“This article will outline the integration between on-premises storage arrays and cloud computing, and the methods used tend to fall into three broad categories: First, there are features and functions with varying degrees of automation that provide the actual layering for the cloud, mainly Used to migrate inactive data to lower cost storage.
This article will outline the integration between on-premises storage arrays and cloud computing, using methods that tend to fall into three broad categories:
First, there are features and functions with varying degrees of automation that provide the actual tiering to the cloud, primarily for migrating inactive data to lower-cost storage.
Second, there are products and features that provide some form of backup and archiving to the cloud through software or hardware appliances.
Finally, some vendors, notably IBM and Hitachi Vantara, are concentrating their cloud tiering efforts on a product that provides some kind of on-ramp to the cloud as a facilitator for hybrid or multi-cloud storage.
(1) Dell EMC
Dell EMC’s mid-range/enterprise-class Unity storage arrays use its Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) to “seamlessly” provide file and block tiering to the cloud, according to its promotional materials.
It sits between Unity on-premises and the cloud. Migrates files to the cloud according to user-defined policies and leaves an 8kb stub on local hardware. For block storage, snapshots are taken and migrated to the cloud when the originals are deleted. Snapshots can be restored to the original system or any other system.
Cloud tiering from CTA is supported by Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 and IBM Cloud Object Storage, as well as Dell EMC’s Virtustream and Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage.
Dell EMC also offers CloudArray, a cloud tiering tool that can be used as a hardware or software virtual appliance. CloudArray, acquired from Dell EMC’s 2014 acquisition of TwinStrata, works with any SAN or NAS on-premises hardware and can tier data to the public cloud. It also provides snapshots, deduplication, and encryption.
Additionally, Unity storage arrays can be managed from the cloud and can also be equipped with Cloud IQ, a free cloud-based software-as-a-service suite with predictive analytics, alerts and remediation recommendations. Cloud IQ is supported on Unity, SC, XtremIO, VMAX and PowerMax storage hardware.
Dell EMC’s scale-out NAS product, Isilon, has CloudPools, which allow policy-based automatic tiering of data to three key cloud providers as well as private clouds.
The Xtremio all-flash system can tier data to Dell EMC’s Virtustream, as can Unity and VMAX. There is no such option available for storage arrays equipped with PowerMax NVMe, but if there is data, it cannot be cold storage by any means. Dell EMC doesn’t appear to offer any cloud tiering for its SC-series storage arrays.
HPE’s StoreOnce data protection appliance has a feature called HPE Cloud Bank Storage. This provides the use of the cloud as a target for backup and archiving, as well as changed block tracking and deduplication. Cloud library storage works with AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as private clouds built with Scality, and can be recovered to any (possibly HPE) system in the event of a disaster recovery.
HPE 3Par advertises cloud library storage as a “cloud tier,” but it’s clearly a backup/disaster recovery function, not a storage tier.
As HPE acquired Nimble Storage, it acquired the company’s Cloud Volumes product. This enables customers to set up and configure Nimble flash-driven cloud storage instances on the Azure cloud platform and AWS cloud platform. HPE calls it tiers, but there doesn’t seem to be any automatic tiering between on-premises and Cloud Volumes.
HPE’s Scalable Object Storage, which is based on Scality’s RING architecture, may be available with the Zenko multi-cloud controller, which launched in March.
IBM’s link between on-premises storage and the public cloud is IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud.
It’s an updated version of the public cloud of IBM’s venerable SAN Volume Controller, formerly known as a hardware storage virtualization box, but now runs as a software appliance in the cloud and on-premises.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud allows access to public clouds, currently only IBM’s own public cloud, this comes from IBM storage for moving data between on-premises data centers and the cloud, using the cloud for disaster recovery, devops, and providing asynchronous and synchronous remote copy.
(4) Hitachi Vantara
Hitachi Vantara’s VSP all-flash F-series and hybrid-flash G-series arrays offer automated tiering to Amazon, Microsoft Azure and IBM clouds through the company’s own Hitachi Content Platform. The focus is on reducing storage costs by moving inactive data to the cloud.
Hitachi Content Platform is based on an object storage platform and can run in both hardware and software versions and as a private cloud storage with access to Azure, Amazon and Google’s public clouds. With access to existing storage infrastructure, it can serve as an on-ramp to public cloud storage.
(5) NetApp Corporation
For NetApp’s FAS all-flash and hybrid-flash hardware, it offers FabricPool. This allows tiering of inactive data to public cloud storage, with support for Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, as well as private clouds. Its tiering is automated and data movement policies can be set at scale.
NetApp’s E-Series all-flash arrays can use NetApp SANtricity Cloud Connector for block-based backup, replication, and restore of E-Series volumes to Amazon S3 accounts, and use RESTful API jobs to manage backup and restore tasks.
NetAp doesn’t appear to have any cloud connectivity for its Solidfire all-flash storage. But that’s probably because Solidfire is targeting vendors who want to offer cloud storage.