SoftNAS 4 Aims To Deliver ‘Cloud Storage Cost Savings’

SoftNAS 4 Aims To Deliver ‘Cloud Storage Cost Savings’

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General availability of SoftNAS version 4 was announced by Houston-based SoftNAS. Available in three product editions that run on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere, the company claims that SoftNAS 4 “accelerates high-speed global data transfers up to 20 times faster with its patented SoftNAS UltraFast technology, enabling customers to connect remote offices, branch offices, factories and Internet of Things (IoT) at the edge with the cloud.”

New features of SoftNAS 4 include SoftNAS UltraFast, SoftNAS Lift and Shift, SoftNAS FlexFiles, SoftNAS ObjFast and SoftNAS SmartTiers.

According to the announcement, the SoftNAS patented UltraFast technology “saves on time and costs by accelerating global bulk data movement up to 20 times faster than standard TCP/IP protocols at one-tenth the cost of alternative bulk data transfer solutions.”

The SoftNAS Lift and Shift feature will provide live migration of production data and workloads and “keeps content up-to-date when moving data to the cloud, between datacenters and/or distributing it to remote locations.”

SoftNAS FlexFiles leverages Apache NiFi and other pre-built data integration processors in order to integrate and transform 24 different types of data. According to the press release, customers will be able to “tackle massively complex data integration projects combining file systems, Hadoop, Redshift, HTTP(S), Web Services, SQL/noSQL, XML, S3/Blob Objects and Custom Data Integrations.”

SoftNAS ObjFast is a patent-pending acceleration technology that has been “optimized, tested and certified for Veeam Synthetic Full Backups, so Veeam cloud backup, copy jobs and recovery runs at near-block-level performance with the public cloud.”

SoftNAS SmartTiers uses customer-set policies to move aging data from more expensive block storage to less expensive object storage, which the company claims can “[reduce] public cloud storage costs by up to 67 percent and is now available for beta testing.”

“Based upon our multi-cloud research we uncovered a number of challenges customers are struggling with to take advantage of public cloud infrastructure. SoftNAS 4 addresses many of the customer data management and control challenges head on with its unique combination of cloud NAS, bulk data transfer acceleration and data integration capabilities. SoftNAS is delivering a robust cloud data fabric companies can use as a strategy to more quickly adopt the cloud and save time and money in the process,” said Jeff Kato, a senior analyst for The Taneja Group, in a prepared statement.

With SoftNAS 4 released to general availability, customers will be able to “launch all SoftNAS products on-demand, directly from the AWS and Azure Marketplaces to spin up cloud data solutions in just minutes with no prior purchasing approvals,” according to the announcement.

About the Author

Wendy Hernandez is group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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SoftNAS, Veeam Team Up for Alternative Cloud Backup

SoftNAS, Veeam Team Up for Alternative Cloud Backup

logo_eweekFor IT managers looking for a new cloud backup provider, SoftNAS’s Cloud Essentials v3.7, optimized for use alongside Veeam’s Availability Suite, becomes available later this month.

Now that cloud services are a key to the “new normal” way enterprises are doing business, backing up data in safe, accessible cloud storage is the most common use case for new-gen IT systems.

For IT managers looking for an alternative method of cloud backup, cloud data platform provider SoftNAS Jan. 10 announced that its Cloud Essentials v3.7, optimized for use alongside Veeam’s Availability Suite, becomes available later this month.

Houston-based SoftNAS describes itself as a cloud-native, software-defined cloud data platform for enterprise control of any data, any cloud, in any location. Switzerland-based Veeam develops software for backing up and managing vSphere and Hyper-V virtual environments.

With this package, SoftNAS and Veeam users now have access to cost-effective, multi-cloud storage options while simultaneously improving RTPO (recovery time and point objectives) for data archival, backup and storage jobs, SoftNAS said.

Enterprises Still Struggling with Vast Amounts of Data

To the surprise of no one, enterprises continue to struggle with managing vast amounts of data, including backups. Research conducted by the Taneja Group found that 41 percent of planned public cloud workloads target backups. Cloud backup remains one of the fastest-growing use cases being adopted.

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Storage Technology, 2017, “backup of data generated natively in public cloud is an emerging requirement as cloud providers only offer infrastructure high availability and disaster recovery, but are not responsible for application or user data loss.”

SoftNAS claims that its patent-pending ObjFast software accelerates object storage I/O performance to near the levels of native cloud block storage, but at a significantly lower cost. Enterprises can deploy SoftNAS either on-premises or via public cloud providers for secondary data in cloud backup, disaster recovery and cloud archive repositories, the company said.

