SoftNAS Named Best Cloud NAS Solution in Network World Review


networkworld

Network World recently reviewed software-based NAS solutions and concluded:

If you’re looking for a cloud-based solution, SoftNAS is your best bet.

SoftNAS 3.3.3, the latest version of our award-winning Cloud NAS solution, differs from other solutions reviewed by offering both software-based and on-premise versions.  It’s available using Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure and most recently, CenturyLink Cloud.

Eric Geier, freelance tech writer with Network World, provides a thorough review, citing the following about how SoftNAS is typically deployed:

Commonly, SoftNAS is deployed in AWS VPCs serving files to EC2 based servers within the same VPCs. SoftNAS also supports a hybrid cloud model where one SoftNAS instance is deployed on-premise on a local PC in your office and a second instance in an AWS VPC. In this hybrid model, replication occurs from the local SoftNAS to cloud-based SoftNAS for cloud-based disaster recovery.

SoftNAS is quick and easy to configure and setup in minutes, something we strive to achieve with all our products. Eric alluded to this during the review:

Once we configured the EC2 instance of SoftNAS, we could access the web GUI, which they call the SoftNAS StorageCenter, via the Amazon IP or DNS address. After logging in, you’re prompted to register and accept the terms. Then you’re presented with a Getting Started Checklist, which is useful in ensuring you get everything setup.

Read the full review.

Better yet, give it a try yourself.

SoftNAS 30-day Free Trial
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Learn more: https://www.softnas.com
Twitter: @SoftNAS
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/softnas

SoftNAS Now Available on CenturyLink Cloud Marketplace

SoftNAS Now Available on CenturyLink Cloud Marketplace

Today, SoftNAS announced SoftNAS for CenturyLink. This integration allows customers of the CenturyLink Cloud platform faster backup and archival, expanded platform support and the ability to extend storage investments and shared file storage for VMware VSAN.

The SoftNAS provides access for CenturyLink Cloud customers to a complete software-defined solution for on-premise, hybrid and public cloud storage to manage the costly expenses around backing up expansive data and the time required to archive older data. Local caching and S3 object storage connectivity make SoftNAS ideal for enterprises, SMBs and departments using on-premise storage and for service providers offering hybrid cloud services, such as backup and archival solutions.

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In addition to providing gateway capabilities, SoftNAS surpasses the singular gateway concept by combining three key components:

  • Access to on-premise and private cloud storage, including SAN, VSAN and S3-compatible object storage
  • Access to public cloud storage, including block and S3-compatible object storage
  • A unified shared file system with NAS filer features accessed via NFS and CIFS/SMB

To learn more about SoftNAS for CenturyLink Cloud, please click below:

Setting up SoftNAS on Century Link

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS: Which Performs Best?

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS: Which Performs Best?


Comparing Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS. Great read from Nathan Wilkerson, Cloud Engineer with Metal Toad around NFS performance on AWS based on the upcoming Amazon EFS (Elastic File System). As Amazon EFS is not generally available, this is a good early look at a performance comparison among Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS.

According to Nathan:

SoftNAS had by far the best performance. Its cost is higher for low capacities, but will be important when latency is paramount.  At higher capacities the benefits of SoftNAS and lower overall cost are a clear winner, I would consider SoftNAS.

SoftNAS spends a lot of time testing its products, reviewing customer feedback and welcomes Nathan’s performance results.

But is SoftNAS actually more expensive? NO. Let me explain.

1) 100GB works well for performance tests but is not a realistic capacity point for most customers real-world use or a pricing analysis.  On average, SoftNAS customers tend to use  10TB – 20TB, and frequently surpass 100TB.

2) SoftNAS is less expensive than AWS EFS at 6TB and is dramatically more cost effective at higher capacities.

3) Not only is SoftNAS cost effective at real-world capacities (even with EBS pricing), you get all the benefits of an enterprise-class NAS that is available in all AWS regions and which includes snapshots, de-duplication, data protection, multi-tier caching and compression.

Pricing: 100GB

The configuration in Nathan’s tests used 100GB with a pair of instances for High Availability. SoftNAS offers 100GB storage at no charge for each SoftNAS instance when launched as Community AMIs. See below the pricing for each vendor at 100GB usable capacity for EBS General Purpose SSD, per month (as tested in the Metal Toad benchmarks).

