Today, at the Amazon AWS re:Invent show, Avere Systems announced new capabilities for their FXT Edge Filer. The new offering, Cloud NAS, offers support for both Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Glacier. Support for other services is coming. In addition to adding optimization for Cloud storage, the new Cloud NAS also adds object storage optimization.
To my knowledge, this is the first product offering that optimizes the performance of Cloud storage. To explain how it works, I’ll need to give a little background on the Avere Systems FXT Series Filers.
Avere Systems FXT Series Edge Filer
The Avere Systems FXT Edge Filer acts as a front-end for NAS storage. It operates on principles similar to Fusion-IO or EMC XtremSW Cache – the basic idea being that you can improve performance by moving the data closer to the compute resources or closer to the end-user.
Think of the FXT as a “NAS virtualization” device. The FXT Edge Filer can sit in front of multiple NAS devices, allowing for transparent clustering, tiering, and data migrations, all while providing continuous end-user access to files.
Within an individual data center, the “moving data closer” functionality, in and of itself, isn’t all that exciting, but it’s not limited to that. The FXT can be placed on with other end of a WAN link, providing distant users improved performance. The intelligent caching performed by the FXT will allow those users to effectively ignore the latency of the WAN links.
Avere Cloud NAS
The new Avere Cloud NAS expands upon these existing capabilities in two ways: applying them to private object (not just file) storage — as long as it’s S3 compliant — and applying them to public Cloud storage.
Public Cloud storage can be extremely cost-effective, but it’s not known for providing high performance. By acting as a front-end to public Cloud storage, the FXT Filer is able to bring Cloud storage the same benefits of improved performance and transparent data migrations described above.
While future support for other public Cloud storage options is planned, Amazon S3 and Glacier will be the first options supported.
Avere Cloud NAS support for Amazon S3 is in beta test now. Support for public Cloud storage from Amazon Glacier will be available in Q1 of 2014. First support for private cloud object storage should also be available in Q1 2014.