“What’s really innovative is how this solution enables mounting a cloud-based NFS backup repository from on-premises, overcoming the usual performance gaps with slow cloud gateways and making Veeam synthetic full merges fly in the cloud,” said Rick Braddy, CEO, CTO and founder of SoftNAS.

On-Premises Combined with Cloud

Veeam and SoftNAS enable customers to protect cloud deployments and extend the benefits of on-premises storage to the public cloud. SoftNAS Essentials customers can use Veeam to create an always-on enterprise NAS that achieves near block storage performance using object storage.

SoftNAS claims that thousands of businesses globally–including many of the Fortune 2000–use SoftNAS to migrate business and SaaS applications to the cloud, consolidate file servers and for backup storage.

A free 30-day trial version of SoftNAS is available for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and VMware.

Read the article by Chris Preimesberger on eWeek.

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SoftNAS SD-Storage Improves Cloud Object Storage Speed

SoftNAS SD-Storage Improves Cloud Object Storage Speed

Software-defined storage company SoftNAS released a new version of its SD-storage product that it says provides up to 400 percent faster cloud object storage performance.

SoftNAS Cloud NAS supports Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and VMware vSphere. It allows enterprises to replace hardware-based storage and on-premises network attached storage (NAS), storage area networks (SANs), and file servers with cloud object storage, which can be scaled up to accommodate large workloads and massive amounts of data, said Rick Braddy, CEO, CTO, and founder of SoftNAS.

“Object storage has typically been lower cost, but it has also been lower performance,” compared to block storage, Braddy said. “We’ve figured out how to get highly parallel I/O [input/output], in and out of object storage, so it’s almost the same level of performance as block storage but at the object storage price. It’s a price breakthrough for customers.”

Object storage manages data as objects, as opposed to files or blocks, and is typically used in the cloud. It is ideal for unstructured data such as media and web content.

Block storage is typically used in storage area network (SAN) environments where data is stored in volumes or blocks. In the cloud, it’s commonly used to store persistent data like a data bases and log files, and for disaster recovery purposes.

ObjFast Technology

“The biggest problem we had was moving the data [to the cloud] fast enough,” Braddy said. “It takes a long time to move a petabyte of data.”

To improve the speed performance in the latest Cloud NAS release, the company had to develop its own technology, called ObjFast.

“ObjFast streamlines the I/O so you can get the maximum number of parallel streams in and out at the maximum rate without overrunning object storage in the cloud,” Braddy said. “The difficulty is in moving the data fast enough without breaking the speed limit where you get penalized, and doing it in a highly parallel way so you can maximize throughput.”

Additionally, the SD-storage product expands on-demand marketplace capacities, from 1TB and 20TB to include 50TB, 100TB, 250TB, 500TB, and 1PB. Annual licenses can grow up to 16PB.

Moving disaster recovery (DR) data centers to the cloud is another use case, Braddy said.

“We’re seeing a significant number of companies closing down their DR data centers,” he said. “They like the idea of an elastic DR data center in the cloud.”

SD-Storage Veteran

Braddy started the Houston-based company in 2012 and launched its first software-defined storage product a year later, “in what was a relatively small niche in the cloud for NAS,” he said.

The company has more than 2,500 AWS virtual private cloud deployments to date, and its customers include Adobe, Boeing, Citrix, Netflix, Nike, Samsung, and Coca-Cola.

“A big deal of us last year was a 50-terabyte deal,” Braddy said. “That was like a record deal for us. This year, we see a new record every quarter and it’s in the petabyte scale. And now we’re hearing the next phase is in the tens of petabytes.”

Data-intensive technologies and workload demand highly scalable storage. Braddy has watched the market for SD-storage grow as companies are moving more workloads — and in some cases everything — to the cloud.

SD-Storage Market ‘Finally Here’

IDC forecasts spending on software-defined storage will grow from about $7 billion this year to $9.1 billion in 2019.

As SD-storage products replace legacy hardware-based systems, many traditional storage vendors like IBM, Dell EMC, and NetApp have added SD-storage to their portfolios.

Braddy lists NetApp is SoftNAS’ biggest competitor but said he’s not worried by traditional storage vendors moving into the SD-storage market.

“We welcome it. Bring it on. We’re just thankful that the market is finally here. We were sitting there for several years going, ‘When are the rest of the big companies coming to the cloud?’ And finally they are coming.”


