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NASuni Turns Object Cloud Into Endless NAS

After almost 30 years in the business, needless to say, I have become a bit jaded.  Pitch me a left-field idea like holographic storage or even Fibre Channel over Ethernet and it will take more than a good PowerPoint presentation to get me to buy in. So I was surprised at my own reaction when the folks from NASuni explained that their virtual appliance would cache public cloud storage and make it usable as an SMB or ROBO NAS.

Over the past few years, cloud storage vendors have been working their wares, and the applications that drive them, up through the storage stack. Vendors like Connected, eVault and Asigra started the process with the Nth tier, providing dedicated off-site backup solutions. More recently, public cloud providers from Amazon S3, Iron Mountian (who snapped up Connected years ago), Nirvanix and Zetta have provided more general-purpose, public, cloud-storage platforms. Still, these have been relegated to secondary storage applications, primarily archiving, as the bandwidth limitations and latency inherent in accessing storage across long distances would slow primary applications to a crawl. NASuni's gotten primary applications and cloud storage getting along better than cats and dogs have ever done.

Of course the key to NASuni's technology is that it can use as much disk space as you assign as a cache to the data stored in the cloud. That, combined with the fact that NASuni rents their software on a subscription basis, means real pay-as-you-go, unlimited storage. For just $250/mo plus the usual 25 cents/GB/mo for cloud storage, organizations can have as much storage as they need whenever they need it.

Add in that, for the SMB market, thisis is a pretty sophisticated NAS, abeit just for CIFS access at the moment. NASuni dedupes data, saving on the cloud costs, and can take snapshots every hour. The kicker, of course, is that it doesn't need to be backed-up, and even if your server is destroyed, you can install the virtual appliance on another and start accessing your files as fast as you internet link can download.  No need to figure out what to restore first.  Access a file and down it comes. The most comparable system I can think of is a Netgear ReadyNAS 1100 with its optional ReadyNAS Vault (provided by Elephant Drive). That combination will cost SMB users $3000 (about $90/mo on a lease) plus 55 cents/mo for the backup, but won't be as clean, and when its full, or the lease is up, will need a forklift upgrade.

The geek in me is impressed how NASuni has managed to map CIFS access onto the object model the public storage providers use. Object stores are cool, but you can't modify objects in place. Some NAS mounted files are modified in place several times a minute. Think of a .PST for a user accessing a POP or IMAP mailbox. Every time he receives, or even reads a message, that file needs to be updated. On a pure object store you'd have to upload the .PST as a new object each time. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I'm downloading NASuni Filer soon to run it through its paces in the lab.