tells us “Organizations embracing dynamic, cloud-based operating models are primed for increased competitiveness, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment.” SoftNAS enables customers to make the shift to a cloud-based operating model simple, by leveraging and supporting your existing infrastructure, as well as moving new or existing operations to the cloud.

Scalability

If anything has been highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, it is the problem of scalability. Increased demand for streaming services forced companies such as Netflix, Disney + and others to throttle bandwidth in the early days of the pandemic, particularly in the EU. In addition, shifts in usage became apparent – for example in Britain, BT reported early in the pandemic that daytime usage trended upwards from 35 to 60% as a result of more people working from home. Luckily, their network was scaled to handle such traffic, built to handle evening peak hours dominated by video streaming, video game updates, and the like. This trend has been reported continuously in the months since.

Scalability in a storage solution is also tested in times such as these. With increased internet usage comes increased data generation. Streaming providers are competing to host more content and entice more users, and central repositories need to be created and managed for remote workers to send work-related data, whether this be video content, word or excel documents, pdfs, or any number of formats. This is in addition to the already expanding network of data generating devices due to the Internet of Things explosion occurring even before the pandemic. In the last two years alone, 90% of the world’s data has been generated. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced by humans per day. As of 2020, 40% of data generated is machine generated, rather than human. In short, there is no question that your storage solution will have to scale upwards heavily in the very near future. SoftNAS, with the flexibility to support block and object storage, can scale its storage to the petabyte level, depending on the resources assigned to it, and the performance requirements of your use case.

High Availability

When services go down, customers get irate, and you lose business. This is an age-old truth. If your application is inaccessible, alternatives are sought. If Xbox Live repeatedly goes down, people switch to their Playstation, or consider buying one as their next big purchase, rather than the newest console. If the data required by your service is unavailable, chances are, your service is unavailable too. Or slowed immensely, such as when your grocery store loses power, and can only accept cash transactions for an hour or two. In the on-line world, where everything is within a few clicks reach, this is exponentially more important. If launching a new service, downtime might just be the death knell, particularly when more and more users are seeking new alternatives. Gartner recognizes this by naming operational continuity one of its top recent trends. “IT services must be continuous, regardless of external factors. This expectation changes the traditional role of IT operations, requiring an increased dependence on automation and zero- or minimal-touch maintenance. The benefits of this include increased efficiency, faster workload deployment, reduced costs and consistency across processes.”

SoftNAS offers a patented cross-zone high availability solution, with automatic fail-over and data duplication across zones. With our SnapReplicate™ and SNAP HA™ technology, we ensure your data is accurate and available, and backed by a 99.999% No Downtime Guarantee. Upgrades and maintenance are simple and intuitive, and can most often be performed without compromising your SLA. It is simple to set up, ensures data integrity, and with the right configuration (across zones) builds upon the already resilient AWS or Azure infrastructure, even in the event of a zone-wide failure. When combined with the large capacity and flexibility previously mentioned, SoftNAS offers the perfect cloud storage appliance for nearly any purpose.

Announcing SoftNAS 5 – a Modern Approach to Cloud NAS

Announcing SoftNAS 5 – a Modern Approach to Cloud NAS

Buurst is pleased to announce the launch of SoftNAS 5, our industry leading Cloud NAS solution built for AWS, Azure and VMware platforms.  

SoftNAS enhances the importance of corporate data within your on-premise infrastructure and rapidly expanding cloud platforms by delivering enterprise-level cloud NAS services from a virtual appliance. Our approach is unique as we focus not only on application migration to the cloud with our Lift and Shift capabilities but also optimizing data at scale for solutions such as cloud desktops (VDI), SAP HANA, and SQL storage for example. Our cloud native approach to cloud storage offers the best mix of price, performance, and availability in the industry.

New Features 

  • Azure OSM Agent Support – Azure ASM and OMS Azure Extensions support 
  • Performance Improvements – Up to 60% improvements have been benchmarked for specific workflows  
  • Time Zone Aware Snapshots  
  • Firewall Enhancements –firewallD default settings have been changed with all ports not required by SoftNAS set to closed.  

Technology Upgrades  

  • Linux Version Supported – SoftNAS is now running on CentOS 8.2  
  • Linux Kernel Supported – SoftNAS is running on 4.18.0-193.19.1.el8_2.x86_64 
  • Samba Version Supported – SoftNAS is running with 4.12-10-15 

New installation procedures are included in SoftNAS 5 so in-place upgrades from previous versions are not supported. A migration tool is available from Buurst support to simplify the installation of SoftNAS 5.  

Click here for the SoftNAS 5 release notes.  