SoftNAS, Talon Think Global, Act Local in Cloud Storage

SoftNAS, Talon Think Global, Act Local in Cloud Storage

The new integrated solution enables high-performance global file locking, file access and sharing for all local users across a global enterprise.

logo_eweekSoftNAS, which makes a software-defined cloud network attached storage system for midrange-size companies, has solved a problem for many smaller IT shops: Those who are used to a data center NAS or a SAN (storage area network) and are coming to cloud environments and finding that those conventional functions are nowhere to be found.

To take this transition up a notch for those struggling to implement global systems, Houston-based SoftNAS announced May 2 that it has joined forces with Talon, a Mount Laurel, N.J.-based provider of enterprise-class file-sharing software for distributed locations, to enable global storage consolidation into an enterprise cloud.

The combination of Talon FAST and the SoftNAS Cloud NAS provides joint customers with an alternative central cloud-based storage namespace that is secure, highly resilient and can grow on-demand, Michael Richtberg, SoftNAS Vice-President of Business Development, told eWEEK.

The new integrated solution, available May 2, enables high-performance global file locking, file access and sharing for all users across a global enterprise, Richtberg said.

Moving Everything to the Cloud Without Re-Engineering

“Our customers are generally looking for secure, easily accessible cloud storage for unstructured data. AWS and Microsoft Azure are our lead partners; what we do is what they can’t do: help customers move to the cloud without having to do any re-engineering,” Richtberg said.

One of the key targets for moving to the cloud are unstructured data stores. The combination of Talon and SoftNAS delivers a petabyte-scale topology for distributed file servers to be consolidated into limitless, highly-available cloud storage, Richtberg said.

Talon FAST enables a global fabric which gives virtually any enterprise location the ability to access and use cloud-resident file shares because they traditionally have on-premises file servers, without changing user experience or workflow. The combination of a distributed network file system, intelligent caching and global locking allows globally distributed enterprises to operate under a central storage system view.

This ability to centralize data has large benefits as enterprises decommission costly-to-maintain file servers around the globe. Talon FAST optimizes the flow of information within the enterprise, enabling all offices to work off the same set of data.

Operate Globally, Think Locally

“Talon gives you what the cloud doesn’t, which is enterprise-class file shares with all the resiliency and performance enhancements you would expect from an on-prem system,” Talon Senior Vice-President Chuck Foley told eWEEK.

“What Talon does is this: Let’s say you are a user in London, and your file shares are somewhere in Azure U.S., for example. You can navigate just like you do today to an engineering directory, go to your projects sub-folders, find Project 123, hit point and click – and that might be a 100GB file or more. That file that is stored and managed in the cloud and locked for data coherency, but the bits can be presented locally while the main file is stored, managed and locked centrally. Any changes or additions to that file are differenced back to the main file in SoftNAS.

“It literally treats every user in the world as if they’re in the same location using the same file server in the basement.”

The SoftNAS and Talon package doesn’t store data at the edge, and it doesn’t replicate data at the edge—the data is all stored in one place: the SoftNAS cloud. Often-used files, however, can be cached in edge devices as needed.

The collaboration can provide organizations with a single software-defined storage footprint, versus the legacy distributed storage architecture which requires localized management, backup, security, and audit for the proprietary hardware footprint in each location.

Talon FAST is available as a site-based annual subscription or as a joint offering with Microsoft Azure Storage and Hybrid Cloud solutions in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. SoftNAS is available as an annual subscription and on-demand in Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.

SoftNAS, Talon Think Global, Act Local in Cloud Storage

Talon and SoftNAS: A Duo with Dynamism

With an eagle eye for the emerging problems of moving current business application storage needs to the clouds come a newly announced partnership between Talon and SoftNAS. Now that the (terrible) puns are out of the way, let’s get into the announcement.

The Cloud Storage of Tomorrow, TODAY!

Cloud storage is pretty cool. It’s scales on-demand, has virtually limitless capacity, reasonably reliable, and cheap to boot. If you were creating a new application for an enterprise, it would probably have cloud storage integrated in, it just makes sense. But for existing applications, it’s a much tougher sell. First, inertia in the enterprise is very real. It’s often the rule of thumb to grind it out with an inferior solution as long as you can, even if grossly inefficient because.. well money. Large organizations slowly go numb to the disadvantages of traditional storage, or just have such a volume of data sitting on NFS shares that it seems impossible to move to the cloud.

