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Redefining NAS from Edge to Core to Cloud

Traditional NAS

In the face of an unstructured data explosion worldwide, enterprises are re-evaluating traditional NAS infrastructure – both at the core (data center) and at the edge (remote sites). The reasons for this shift in thinking are usually boiled down to cost, capacity, and complexity, all of which become magnified at scale at distributed organizations with dozens and sometimes hundreds or thousands of remote locations.

At the edge, a NAS device traditionally has been deployed at each remote office/branch office (ROBO) to address local unstructured data storage needs. These devices must be continuously maintained and regularly upgraded. And to further complicate matters, all the data stored on them needs to be backed up and hauled offsite. Multiply these processes by n number of sites and the burden on IT becomes quite acute.

At the core, scale-up and scale-out versions of NAS have been popular in data center environments for high-volume storage, backup, and archiving of unstructured data. But big NAS appliances aren’t cheap, and the additional costs associated with data replication, data center back up, and bandwidth can rack up quickly.

The quest to alleviate NAS challenges from edge to core is leading enterprises to solutions that enable distributed sites to share files and storage via a cloud global file system accessible from any device, anywhere, using a modern collaboration experience that goes beyond the traditional SMB/NFS approach.

In parallel, hyperconvergence has become an appealing option for enterprises that have separately managed application workloads and hardware silos of compute, networking, and storage. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) enables organizations to consolidate various edge and core infrastructure into a single operating environment.

Until recently these were disparate technologies, but by combining hyperconvergence with cloud-native file services backed by scalable object storage, an entirely new approach can be architected to solve the challenges of enterprises frustrated by the cost and inefficiencies of traditional NAS.

The solution is comprised of CTERA Edge Filers, which serve as a front-end NAS to cloud object storage, providing local SMB/NFS protocols for fast edge performance. CTERA filers can be deployed as a virtual instance on any HCI platform or can stand as a physical appliance in a ROBO or at the data center. CTERA Portal serves as the global file system and data management middleware on which the CTERA solution is delivered, providing also secure data access for roaming users.

Users have access to a familiar-looking NAS protocols and file directory structure, but all data changes are automatically synced to the customer’s data center, without any worry over complicated backup processes or disaster recovery plans. CTERA Edge Filers are caching-enabled, allowing distributed enterprises to tier or archive ROBO file data storage into a cost-efficient private cloud storage repository, or global file system, accessible to any location.

Together in a unified system, a hyperconverged gateway delivers everything needed for the distributed enterprise:

  • Infrastructure consolidation and TCO reduction. Consolidate the entire range of edge IT requirements into a single appliance that can reduce costs by up to 80 percent over legacy infrastructure. Replace traditional NAS, backup, and collaboration tools with a unified platform that integrates into powerful networking, compute, and hyperconverged infrastructure.
  • Optimized file services delivery from edge to cloud. Enterprise-grade central management tools enable IT to oversee all aspects of file services delivery from a single platform.
  • Cloud transformation on your terms. Empower your users with the applications and file services they need to be productive while maintaining 100% of your data and application security posture.

Now is the time to modernize NAS infrastructure from edge to core if your organization is dealing with storage capacity challenges, modern collaboration constraints, and other symptoms of traditional NAS.

CTERA recently partnered with Cisco and Scality to develop a hyperconverged cloud gateway solution that you can learn about in this solution brief: https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/servers-unified-computing/ucs-c-series-rack-servers/ctera-sol-brief.pdf

An earlier version of this post appeared in Solved Magazine

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Categories: Insight

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