NexSan has added hybrid cloud capability to its Assureon archive hardware that will allow customers to store unstructured data on-premise or in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure public clouds, with data portability between them.
But key use cases for Assureon Cloud Transfer focus on retention of data on-site with pointers from cloud locations. The idea here is that customers can save cloud spend by retaining key data on-premise, but access it from anywhere, including via public cloud.
Assureon Cloud Transfer is NexSan’s first foray into the public cloud. Under the scheme, data can be stored on on-premise Assureon appliances, in the AWS or Azure public clouds or in hybrid cloud fashion across all these locations.
According to NexSan CTO Gary Watson, the product “will work with other clouds, but is only certified with AWS and Azure”.
Watson said NexSan sees Assureon Cloud Transfer’s primary use cases as centred on organisations that want access to the cloud and in some cases to work via the cloud, but do not want to upload and retain everything to the cloud for cost reasons.
“It is data protection for cloud-generated data, or for data that customers want to access from the cloud,” he said. “But people struggle with increasing bills for cloud storage, so we give them the option to store locally and access golden copies via stubs in the cloud.”
This year has seen an upsurge in products and services that allow hybrid cloud operations in which organisations can process and store data on-site or in the public cloud, with the ability to move data and operations between the two locations.
The Assureon Cloud Transfer launch also mirrors a growing recognition that data generated in the cloud may need to be retained on customer premises to meet compliance needs.
Files or stubs of files can be stored in any on-site or cloud location and be restored to any. Currently, capture and restore is only possible to Windows servers. Assureon also only works with unstructured data.
Watson added: “It’s all our client knows how to capture – not databases or emails, because to capture these, you have to understand the database and its scheme and we would need a driver for every one. And unstructured data is where the market is right now.”
Assureon products come as hardware archive appliances, with long-term archiving of unstructured data the target workload. Deployed in pairs, Assureon is underpinned by an object storage engine with the ability to set file retention policies on top.
Key customers are in medical, legal and financial verticals, emergency services and police (for phone call recordings), as well as customers that need to retain data with trustable integrity for compliance reasons, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As files are ingested, they are given a unique identifier. This is checked every 90 days to make sure it is still in the archive, at both sites, and that its metadata is correct. If problems are detected, the file is self-healed from the other locations.