Three Ways to Slash your Enterprise Cloud Storage Cost

Learn how SoftNAS manages the challenge of cloud economics as applications are moved into the public cloud. 

SoftNAS 5 Demo 

If you are interested in learning more about SoftNAScontact our team for a demonstration of the technology. 

Accelerating Data Transmission on High Latency Networks with Ultrafast

Accelerating Data Transmission on High Latency Networks with Ultrafast

Frustrated by slow file transfers over FTP and TCP? Can’t afford IBM Aspera for bulk transfers? Need to transfer GB to TB size files over dirty, high latency networks with packet loss and can’t tolerate the painfully slow TCP transfer rates? Try UltraFast.

Our patented UltraFast technology rapidly transfers data to and from the cloud over WAN networks where packet loss and disruption are common. This technology is a key component of our newly available product, Buurst Fuusion, an edge solution to connect business data from remote locations to powerful data processing cloud services regardless of your data’s original format.

In this post I review the latest testing conducted by Buurst with UltraFast over high latency networks.

UltraFast Research Highlights

This technology was designed to offer superior data transfer capabilities across low-quality networks such as WAN, Satellite and even local networks. With as little as 1% of packet loss UltraFast delivered between 997% (Satellite) to 92% (US – Local) faster data transfer based on the type of network and distance. The overall average data transmission increase of all regions at 1% packet loss was 644.14%. A packet loss rate of 2% averages 1,126.86% increase across all regions tested. These data points compare UltraFast to a basic TCP/IP transmission system.

These differences are significant as UltraFast typically delivered 10GB of data in less than 2 minutes with TCP/IP requiring hours in almost all cases. More details on the research are below.

Fuusion UltraFast™

A patented software-based virtual appliance that provides intelligent, self-tuning storage acceleration technology designed to address the real-world challenges of data transmission across dirty networks. Built on UDP, UltraFast substantially increases data transfer speeds compared to TCP/IP offering users the flexibility to securely transfer data to/from the cloud without requiring networking equipment updates or limiting data selected for transfer.

Frustrated by slow file transfers over FTP and TCP? Can’t afford IBM Aspera for bulk transfers? Need to transfer GB to TB size files over dirty, high latency networks with packet loss and can’t tolerate the painfully slow TCP transfer rates? Try UltraFast™.

Our patented UltraFast technology rapidly transfers data to and from the cloud over WAN networks where packet loss and disruption are common. This technology is a key component of our newly available product, Buurst Fuusion, an edge solution to connect business data from remote locations to powerful data processing cloud services regardless of your data’s original format.

In this post I review the latest testing conducted by Buurst with UltraFast over high latency networks.

UltraFast Research Highlights

This technology was designed to offer superior data transfer capabilities across low-quality networks such as WAN, Satellite and even local networks. With as little as 1% of packet loss UltraFast delivered between 997% (Satellite) to 92% (US – Local) faster data transfer based on the type of network and distance. The overall average data transmission increase of all regions at 1% packet loss was 644.14%. A packet loss rate of 2% averages 1,126.86% increase across all regions tested. These data points compare UltraFast to a basic TCP/IP transmission system.

These differences are significant as UltraFast typically delivered 10GB of data in less than 2 minutes with TCP/IP requiring hours in almost all cases. More details on the research are below.

Fuusion UltraFast™

A patented software-based virtual appliance that provides intelligent, self-tuning storage acceleration technology designed to address the real-world challenges of data transmission across dirty networks. Built on UDP, UltraFast substantially increases data transfer speeds compared to TCP/IP offering users the flexibility to securely transfer data to/from the cloud without requiring networking equipment updates or limiting data selected for transfer.

UltraFast

Latest UltraFast Testing Results

The Buurst engineering team recently conducted a series of TCP/IP vs UltraFast data transfer comparisons over a series of networks in various regions with different amounts of packet loss:

  • Satellite
  • US to Asia : Poor WAN
  • US to Europe : Typical WAN
  • US East to US West : Good WAN
  • US – Local

In each of these use cases; the % of packet loss is fixed from 10% to 0% with 8 different amounts tested for each region. For example, here is the use case for US to Europe:

Fuusion

As you can see, there is significant gain in delivering in transfer rates across networks with packet loss over 0.5% using UltraFast. For example, a 2% packet loss network will obtain a 1,275% better transfer rate.

Overall results for the regions demonstrated the significant improvement of transfer rates with higher packet loss and/or poor WAN connections. For complete results please email us.

