Cloud Storage Controllers Answer to Security Concerns?

News Article - Thursday, 09 January 2014 12:28

By: Kerry Butters Category: Hosting

Despite the growing adoption of many cloud services, especially IaaS in the past 12 months, many companies remain sceptical about storage services, according to Ranajit Nevatia, vice president of marketing at Panzura.

This is due to concerns surrounding "performance, availability and security”, despite many companies reporting that cloud services are often more secure than on site storage solutions. Add to this that cloud storage offers a cheaper and viable alternative to typical WAN storage, spread across various sites, and cloud appears to be the perfect answer.

Multi-site businesses access data via a WAN and often, this means that there are file synchronisation issues. However, still many organisations are reluctant to move to cloud storage due to the initial setup as well as the worries expressed above.

According to Nevatia, this can all be overcome by implementing cloud storage controllers which "automatically translates files to objects”. The controllers are installed at the business premises, including head office and any satellite offices and this implements a global file system which uses the internet to give a unified overview of the files to all clients. A cloud storage controller also "provides unbreakable security,” Nevatia says.

"The key feature of a cloud controller is its file system. A main principle behind the cloud controller's file system is the physical and logical separation between payload data and metadata. In a traditional file system, a snapshot contains both payload data and metadata, and it's managed as a single, large chunk of information.”

"With a cloud controller file system, metadata can be easily extracted from a snapshot and transported separately from the payload data while maintaining file system consistency. When clients interact with a file system, the bulk of their actions are actually metadata operations that do not require access to the payload data.”

Metadata operations include searches through file systems based on various attributes and the idea of the cloud controller is to ensure that it preserves response times as frequent snapshots of the data are taken. Each controller receives data from others and applies it to its own metadata; this means that the client experience is unaffected by making the move to cloud storage. In effect, the user will see no difference than if they were browsing data at a local level as controllers are constantly updated to ensure that data appears the same, no matter which controller presents the information.

Another important component is lock management which is vital in the global file system when multiple clients share access. Lock management means that duplication can be avoided by locking a file when it’s opened for editing, meaning it’s only accessible to the person working on it.

Whilst cloud in all of its forms is still going strong and increasing both in the enterprise and amongst consumers, many organisations still haven’t deployed due to concerns surrounding these issues. Deployment for SMEs isn’t as difficult as it is for large organisations, but it does still present its challenges.

However, security and the cloud is something that many are beginning to become less concerned about as evidence has shown that cloud services tend to be a lot more secure than on-site. This does depend on the vendor chosen of course and it pays to ensure that these are researched thoroughly when it comes to considering deployment.

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