By providing a virtual machine that caches data actually stored in the cloud, Nasuni is trying to make it possible for a midsize business to use online storage as a primary file server.
By providing a virtual machine that caches data actually stored in the cloud, Nasuni is trying to make it possible for a midsize business to use online storage as a primary file server.According to Nasuni CEO Andres Rodriguez, the typical pain points for midsize businesses when it comes to storage are the steadily increasing demand for more space and the need to have reliable, complete backups. The idea behind the Nasuni Filer approach is that most of the data on a company's file servers lies undisturbed most of the time -- that the actively accessed data is fraction of the entire amount. "Out of five or seven terabytes of stored data," says Rodriguez, "there's maybe 100 GB that people are actually working on." Intended for businesses with 200 to 1,000 employees ("with maybe one data center and half a dozen IT personnel," says Rodriguez), the Nasuni Filer is a virtual NAS file server that runs on VMware and caches that active fraction, drastically reducing the amount of local storage needed. The rest of the data is transferred to the cloud and only accessed when called for.
The Nasuni Filer takes a snapshot of the entire file system every hour, performs deduplication, and sends just the changed data to the cloud. Rodriguez emphasizes that Nasuni is not storing the data itself; rather, it works with established cloud storage providers. "We see ourselves as a gateway," he says. "Once the Filer is installed, we handle establishing credentials with the cloud provider, but our customer gets the credentials. We also broker the security arrangements and the billing." The company currently works with Amazon Web Services and Iron Mountain and will be adding Rackspace and Nirvanix.
Nasuni has a disaster recovery component as well. "People don't like to put too much data on cloud services," Rodriguez says, "because of the time it takes to restore it. But in our case, if you need to get going after a disaster, you don't need to bring all the data down. Once cloud access is re-established, we give priority to what users request and then restore the cache as it existed before."
The Nasuni Filer virtual machine costs $3,000/year. Cloud storage is extra, but Nasuni just passes through whatever the cloud provider charges without adding a markup. Nasuni provides a cost calculator for estimating total storage costs with the service up to three years out.
The service is now in beta and can be downloaded from www.nasuni.com, and the storage is free during the beta period.
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