Primary Storage in the Cloud

Cloud Storage is hardly a new concept. The Cloud has been leveraged for a number of years primarily by file sharing sites, individual consumers and by corporations for backup. File sharing, while a valuable service, lacks a number of key ingredients required in a corporate environment. These requirements include manageability, authentication, world class encryption and seamless integration into the IT environment. Use of Public Cloud Storage has also concerned IT administrators and prompted the following questions: How do I access my data? Can I trust the Storage Vendor? Is Cloud Storage reliable? How do I know my data is secure?

To answer these questions, BridgeSTOR has created the Coronado V-NAS Access Point. The Coronado V-NAS Access Point was designed from its inception to fill the needs of IT organizations. This design-from-scratch approach has resulted in merged Cloud NAS products that provide the functionality and flexibility users require to store and access data to and from the Cloud.

Cloud Access

Cloud Storage Vendors communicate with their environments via an HTTP protocol called, “REST”. REST, originally developed by Amazon, has become a de-facto standard in Cloud Storage. It’s currently supported by Public Cloud Vendors such as Amazon and multiple Object Storage Vendors. Although REST makes it easy to integrate with your web browser, it poses challenges for the IT environment because it lacks a true useable file system. BridgeSTOR, with its Cloud Storage File System (CSFS), has solved this problem by developing a standard Linux POSIX file system that communicates with Cloud Storage via the REST protocol; allowing IT users to communicate with the Cloud via any standard IT protocol such as SMB, NFS, CIFS, FTP, iSCSI and WebDAV. Imagine going into Windows and mapping drive “F:” directly to Cloud Storage. By simply dragging and dropping files into a mapped drive, BridgeSTOR makes it easy to send files to Cloud Storage.

Authentication and Encryption

BridgeSTOR understands that security and reliability are of paramount importance when using Cloud Storage. That is why BridgeSTOR partners with world class storage providers such as Amazon, which hosts extremely durable environments up to 99.999999999% (11 nines) reliability. This is much more reliable than current RAID 6 which is only 99.999% reliable.

BridgeSTOR’s ProtectedCloud™ Security combined with Windows Active Directory or LDAP solves the security problem. Authentication is accomplished with your existing Windows or UNIX environment, setting traditional user and group access to the storage and in windows even your ACL’s are maintained. BridgeSTOR also puts you in control of your encryption. You set and maintain your AES-256 bit password which is maintained inside Coronado. All data sent to the Cloud Storage Provider is encrypted in-flight and encrypted at-rest using AES encryption with your password and a secondary XTS programmable password that is created in-flight.

Cloud Performance

If you have already used the Cloud to store files or backup sessions for your business, or even to store photos, you know that moving files to and from the Cloud can be a slow process. This latency is normal, but it can be frustrating or even deadly when using Cloud Storage for performance-sensitive applications.

All Coronado V-NAS Access Points include a “File Cache” component. Most-recently-used files are kept locally in this cache. Before files are downloaded from the Cloud Storage Vendor, the local cache is checked. If the file is in cache, all reads are done from cache. If you update a file, the file is updated at the Cloud Provider and inside your cache. The primary copy of every file always resides at the Cloud Storage Vendor. But having a local cache not only provides a significant performance boost that allows Cloud Storage to be used for more applications, it also minimizes download fees.

Using Cloud Storage for Primary Storage

Cloud Storage allows companies to have a reliable disaster recovery site with the capability to move data to multiple locations around the world. Once the data is in these Public Cloud Storage facilities, the loss of data is greatly reduced and much more reliable than most companies could do internally. So why not leverage Cloud Storage? The Coronado solution allows you to flip the traditional storage model. Instead of backing up into the Cloud, send the files directly to the Cloud and allow advanced caching techniques to keep the most recently accessed files local. Coronado V-NAS Access Points will trim the local cache, keeping only the files that have been accessed while maintaining a complete local view of all files locally and in the Cloud. If a Cloud-resident file is accessed, it will be immediately brought down and placed back into the cache while leaving a permanent copy in the Cloud.

Soft Delete and Version Control

Cloud Storage has really been designed for reliable disaster recovery. Coronado allows users to save primary data in a secure offsite Cloud environment. However, these secure environments don’t help if a file is deleted or a virus attacks the data store. BridgeSTOR’s CSFS captures all deleted files and moves them to a global recycle bin. If a file has been deleted, it is easily retrieved from the recycle bin through a simple drag and drop back into the system. CSFS also captures Microsoft Office and other application versions. Once a file is saved after modification, previous versions of the file will be placed immediately into the recycle bin. Similar to deleted files, it is easy to go into the recycle bin and recover previous versions of the new file.