Nasuni Filer

The Nasuni Filer is a virtual file server that runs on VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. It downloads and sets up in a few minutes, as Storage Switzerland has shown in lab tests, providing a virtual appliance that leverages storage, CPU and networking resources with a secure link to a cloud storage provider or a private cloud. The Filer manages a pool of local storage, providing file services to users on the front end and sophisticated caching to manage the movement of data to and from the cloud on the back end. It uses asynchronous snapshots to capture the entire file system periodically and identify changed blocks of data. Then it deduplicates these changes and stores them in the cloud. In this way, the Nasuni Filer creates a view of the file system back to almost any point in time in the past and restores files accordingly.

Data Migration Service

The Nasuni Filer 2.4 release adds a native data migration facility to this downloadable virtual file server solution. It moves data sets to and from existing file servers to the Nasuni managed local cache, which then replicates to the cloud provider (or providers) of your choice. This includes maintaining ACLs and permissions, and a full audit trail. It also can see files from existing file servers or NAS devices on the local network and copy them to the Nasuni Filer. Previously, the options for this data migration were to use traditional copy tools like Robocopy or rsync. For new customers who download version 2.4 or above or existing Nasuni customers who take advantage of the free upgrade, the Data Migration Service is now accessed directly from the Filer. As an embedded migration utility it eliminates the use of a third party tool altogether, including the need for server resources and the admin time required to set up and run separate copy jobs.

Users simply select Share Migration from the Share menu and configure the data source (or multiple sources) from any CIFS share, file server or NAS device on the network, with or without Active Directory. Then the destination cloud volume is configured and saved and the process can begin. The Data Migration Service copies files, it doesn’t move them, and can queue multiple migration jobs to run in succession. It also intelligently manages cache and leverages the same adjustable ingestion rate technology as the Nasuni Filer, to make efficient use of available bandwidth. At the end of this Product Briefing Report is a video showing the Data Migration Service in use in Storage Switzerland’s data center.

This tool gives trial users a simple way to implement the Nasuni Filer once they’ve decided they like it, by consolidating data from existing file servers or NAS devices onto the Filer. Then, these data can be copied to a cloud provider of choice, all in a series of migration jobs managed and run by the Data Migration Service. But there is another benefit that this version 2.4 upgrade can provide as well.

Cloud handcuffs

Changing vendors of almost anything can be a problem. The so called ‘pain of change’ associated with starting up a new supplier is often greater than the discontent that’s driven customers away from them in the first place. In IT this pain can be largely due to the hassles of moving data from one platform, or one cloud provider, to another. There’s also a cost component, as some cloud providers charge fees based on the amount of data restored (or migrated). Unfortunately, suppliers are aware of this inertia and seem to know how much pain users will endure before leaving.

With the Data Migration Service data can be migrated from one cloud provider to another, simply by configuring one cloud volume as the source and setting up another cloud volume as the destination. In addition, Nasuni will cover any transfer charges leveed by the cloud provider as a result of migrating data. With the simplicity of the Nasuni Filer, a built in migration service and this cost protection, the pain of switching cloud providers can be all but eliminated, along with the ‘cloud lock-in’ that could potentially be handcuffing users.

Eric Slack, Senior Analyst

Briefing Report

Nasuni is a client of Storage Switzerland

- Moving From Test To Production

Storage Swiss Take

When any new application or new type of storage is evaluated there are two phases that typically occur. The first is validation: “Does it work, do I like it, should I spend my money on it?”. The second phase is implementation, in this case, migrating to the new platform. For small environments this migration isn’t always a problem due to smaller data sets and a less complex infrastructure. For larger environments it can be a deal breaker, without the use of some form of migration utility.

A good example is Physical-to-Virtual software that converts physical servers to virtual servers. It’s often referred to as an ‘enabling technology’ as it makes it easy for companies to quickly adopt server virtualization. In the same way, Nasuni’s Data Migration Service is an enabling technology, since it makes the implementation of cloud storage feasible for more companies. This utility solves one of the primary impediments to the adoption of cloud storage, the movement of data from the existing environment to the cloud, efficiently.