As we indicated in our ongoing test drive of the product we have felt that the 1.0 product was very stable. So stable in fact that in our very volatile lab/production environment (basically lab is production at Storage Switzerland) the Nasuni Filer has been up and running for over 52 days straight, even though just about everything else has crashed around it, including our network! During this time the Nasuni Filer continued to serve as a backup target for our mail server and production data. So impressed were we by the product a little more than thirty days ago we created another volume on the Filer, back-ended by a separate cloud provider and it now serves as our production file server, while still continuing to use the original Filer volume for backup data.


Below is a live video of our upgrade of the process.

George Crump, Senior Analyst

Case Study

Nasuni is a client of Storage Switzerland

Briefing Report

In addition to Hyper-V support Nasuni also enabled support for Microsoft Windows Previous Versions capabilities. One of the most common restore request is the need to recover a file that was accidentally overwritten. Trash Bins won’t save you, in most cases you have to go to a backup and that means that IT has to stop what it is doing to recover the file. By supporting previous versions, now with a simple right click users can recover previous versions of their old files and the IT staff can keep doing what it was busy doing without interruption.

 

The Nasuni 2.0 release also adds support for Distributed File System Namespace (DFS), an important capability as you begin to integrate the Nasuni Filer into the environment with legacy NAS systems or file servers. This allows polices to be set to move data to and from the Nasuni Filer in a more organized and automated fashion. Most importantly it simplifies migrations allowing shares to be migrated to the Filer without having to update user profiles.


Finally Nasuni 2.0 adds support for Windows Azure as a cloud storage backend. This brings the total supported cloud providers to six including Amazon, AT&T, Iron Mountain, Nirvanix and Rackspace Cloud. Storage Switzerland’s data for our Nasuni filer is stored on Iron Mountain’s and Rackspace’s cloud space respectively. We have had no issues either connecting to them or pulling data from them. We will be adding Microsoft’s Azure soon so we can do the comparison.

Private Clouds


In addition to the major public cloud providers the 2.0 version of the Filer software allows it to act as a gateway for any supported public or private cloud of their choosing by providing their own credentials, thus giving them more control over their account. While this does allow customers to use their own private cloud account it will also mean they will loose the cost and convenience benefits of dealing directly with Nasuni. However, if you already have a cloud storage relationship with one of the above providers this may be a better option for you. The important thing is that the choice is now yours. Private cloud support will also allow Managed Service Providers to offer file services to their customers via partners such as Rackspace OpenStack, EMC Atmos and Nirvanix Hybrid Cloud.

New GUI, New Features

Beyond the external enhancements to the product the 2.0 release of the Filer software has plenty of internal improvements. The GUI has been completely redesigned for better look and feel. The home screen has a new look that shows all the critical information about your Filer at a glance. This includes volume usage, snapshot status, cache status and total data in the cloud.

The volumes display now has an improved navigation capability and files have been color coded to indicate if they are safely copied in the cloud or not.

There are a host of other new features and GUI redesigns but one of the key improvements was the update changes to the quality of service setting. Before there was just one schedule setting, you couldn’t have different bandwidth utilization settings for different times during the day or week. Now all of this is possible. You can lower and raise the bandwidth used by the Filer at several times throughout the day or week.



Storage Switzerland’s Take


We’ve gained a lot of confidence in the Nasuni product over the summer. It has proven to be rock solid reliable and performance has been excellent. 2.0 simply takes that solid foundation and builds on it. The additional Microsoft benefits and the capability to use your own cloud credentials is a welcomed addition. While the GUI was never something that we worried about the new version is refreshingly well done and makes navigating the Filer easier than ever. If you are in a virtual environment and need to provide file services the Nasuni Filer is a very viable alternative to the traditional approach of running a file server as a VM. It is also a viable alternative for a small business, not yet virtualizing servers, needs file services but wants to keep their local storage investment small.

Major Windows Interoperability Enhancements


The Nasuni 2.0 release brings four major new capabilities that are sure to be welcomed in Windows environments. The first is support for running the Filer as a VM within Microsoft Hyper-V, the virtualization platform that is included with Windows Server 2008.   Now a Windows 2008 Hyper-V environment can take advantage of a purpose built file server that is cloud storage enabled. That means full file services functionality and performance without a rapidly growing local storage requirement. The Nasuni Filer uses a, by default 64GB, local cache, although it can be re-sized, to store your most active data set local. All data is replicated hourly to the cloud storage provider for protection. As the local cache reaches greater than 64GB, the oldest data is automatically migrated from the local cache yet is still accessible via the cloud. In essence your local storage requirement remains small and easy to manage while the backend cloud infrastructure retains all that information that no one wants to delete.