Talon and SoftNAS started working together late in 2016 to solve this problem. Their goal is to move traditional enterprise storage to the cloud without making organizations fundamentally rewrite apps, to provide a single software-defined storage footprint.

As far as who’s doing what, in the simplest terms, SoftNAS is leveraging the physical properties of the cloud, and Talon takes care of the edge, solving the last-mile to the enterprise problem. SoftNAS provides the addressable cloud backend for your apps to write to via their Cloud NAS. Talon provides a lightweight VM sitting on your network edge via their Talon FAST “global fabric”. It makes for a potent combination.

Cache Money

The network edge part does some pretty interesting intelligent caching. The idea behind this is to not constantly replicate everything that you need across all your different edge devices, rather to cache just a potion of what you need for local access generally about 2-5% of total storage, and includes metadata to speed access. From a user perspective, it just looks like one mass of addressable storage, you just see a single namespace.

Aside from scale and flexibility, the caching methodology works well for cost savings as well. Since you’re being charged for data egress from the cloud, intelligently caching locally massively reduces the need to pull from storage. Additionally, it’s WAN friendly, since only deltas are sent and received. SoftNAS and Talon are touting their solution as costing half to a third of what traditional on-premises storage would run over three years. What you’re spending in egress and licensing, you’re saving in maintenance, power, and future provisioning.

This partnership seems pretty significant to me. Cloud storage is surely the way of the future, but the enterprise is built on a legion of applications made before that was even a glimmer in the public cloud’s eye. It’s easy for me to sit back and mock organizations for being slow to adapt to a new paradigm. But the truth is doing so requires a significant amount of additional investment that’s often hard to justify. SoftNAS and Talon are wisely providing a way to give the enterprise as it exists today an onramp to cloud storage.

Briefing Note: Hybrid Cloud NAS for the Mid-Market Data Center

Briefing Note: Hybrid Cloud NAS for the Mid-Market Data Center

hybrid cloud nas

Hybrid Cloud NAS Overview

Businesses of all sizes are experiencing rapid growth of their unstructured data, and more than just traditional user files created by office productivity applications. This growth includes backup data, sensor data, and data from internet-connected devices like surveillance cameras. The cloud seems like an ideal destination for this data, but many businesses don’t have the experience or the expertise to get this data to the cloud. The mid-market data center needs a cost-effective solution that delivers hybrid cloud NAS storage in an easy-to-consume manner.

These businesses are ideal candidates for a cloud storage gateway, on-premises appliances (software or hardware) that act as a cache or sync to remote cloud storage. Gateways present local protocols that the data center is used to like NFS, CIFS, SMB and iSCSI, and then translates those to a RESTful or Object Storage backend. Because of this, the cloud storage gateway market is expecting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54%, according to research firm Research and Markets.

SoftNAS recently announced their SoftNAS Cloud NAS – Storage Gateway to provide mid-market data centers with a cost effective alternative to the traditional cloud gateway. Their solution is a software-defined, hybrid cloud NAS that runs on hardware of the customer’s choice, even as a virtual machine. It can then connect to a variety of backend storage systems including AWS, vSphere, Azure to S3. The gateway automatically caches the new and most active data so that it is available to local users but also safely stored in the cloud.

The SoftNAS Cloud NAS is a robust Cloud NAS offering as well. It provides the features that enterprises would expect like thin-provisioning, instant and scheduled snapshots, space efficient writable clones with SnapClones™, Windows Previous Versions support, RAM and SSD caching, inline deduplication, and data compression. SoftNAS is also highly scalable, each filer can store up to 16 PB of information in the cloud. The File Gateway was part of the SoftNAS 3.3 release, which also includes improved data protection, writeable SnapClones, and AWS cross zone private HA support.

Another interesting option is to use the SoftNAS file gateway with VMware VSAN. SoftNAS complements VMware Virtual SAN with the requisite NAS feature set, combined with unified storage access using NFS and CIFS/SMB with Active Directory integration. It extends the VMware environment to include highly durable cloud storage and provides VMware with the features set described above.

StorageSwiss Take

Cloud storage gateways are an ideal first step to the cloud for mid-market data centers. They enable cloud backup without changing software and they provide an ideal way to archive older data to the cloud by just copying it to a network share. As confidence grows the organization can begin to use the gateway as the primary NAS store and potentially eliminate the cost of on-site NAS storage going forward. SoftNAS provides an ideal first step to cloud storage by delivering a package that is easy to access (software download), easy to implement, and easy to use.

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