I haven’t spoken to Nexenta in some time, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy. They recently announced NexentaCloud in AWS, and I had the opportunity to speak to Michael Letschin about the announcement.
What Is It?
In short, it’s a version of NexentaStor that you can run in the cloud. It’s ostensibly an EC2 machine running in your virtual private cloud using EBS for storage on the backend. It’s:
- Available in the AWS Marketplace;
- Is deployed on preconfigured Amazon Machine Images; and
- Delivers unified file and block services (NFS, SMB, iSCSI).
According to Nexenta, the key benefits include:
- Access to a fully-featured file (NFS and SMB) and block (iSCSI) storage array;
- Improved cloud resource efficiency through
- data reduction
- thin provisioning
- snapshots and clones
- Seamless replication to/from NexentaStor and NexentaCloud;
- Rapid deployment of NexentaCloud instances for test/dev operations;
- Centralised management of NexentaStor and NexentaCloud;
- Advanced Analytics across your entire Nexenta storage environment; and
- Migrate legacy applications to the cloud without re-architecting your applications.
There’s an hourly or annual subscription model, and I believe there’s also capacity-based licensing options available.
Some of the young people reading this blog who wear jeans to work every day probably wonder why on earth you’d want to deploy a virtual storage array in your VPC in the first place. Why would your cloud-native applications care about iSCSI access? It’s very likely they don’t. But one of the key reasons why you might consider the NexentaCloud offering is because you’ve not got the time or resources to re-factor your applications and you’ve simply lifted and shifted a bunch of your enterprise applications into the cloud. These are likely applications that depend on infrastructure-level resiliency rather than delivering their own application-level resiliency. In this case, a product like NexentaCloud makes sense in that it provides some of the data services and resiliency that are otherwise lacking with those enterprise applications.
I’m intrigued by the NexentaCloud offering (and by Nexenta the company, for that matter). They have a solid history of delivering interesting software-defined storage solutions at a reasonable cost and with decent scale. If you’ve had the chance to play with NexentaStor (or deployed it in production), you’ll know it’s a fairly solid offering with a lot of the features you’d look for in a traditional storage platform. I’m curious to see how many enterprises take advantage of the NexentaCloud product, although I know there are plenty of NexentaStor users out in the wild, and I have no doubt their CxOs are placing a great amount of pressure on them to don the cape and get “to the cloud” post haste.