Instant accolades are a rare response to new releases here at NWC, but today's introduction of a virtualized NAS appliance plus cloud storage service earned rare praise from our IT analysts who live and breath this technology every day. They are impressed, and for good reason. Nasuni's new Filer gives small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) inexpensive and limitless cloud storage with the performance of local file storage. The Filer solution is a combination of a virtual NAS file server that runs on VMware and a cloud-storage service. Filer keeps working files in cache and serving them up to the local users. Changes to these files are deduped, compressed, aggregated and sent to the cloud service, updating the cloud storage file set and minimizing storage space.
The Nasuni Filer runs on VMware and can be setup in about 15 minutes, according to the vendor. Filer is used as primary storage instead of, or in combination with, traditional file servers. Full Windows CIFS Shares, ACL and Active Directory support enable the Nasuni Filer to fit into existing environments, where it can be used to consolidate a NAS cluster into a single device or to support an existing application, such as a content manager or an image server. Those not ready for a complete transition to all-in-one cloud storage can use the Nasuni Filer for keeping second copies off-site for disaster protection. "I can see a lot of smaller organizations being well served by Nasuni's solution. They get a file server that backs itself up in real time with infinite capacity. What could be wrong with that?" says Howard Marks, founder and Chief Scientist of DeepStorage.com and a Network Computing Contributor.
Many organizations are skeptical about the Cloud's security. Data breaches or failures in some of the biggest data centers haven't contributed positively to that impression. Nasuni helps address this concern by encrypting data at the customer site using the top-notch security and key management -- OpenPGP with AES-256 -- or any other standard the customer selects. The data remains encrypted in the cloud for total protection. As such, files are never visible to Nasuni or to cloud vendors and the customer retains control of decryption keys, which can be escrowed with Nasuni or a trusted third party. "I agree with Howard," says George Crump, principal at Storage Switzerland, LLC and Network Computing Contributor, "In the SMB market in particular, they are going to be looking for more function than performance and not impressed as much by a big name with a higher cost."
Nasuni will work with a number of cloud services, and Beta program users can choose between Iron Mountain, Amazon S3 storage and soon, Nirvanix. Additional partners will follow over the next 60 days. Files can be sent to one service or multiple services for higher availability at the click of a mouse. Now in beta, the Nasuni Filer can be downloaded here. There is no charge for cloud storage during the beta period. After the beta period, Nasuni will provide single billing for Filer and the services. Pricing will be offered in a variety of fashions including pay-as-you-go, flat monthly fees and annual plans plus capacity usage.