Cloudian Ups the Ante in Object Storage-based NAS

Company claims that this is the first object storage package to combine a full enterprise-class NAS feature set and scale-out performance--all inside the data center.


Network-attached storage systems are the kind IT administrators mount on racks and keep running 24/7 in data centers. They’re like little self-sufficient private clouds, but they’re not clouds.

Cloudian, whose name is more than a bit confusing because it makes object-based, on premises-located storage hardware and software systems—not cloud gateways or anything else cloud—is taking the concept of physical NAS to another level.

It is doing this with the Dec. 7 launch of Cloudian HyperFile, an integrated NAS controller that moves data inside Server Message Block (SMB) and Network File System (NFS) file-access protocols to servers from on-premises Cloudian HyperStore object storage systems. Thus, any type of file can be housed here.

Cloudian HyperFile is the first object storage-based system to include all the features essential to enterprise network attached storage (NAS) customers, thus opening the door for deployment in capacity-intensive applications that employ file data.

Object Storage Now a Large Market

For the record: Object storage (also known as object-based storage) is a storage architecture that manages data as objects, as opposed to other storage architectures such as file systems—which manage data as a file hierarchy—and block storage, which manages data as blocks within sectors and tracks. Each object typically includes the data itself, a variable amount of metadata and a globally unique identifier.

Companies that specialize in—or at least offer—object storage options include Cloudian, Pure Storage, Digital Ocean, IBM/Cisco, Dell EMC Virtustream, Spectra Logic, SwiftStack, Qumulo, Minio, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems, Cohesity and Veritas, among others.

Cloudian HyperFile incorporates all NAS features essential for enterprise applications, including SMB (Common Internet File System)/NFS support, snapshot, WORM (write once, read many), non-disruptive failover, scale-out performance, POSIX compliance and Active Directory integration. When combined with the limitless scalability of Cloudian HyperStore enterprise storage, organizations gain new on-premises options for managing the tsunami of unstructured data, now growing at over 50% annually.  

 “Object storage has been a go-to technology for a long time, but obviously the big enabler was having a standard—the (Amazon) S3 API (application programming interface) made it easy for everyone to go develop to that,” Cloudian Chief Marketing Officer Jon Toor told eWEEK. Cloudian, naturally, has based its object storage approach on the S3 standard.

“It really changed the landscape, making object storage accessible and usable. And now, all that great technology that had been sitting there can now be used by everybody.”

Target markets for HyperFile include media and entertainment, video surveillance, medical imaging, engineering, legal, workgroup collaboration and home directory, Toor said.   

Pricing for complete Cloudian HyperFile storage solutions, including on-premises disk-based storage, starts at less than 1/2 cent per GB/mo, representing a savings of more than 70 percent vs. traditional enterprise NAS.  According to analysts, the typical annual TCO for enterprise storage is 13 cents per GB/month, of which 48 percent is the system cost, or approximately 6 cents per GB/month.

Data Migration Engine for Non-Disruptive Implementation

To simplify implementation, Cloudian HyperFile incorporates a policy-based data migration engine that transfers files to Cloudian from existing NAS systems, or from proprietary systems such as EMC Centera. IT managers select the attributes for files to be migrated and the data movement then proceeds as a background task with no service interruption.

Cloudian HyperFile is available as an appliance or as a virtual machine. The HyperFile appliance is deployed as a node within a Cloudian cluster and includes active-passive processors for rapid failover, fully redundant hardware for high-availability, and integrated caching for performance.

Two software versions, HyperFile Basic and HyperFile Enterprise, enable users to select the required functionality. A HyperFile Basic software license is included with Cloudian HyperStore. Pricing for complete on-premises, appliance-based solutions, begins at ½ cent per GB per month.

For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...