Use Case

Next Steps

I encourage you to learn more about our data, cloud, and edge technology and contact Buurst for a demo:

Overview Fuusion – Connecting critical business data at the edge to a centralized cloud service independent of data format and network capabilities

Request a Demo – See how UltraFast impacts overall performance in our new edge data technology

SoftNAS Dual Zone High Availability

SoftNAS Dual Zone High Availability

SoftNAS SNAP HA High Availability delivers a 99.999% uptime guarantee that is a low-cost, low-complexity solution that is easy to deploy and manage. A robust set of HA capabilities protect against cloud storage failures to keep business running without downtime.   

SNAP HA monitors all storage components for potential failure and automatically takes over when necessary. It overcomes the challenge of protecting data and application availability across a cloud infrastructure, while easily integrating into existing IT deployments. 

Continuous Availability ensures your applications are always available when you need them. Multiple data paths safeguard against hardware, software and human error. 

  • Safeguard critical data against unplanned storage outages. 24 x 7 x 365 
  • Feel confident that your business is protected at all times 
  • Data protection across multiple availability zones 
  • Creating data protection with a design philosophy of simplicity and ease of use. 
  • Replicate data so there is an up-to-the-minute recovery 
  • Prevent incorrect or outdated data from be made available due to multiple failures across the storage environment 
  • Ensure your applications and storage remain available 
  • Enjoy the ability to make storage maintenance and upgrades with little or no downtime in their production environment. 

With SoftNAS you can rely on its continuous availability and highly available snapshots, replication, and the enterprise class storage services to drive your business forward. 

Several measures have been taken to ensure the highest possible data integrity of your highly available block storage system. An independent “witness” HA controller function ensures there is never a condition that can result in what is known as “split-brain”, where a controller with outdated data is accidentally brought online. SNAP HA prevents split-brain using several industry-standard best practices, including use of a 3rd party witness HA control function that tracks which node contains the latest data. On AWS, shared data stored in highly redundant S3 storage is used.  

Another HA feature is “fencing”. In the event of a node failure or takeover, the downed controller is shut down and fenced off, preventing it from participating in the cluster until any potential issues can be analyzed and corrected, at which point the controller can be admitted back into the cluster. 

Finally, data synchronization integrity checks prevent accidental failover or manual takeover by a controller which contains data which is out of date. 

The combination of tunable high-integrity features built into SNAP HA ensures data is always protected and safe, even in the face of unexpected types of failures or user error.  

SoftNAS SNAP HA High Availability delivers the availability required by mission-critical applications running in virtual machines and cloud computing environments, independent of the operating system and application running on it. HA provides uniform, cost-effective failover protection against hardware and operating system outages within virtualized IT and cloud computing environments. SNAP HA: 

  • Monitors SoftNAS storage servers to detect hardware and storage system failures 
  • Automatically detects network and storage outages and re-routes NAS services to keep NFS and Windows servers and clients operational 
  • Restarts SoftNAS storage services on other hosts in the cluster without manual intervention when a storage outage is detected 
  • Reduces application and IT infrastructure downtime by quickly switching NAS clients over to another storage server when an outage is detected 
  • Maintains a fully replicated copy of live production data for disaster recovery for block storage 
  • Is quick and easy to install by any IT administrator, with just a few mouse clicks using the automatic setup wizard 

SoftNAS SNAP HA provides NFS, CIFS and iSCSI services via redundant storage controllers. One controller is active, while another is a passive standby controller. Block replication transmits only the changed data blocks from the source (primary) controller node to the target (secondary) controller. Data is maintained in a consistent state on both controllers using the ZFS copy-on-write filesystem, which ensures data integrity is maintained. In effect, this provides a near real-time backup of all production data (kept current within 1 to 2 minutes). 

A key component of SNAP HA is the HA Monitor. The HA Monitor runs on both nodes that are participating in SNAP HA. On the secondary node, HA Monitor checks network connectivity, as well as the primary controller’s health and its ability to continue serving storage. Faults in network connectivity or storage services are detected within 10 seconds or less, and an automatic failover occurs, enabling the secondary controller to pick up and continue serving NAS storage requests, preventing any downtime. 

Once the failover process is triggered, either due to the HA Monitor (automatic failover) or as a result of a manual takeover action initiated by the admin user, NAS client requests for NFS, CIFS and iSCSI storage are quickly re-routed over the network to the secondary controller, which takes over as the new primary storage controller. Takeover on VMware typically occurs within 20 seconds or less. On AWS, it can take up to 30 seconds, due to the time required for network routing configuration changes to take place. 

In AWS, SNAP HA is applied to SoftNAS storage controllers running in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). It is recommended to place each controller into a separate AWS Availability Zone (AZ), which provides the highest degree of underlying hardware infrastructure redundancy and availability. 

SNAP HA has been validated in real-world enterprise customer environments and is proven to handle hundreds of millions of files efficiently and effectively. The use of block replication instead of file replication supports hundreds of millions of files and directories.