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Ctera Adds Cloud Management Platform

As branch offices and small business look to the cloud to supplement their storage needs, enterprise and service providers need to find a tool for deploying those services. CTERA Networks has moved to address that need with the announcement of CTERA Portal for managing the CloudPlug, the company's storage appliance along with a firmware upgrade to the CloudPlug appliance.

SMBs are under significant pressure to store and manage growing amounts of information. Paying for that storage is a major concern for enterprises and SMBs. Storage appliances from vendors such as Axcient, NASuni and Zetta address that mechanism by enabling backup and storage services. "Cloud storage is rapidly gaining adoption within the SMB space," says Brad Nisbet, program manager for storage and data management services at IDC.

CTERA Portal is a turnkey solution for delivering cloud-based storage and data-protection services, from creating service plans to remote maintenance of storage appliances, such as CloudPlug and C200. There are tools for remote provisioning and centralized monitoring of storage appliances, managing and optimizing cloud storage and running online backup services. With CTERA Portal, enterprises and service providers can create prepaid and pay-as-you-go service plans, user self-provisioning, real-time monitoring and reporting, integrated billing and credit card payment. CTERA Portal can use third party cloud infrastructure such as Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloud Files as its back-end cloud storage, as well as direct-attached and SAN storage.

CTERA Portal is available in both SaaS and Datacenter editions. As a SaaS application, CTERA runs CTERA Portal and allows services providers to rapidly move into managed cloud services. With Datacenter Edition, CTERA Portal is deployed at the service provider's or enterprise's data center, leveraging the service provider's investment in hosting and storage infrastructure. The CloudPlug and the larger C200 appliances provide a hybrid approach to storage and backup, allowing offices to store files locally on appliance and have them replicated and stored or backed-up in the cloud. This approach provides backup and restore quickly while protecting against local disasters

With the new firmware upgrade, the CloudPlug and the C200 gain a number of essential features. With secure remote access, users can view files over the Web and manage the appliance remotely from any PC or mobile device. No client software is needed. Local Snapshots provides immediate access to previous file versions stored on the appliance as well as the snapshots available in the cloud backup. Laptop Backup installs optional managed agents on the laptop enabling backup of devices outside the office network, such as when backing-up roaming users and teleworkers. A number of other features added include active Directory support, NFS, iSCSI support, Apple Filing Protocol, Apple Time Machine support and enhanced Windows shell integration.