For a species that’s evolved so effectively over the millennia, we humans sure seem to have a hard time with change. Even the most flexible among us struggle with simple and even expected changes, like daylight savings time or the need to write a different year on our checks each January.

In the high technology world – perhaps the most quickly changing environment of the all – change is a way of life, and at the same time it can be traumatic, particularly when a tried and true piece of technology reaches a limitation. Sometimes that technology simply dies off, out-competed by something new. Other times, a new approach enables an old technology to overcome those limitations, resulting in a new version of an old favorite.

Enterprise NAS: The Standard for Unstructured Data

That’s the case with Network-Attached Storage (NAS), a staple for file storage applications for more than 30 years. Even as the nature of data has changed – in volume, in format and in its criticality for business – NAS has done the job, for the most part, and concepts like clustering have allowed it to scale.

But change is coming hard and fast. The files NAS is being asked to store have changed. Files are have become much larger and much more numerous, and they’re being created faster than ever. This is challenging NAS’s abilities to keep up, and do so in a way that doesn’t break the bank.

Don’t worry, NAS fans – the concept isn’t going away. Instead, it’s evolving into something fresh and powerful through an injection of new technology.

Introducing Cloudian HyperFile

The trick is the use of object storage to enable next-generation file storage. Cloudian’s HyperFile is a scale-out NAS controller that delivers file services from Cloudian’s proven HyperStore system. This delivers all of enterprise-level NAS’s usual features – SMB/NFS support, snapshots, high availability, user authentication via Active Directory and LDAP. But it also enables users to do things they’ve never been able to do with yesterday’s NAS solutions.

Here’s what the next evolution of NAS will hold in store for its devotees:

Scale

Traditional NAS has upper limits on capacity – and, as they near that capacity, their performance can degrade significantly. Adding more silos seems like a solution, but it can lead to “NAS sprawl,” and an ever-increasing level of complexity that imposes significant penalties in management, money and manpower.

As a scale-out solution, HyperFile grows in a much more elegant way, using the HyperStore architecture to provide a unified, hyperscalable and software-defined storage solution. Need more space, or want to implement a higher level of data redundancy, or both? Just add nodes and allow the system to incorporate it into the same multi-protocol namespace.

Data Management

HyperFile includes all the data management features present in top-of-the-line NAS solutions. These include WORM (write once, read many) capability, snapshots, and disk quotas. The solution provides client-level security and authentication through AES 256-bit encryption, and access is controlled through LDAP and Active Directory user authentication.

Migration

Migrating enterprise storage can require a significant investment in time and manpower — and sometimes downtime. HyperFile’s integrated migration tools allow data to be migrated from conventional NAS to HyperFile as a background task – meaning less manual intervention and continuous file access.

Cost

HyperFile is available on a Cloudian appliance or as a virtual machine that can run on industry standard servers, allowing users to keep their hardware costs at bay. With HyperFile, storage costs start around less than one cent per month per GB.

Change can appear dangerous, but face it, with change there wouldn’t be evolution. Storage evolves with the changing needs, and this is the latest example. Take a look. You may find that it’s a change for the better.

 

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