Elastifile recently announced version 3.0 of their product. I had the opportunity to speak to Jerome McFarland (VP of Marketing) and thought I’d share some information from the announcement here. If you haven’t heard of them before, “Elastifile augments public cloud capabilities and facilitates cloud consumption by delivering enterprise-grade, scalable file storage in the cloud”.
One of the major features of the 3.0 release is “ClearTier”, delivering integration between file and object storage in public clouds. With ClearTier, you have object storage expanding the file system namespace. The cool thing about this is that Elastifile’s ECFS provides transparent read / write access to all data. No need to re-tool applications to take advantage of the improved economics of object storage in the public cloud.
How Does It Work?
All data is accessible through ECFS via a standard NFS mount, and application access to object data is routed automatically. Data tiering occurs automatically according to user-defined policies specifying:
- Targeted capacity ratio between file and object;
- Eligibility for data demotion (i.e. min time since last access); and
- Promotion policies control response to object data access.
ClearTier gets even more interesting when you combine it with Elastifile’s CloudConnect, by using CloudConnect to get data to the public cloud in the first place, and then using CloudTier to push data to object storage.
[image courtesy of Elastifile]
It becomes a simple process, and consists of two steps:
- Move on-premises data (from any NAS) to cloud-based object storage using CloudConnect; and
- Deploy ECFS with pointer to designated object store.
ClearTier also provides the ability to store snapshots on an object tier. Snapshots occur automatically according to user- defined policies specifying:
- Data to include;
- Destination for snapshot (i.e. file storage / object storage); and
- Schedule for snapshot creation.
The great thing is that all snapshots are accessible through ECFS via the same NFS mount.
Thoughts And Further Reading
I was pretty impressed with Elastifile’s CloudConnect solution when they first announced it. When you couple CloudConnect with something like ClearTier, and have it sitting on top of the ECFS foundation, it strikes me as a pretty cool solution. If you’re using applications that rely heavily on NFS, for example, ClearTier gives you a way to leverage the traditionally low cost of cloud object storage with the improved performance of file. I like the idea that you can play with the ratio of file and object, and I’m a big fan of not having to re-tool my file-centric applications to take advantage of object economics. The ability to store a bunch of snapshots on the object tier also adds increased flexibility in terms of data protection and storage access options.
The ability to burst workloads is exactly the kind of technical public cloud use case that we’ve been talking about in slideware for years now. The reality, however, has been somewhat different. It looks like Elastifile are delivering a solution that competes aggressively with some of the leading cloud providers’ object solutions, whilst also giving the storage array vendors, now dabbling in cloud solutions, pause for thought. There are a bunch of interesting use cases, particularly if you need to access a bunch of compute, and large data sets via file-based storage, in a cloud environment for short periods of time. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, scalable storage solution, I think that Elastifile are worth checking out.