Nasuni Adds Multisite Access To Data Stored On Cloud

Nasuni, a provider of technology to connect local storage to the cloud, on Monday unveiled a new way for customers with multiple sites to work on a single set of shared data.

Nasuni's new Data Continuity Services with multi-site capabilty give customers a simple and secure way to share data across multiple sites using data stored in a cloud, said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of the Natick, Mass-based storage vendor.

With the new multisite data access, Nasuni is targeting partners serving customers with cloud-based solutions for remote offices and branch offices, including partners who work with Riverbed and Cisco to develop wide area networking solutions, Rodriguez said.

"The cloud is going from being a cheaper warehouse for data to an area for innovation," he said.

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Nasuni is the developer of the Nasuni Filer, a virtual appliance that links through the Internet to one or more third-party clouds for backing up and archiving files while providing local copies for fast access. Changes to the files are also copied to the cloud to maintain up-to-date versions.

The Nasuni Filer helps solution providers take advantage of existing public storage clouds, including Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Nirvanix, and Windows Azure, to offer Storage-as-a-Service to customers featuring remote and local caching of files, along with such services as thin provisioning and built-in data snapshots.

The company offers a 100-percent guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) for its cloud storage because it selects both the hardware on the customer site and the cloud storage provider partners, Rodriguez said.

With the new multi-access capabilities, a company's logical volume is decoupled from any particular storage device, and multiple storage heads are enabled to work with that volume, Rodriguez said.

"You can have multiple offices send data to the volume, and then let all offices to have access to it," he said. "And this is all offered as a service."

The Nasuni technology can be used to manage primary storage data in the cloud, with the volume running as if it were on local storage, Rodriguez said.

"But the real master copy of the volume is migrated to the cloud, so if the volume is lost, just reconnect to the service, identify yourself, and get re-connected," he said. "It's cool for disaster recovery and data protection."

The alternative for many companies today is to extend the data to multiple sites, which means that changes to the data have to replicated to multiple sites, which can be a messy solution, Rodriguez said.

"Also, performance is a problem," he said. "And if something in the data is corrupted, that corruption spreads. There is no master copy of the data."

Nasuni puts the cloud in the center of the data, letting any remote office access it just as if it is a local file because a copy is stored in a Nasuni NAS appliance, Rodriguez said. "Each local office has local performance and complete access to the data," he said.

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Bill Trautman, director of storage technology at DataSpan, a Dallas-based solution provider and Nasuni partner, said the Nasuni multi-site access to customer data does not really have any good alternatives.

"The ability to access data from multiple sites is a really big deal for customers," Trautman said. "For now, we only see it for certain specific applications like SharePoint. And the fact that Nasuni added the ability to lock data in a multi-user environment is important. It will be interesting to see how customers will put it to use. To me, the sky's the limit."

Trautman said Nasuni has proven to be a good partner because its technology can be used as primary storage for unstructured data.

"Unstructured data is exploding," he said. "Customers could keep that data on-premises, but as the data ages, why keep so much stagnant data on-site. They can use the cloud as a low-cost storage tier."

The new multisite access to data capability is available starting Monday. Nasuni is providing it to existing and new customers at no additional charge. "We don't want to nickel and dime our customers to death," Rodriguez said. "Everything is available at one price."

Nasuni works exclusively through channel partners, Rodriguez said.