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The Evolution from NAS to the Cloud for SMBs

In the early days of storing unstructured data, organizations invested in Network Attached Storage (NAS) to provide a centralized location to manage and protect the data. This was relatively easy to manage and back up as a single system.  Over time however, the amount of data being stored both in size and volume increased dramatically due to things such as higher resolution images and videos, audio files, IOT devices collecting data at the edge of networks, geo-spatial data, and traditional office files.

This led to the deployment of additional NAS or Windows File Servers to keep up with the growth. Each bringing additional management overhead and data protection needs. Capacity issues forced departments to find easier alternatives to storing and sharing data using services such as Google Drive or Box. These “Shadow IT” groups were bypassing IT completely which meant corporate assets were no longer being managed or protected with traditional IT policies. IT Administrators began to look at better, more cost-effective methods to store the data and the “cloud” seemed to be the holy grail to solve their needs.

The move from Network Attached Storage to Cloud Storage

As companies started to look to the cloud to move their data, they began to soon realize that the big “hyperscale” providers had many hidden costs, such as very expensive egress fees. Another concern was the security of all the corporate assets now residing outside of the company walls.  So, while it was cost-effective getting data into the cloud, retrieving it later was very costly. So, many organizations pumped the brakes on their deployments and began to re-evaluate their strategies. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick on their legacy NAS and file servers and costly renewals/replacements need to be planned.

Today, there are much better methods to store data securely and cost-effectively in the cloud thanks to caching appliances such as CTERA Edge Filers.  With CTERA, businesses move all their data to the cloud, such as BackBlaze B2 Cloud Storage.  In most cases, 80-90% of that data is “cold” meaning it hasn’t been recently accessed and may never need to be accessed again, but needs to be retained. The 10-20% “active” data is cached and stored locally using a virtual or physical appliance.  This means that end-users have fast access to all their active data, as if they were connected to the traditional NAS, but also have direct access to all the inactive data sitting in the cloud. All of the data is secured using military-grade encryption.

This model dramatically reduces hardware costs as well as the associated data protection costs. CTERA, with built-in data protection technologies coupled with the BackBlaze B2 Cloud Storage allows customers to implement a new plug-and-play cloud-based file services for object storage solutions. It provides S3 compatible storage for a fraction of the cost of competitors and with a predictable cost model allowing IT administrators to stretch their budget further. With a 99.9% uptime SLA and no cold delays or speed premiums, users have reliable access to their data all the time.

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