Red Hat Releases Virtual Storage Appliance For Amazon AWS

Red Hat this week unveiled a new virtual storage appliance for Amazon Web Services based on the scale-out NAS storage technology it got with its acquisition last year of Gluster.

The new Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance works with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and makes it easy for customers to deploy highly available storage in the Amazon cloud to extend unstructured storage pools between data centers and the cloud, said Tom Trainer, storage product marketing manager for Red Hat.

The virtual storage appliance installs as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) within AWS, Trainer said.

"Once installed, the user chooses how much capacity is needed on the back end," he said. "You could start with as small as 2 TBs. The capacity is configured as 1-TB 'drives.' So for 250 TBs, the capacity would be configured as 250 1-EBS (Amazon Elastic Block Storage) volumes."

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Red Hat got the storage technology with its acquisition last October of Gluster.

Gluster was a developer of scale-out NAS, which is a way to non-disruptively increase the performance and capacity of network-attached storage using a clustered or grid storage system.

The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance stripes data across the EBS volumes, Trainer said. "We found that striping the drives compensates for a lot of network latency," he said.

The "NAS-in-a-cloud" nature of the Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance is a real game changer for cloud storage, Trainer said. Cloud storage has typically been deployed in an object-oriented fashion in clouds such as AWS or EMC Atmos, which requires applications be rewritten.

However, customers have been looking for ways to run NAS directly in the cloud, he said. "Our data rate is much faster than other methods," he said. "This enables customers to move their enterprise NAS files to the cloud. It's an incredible opportunity for them."

The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance uses the POSIX standard for ensuring that data is compatible between on-premises file servers and the cloud, Trainer said.

"This supports the movement of POSIX-compliant applications into the cloud without the need to be rewritten for object storage," he said.

The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance is installed in pairs of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) servers for redundancy, and can be scaled for performance in pairs of nodes, Trainer said.

"We have seen customers scale to 32-two-node clusters with petabytes of storage capacity," he said. "Some nodes are persistent, and some scale down when they are no longer needed. And it's all done non-disruptively."

The new Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance is not Red Hat's first storage appliance. The company in December unveiled a software-based storage appliance which could be installed on two physical industry-standard servers to act as a clustered file server head connected to local or cloud storage on the back end, Trainer said.

The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance is currently available, and is priced at $7,500 per node, or $15,000 per pair. It is available through Red Hat's channel partners.