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS table

It’s also worth noting that for the pricing comparisons in Nathan’s blog he used 200GB for SoftNAS compared to 100GB for EFS and Gluster. SoftNAS offers stack prices for both small and medium EC2 instances.  The medium instance will provide a better performance, but speed is not always the objective.  Offering the flexibility to configure based on what you want to accomplish is a cornerstone of the SoftNAS approach.

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS pricing

It’s also worth noting that for the pricing comparisons in Nathan’s blog, he used 200GB for SoftNAS compared to 100GB for EFS and Gluster. SoftNAS offers stack prices for both small and medium EC2 instances. The medium instance will provide a better performance, but speed is not always the objective. Offering the flexibility to configure based on what you want to accomplish is a cornerstone of the SoftNAS approach.

Pricing: scaling up to 20TB with SSD

Lets look at the comparisons as you scale out the capacities up to 20TB with both backed by SSD. The following table shows the cost comparison of 20TB for SoftNAS with High Availability and AWS EFS.

The following graph compares SoftNAS with HA and AWS EFS for capacities from 200GB through 20TB. At 20TB, SoftNAS price per GB is $.0.13 vs EFS at $0.30.  The conclusion is that EFS is less at low capacity due to lack of EC2 and software costs, whereas when capacity increases the costs of storage outweighs the overhead costs. The breakeven point is 6TB and SoftNAS is progressively cheaper as capacity grows. Additionally, you get all the benefits of an enterprise-class NAS that is available in all AWS regions and which includes snapshots, de-duplication,data protection, multi-tier caching and compression.

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS performance

Also, it’s worth mentioning that SoftNAS offers a high amount of configurability. You can choose between performance vs. cost, options for L1 and L2 read cache, options for write cache, and a ton of other useful features, including CIFS with Active Directory integration.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the flexibility of SoftNAS means you can choose not only SSD-backed storage, but also mix in less expensive alternatives like EBS Magnetic ($0.05/GB) and highly-durable S3 backed object storage ($0.03/GB).

So who performs best when comparing Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS?

SoftNAS delivers the most storage flexibility and most powerful feature set for protecting business data in the AWS cloud, and provides great price/performance. Best of all, SoftNAS is available on the most popular cloud and premise-based platforms today (AWS, Azure, CenturyLink, and VMware vSphere), keeping you in control of your business-critical data and your business.

Why not try SoftNAS and see how it performs in your environment?

Amazon EFS vs. GlusterFS vs. SoftNAS Cloud NAS trial

Why SoftNAS?

SoftNAS provides direct connectivity to cloud storage providing a private connection to resources owned by your organization. This eliminates the managed storage problems of inconsistent performance by noisy neighbors. In addition, SoftNAS adds value by placing data in the most appropriate location for increased application performance.

Cloud Storage: Delivering on a performance priority

One of the top priorities for Cloud architects is achieving high performance from applications. As we move more applications to the cloud, CPU, RAM, and fast networks are plentiful. However, storage rises to the top of the list as the cause for Cloud application bottlenecks.

How to Improve the Security of AWS Storage

How to Improve the Security of AWS Storage

When AWS introduced default Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) settings across Amazon EC2 regions, taking full advantage of the VPC benefits became easier and simpler. This change brought a great opportunity, allowing customers to take advantage of the VPC to customize and design their networks and differ their workloads between public and private subnets. Thus, customers now have more control over their resources, networking, routing, and security.

So how do you improve the security of AWS storage?

Instead of requiring proprietary hardware or an outside datacenter, SoftNAS extends native AWS storage (EBS, S3) to create an enterprise-grade, full-featured cloud NAS filer, including SNAP HA with patent-pending Elastic HA technology with automatic failover that keeps data flowing, even when disaster strikes, an instance fails or an entire AWS availability zone isn’t available.

AWS Storage Security

Nothing is more critical to the continuity of your business than your data. Some security-conscious customers or those with susceptible data avoid solutions like Elastic HA, which utilizes public IPs, exposing storage to Internet-accessible addresses.

Other customers concerns include:

  • Cost of inbound bandwidth of the storage
  • Storage is located on a public subnet on a VPC

With these customers in mind, the next version of SoftNAS will include several features that will allow for greater deployment flexibility and security.

