Over the last couple of weeks, Zadara has made announcements on the expansion of their storage-as-a-service offerings. New features include ZIOS Object Storage, Fibre Channel connectivity, additional flash support and a range of other enhancement and support features.
ZIOS Object Storage
Companies are increasingly using object storage to hold large volumes of data that don’t fit into the traditional file and block categories. Objects tend to be larger in size (megabytes to gigabytes) than files and be associated with metadata (describing the content). When solutions need to store millions of objects, putting them onto a file system becomes impractical both from the underlying data protection process and from the issues of maintaining file system integrity.
Platforms like Amazon’s S3 have driven adoption of object storage in the cloud, however for many reasons, including security/privacy and performance, having a private object store is more desirable than using the public cloud. ZIOS (Zadara Intelligent Object Storage) from Zadara offers the best of both worlds, it provides private storage within a public cloud environment.
Object stores are built from scale-out technology rather than dual controller architectures (in order to achieve scaling in capacity and both storage) and the same applies to ZIOS. Features include S3 and Swift compatible APIs, choice of either 2 or 3 way mirroring for data protection, role-based access and chargeback/billing that is expected of cloud storage solutions. The specific implementation of ZIOS is similar to VPSA in that virtual nodes are deployed to manage user data with the specific number of nodes and capacity handled behind the scenes by Zadara.
The key message here is that Zadara now offers the ability to deploy all three standard data protocols – block and file via VPSA and object through ZIOS. Customers don’t need to know the specific implementation of these features, but simply consume them in the public cloud, with private cloud levels of isolation and service.
The Fibre Channel protocol has been the stalwart of enterprise data centres for the last 15 years. As a storage networking technology, Fibre Channel deployments are reliable, lossless, offer low latency and are highly available. In fact, despite attempts from some vendors to make Ethernet the more dominant protocol, end users have resisted the transition. Part of the reason for this is the physical and human capital invested in Fibre Channel itself. Cabling, switching and HBAs are all relatively expensive, but have good longevity, especially with the latest 16Gb/s and 8Gb/s devices. There is also good backward compatibility to ensure current equipment works with older device speeds.
To address the desire from customers to leverage their existing investment in Fibre Channel, Zadara has added support for 16Gb/s Fibre Channel to on-premises deployed solutions of VPSA. This allows storage as a service to be deployed into traditional environments where private cloud and the service-based model of storage delivery traditionally doesn’t operate. Development of the service has been done in conjunction with Qlogic, one of the major vendors of Fibre Channel components.
Supporting the Enterprise
These two examples of new features address the requirement of enterprises to bridge the gap between the features expected on premises and those offered within the public cloud. There’s no reason for applications running in the public cloud to have a lower service level than their on-premises counterparts, however public cloud providers are focused on selling solutions based on cost rather than enterprise level features.
Personally, I’d prefer not to compromise, instead I’d choose a platform that offered me the service levels needed to operate my business.