SoftNAS offers the mission-critical data protection and high availability required for the non-stop operation of your business. Simple, powerful, and agile, SoftNAS is easy to try, buy and deploy across public, private, and hybrid clouds. SoftNAS for AWS enables customers to quickly and efficiently implement hybrid and pure cloud business solutions that ensure corporate data is always safe and available and applications do not experience downtime.

Network Security Groups Configuration in AWS

Network services can be set in the same manner as Premise instances, within the console after AWS setup. However, the simpler solution is to set your services and ports via the creation of Security Groups during setup. The Launch Instance manual setup wizard allows you to create a secure networking configuration prior to the first boot.

SoftNAS Security in the AWS Cloud

SoftNAS Enterprise builds upon Pure AWS storage infrastructures like EBS, S3, and SSD running within your own AWS account. Your data is always secure and totally under your control within your AWS virtual private cloud (VPC), never leaving the trusted AWS data center. Your data can also be fully encrypted and secured using AWS encryption of EBS and SoftNAS Enterprise encryption of S3 data.

Secure VPC Networking: 

Secure NAS storage access routing within VPCs with complex routing tables and subnets.

HA for Private VPCs: 

Private IPs for better VPC security in HA configurations.

360-degree Encryption™: 

Data encryption all the time–at rest and in flight. Data-at-rest is encrypted through open-source Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKs). LUKs is accepted as the standard for encryption of stored data. Data-in-flight is encrypted for CIFS and NFS file protocols.

Dual Factor Authentication: 

Prevent unauthorized access to SoftNAS management console with two-step authentication for SoftNAS StorageCenter through Google Authenticator.

Login Protection from Bots: 

Human verification through Google reCAPTCHA prevents bots from programmatically gaining access to the SoftNAS Enterprise management console.

Large-scale Windows Filer with Active Directory: 

Supports thousands of concurrent users with billions of files for enterprise-scale file server, VDI user file storage via CIFS/SMB 3 protocol.

Large-scale NFS Server: 

Supports thousands of concurrent users with billions of files for enterprise-scale file server, user file storage via NFS 4 protocol.

Identity & Access Management (IAM): 

Provide least privilege access control and management without use of access keys for HA setup and S3 cloud disks.

SoftNAS Enterprise Cloud NAS for AWS provides the performance, reliability, and fault tolerance required for mission-critical applications. SoftNAS offers the broadest range of storage options in terms of price vs. performance and backend storage selection, on-demand at a petabyte-scale across the AWS and Azure Marketplaces or on-premises.

How to Avoid Storage Downtime when AWS Reboots

A new Xen vulnerability is forcing cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reboot a portion of its EC2 fleet over the week (the second such reboot in 6 months). Such periodic maintenance is necessary—expected even—to maintain the best possible security; however, some IT departments are still scrambling to ensure business continuity and prevent negative business impact.

Pre-emptively architecting cloud infrastructure to include a highly available storage configuration is a well-known best practice, but doing so can be difficult and time consuming for the IT generalist.

With SoftNAS’s built-in cross-zone high-availability, designing for failure can be fast and simple during the zone reboot preparations.

SoftNAS SNAP HA™ delivers a low-cost, low-complexity solution for high-availability storage clustering that is easy to deploy and manage.

A robust set of HA capabilities protects against data center, availability zone, server, network and storage subsystem failures to keep businesses running without downtime.

SNAP HA for (AWS) includes patent-pending Elastic HA™ technology, providing NAS clients in any availability zone uninterrupted HA access to the storage cluster across availability zones.

 

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In the event of an outage, such as the zone reboot, when Zone A is reset, SNAP HA would automatically fail over to Zone B and become the primary node. The rebooted, former primary instance, becomes the secondary instance until either a manual takeover to restore initial state, or another point of failure, when it would failover back to Zone A, which would once again become the primary controller.

Some security conscious customers or those with extremely sensitive data do avoid solutions like Elastic HA, which utilizes public IPs, exposing storage to Internet accessible addresses.

With these customers in mind, the next version of SoftNAS will include a number of features that will allow for greater deployment flexibility and security.

Sign up to be notified of the next version of SoftNAS.

 


Follow SoftNAS on Twitter: @SoftNAS