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GCN : March and April 2016
Service (S3) cloud, decide how big it needs to be and deploy file services into it. “The target was for them to be able to add researchers, to add projects and to spin [the services] up overnight or in- stantly,” said Ron Bianchini Jr., president and CEO of Avere, a provider of enterprise storage for hybrid clouds. And when the project had run its course, Ames wanted to be able to “take it back off-line without having to deploy physical box- es,” he added. On the performance side, Ames began using three Avere FXT 3200 Edge Filers — low- capacity front-end network- attached storage hardware — several months ago. The devices keep the file services on-premises while putting the sharing capacity in the cloud. They support the two main types of file servers: Network File System for Unix devices and Common Internet File System for Windows. The on- premises aspect is what re- moves the latency problem, Bianchini said. “File services in the cloud would be incredibly slow,” he said. “Imagine the hourglass with grains of sand dropping down on your screen while you’re trying to access data. By putting our Edge Filer on premise, we keep all the things you use most often local.” The file services function as though all the disks were on site, he added. In addition to spinning up new projects in the cloud, Ames wanted to move existing projects to Amazon S3. To do that, it added Avere FlashMove to the mix. FlashMove allows Avere to move data to the cloud while applications are still running. “Users don’t even know that the migration is happen- ing,” Bianchini said. “And when we’re done, we tell you that the data is now in the cloud. You can now power off your old-school file server.” So far Ames has moved tens of tera- bytes to the cloud with the goal of migrating half a petabyte of data, he added. The migration time depends on how much data is being moved and how big the pipe to the cloud is, said Rebecca Thompson, vice presi- dent of marketing at Avere. “It’s almost akin to when you’re trying to download a file over the Internet: Do you have [Verizon] Fios service or do you have a simple cable mo- dem?” she said. One of NASA’s other con- cerns was security. “The No. 1 roadblock for people getting out to the cloud is data secu- rity,” Bianchini said. With the Avere solution, data is encrypt- ed before it’s moved, and the keys for unencrypting the data never leave Ames’ premises. So even if hackers got access to the bucket in the cloud, all they would see is a random set of bits, he added. It’s not until authorized users bring those bits down to the Edge Filer and use the local keys that they can see the data. In addition to better security, Ames officials can manage ca- pacity more easily now. Instead of having to administer many separate storage filers and fig- ure out where the capacity is and which projects should use which filers, everything is in one central repository in the cloud. For Ames users, it’s business as usual despite the changes. All their applications look and work the way they did before Avere came in. Using Edge Filer “makes those things performance-neutral,” Bianchi- ni said. “You won’t be able to tell the difference if you have all your data on premises...or you have all the data in the cloud.” • CLOUD 46 GCN MARCH/APRIL 2016 • GCN.COM Overview of an upgrade The technology (and numbers) that led to an improved Ames Research Center: 3 Avere FXT 3200 Edge Filers The low-capacity network-attached storage hardware keeps file services at Ames while allowing for sharing in the cloud. Amazon S3 and FlashMove Avere’s FlashMove allows the company to move data to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service cloud while applications are still running. Tens of terabytes (~10 x 1012) is the current amount of data that Ames has moved to the cloud. It would take about 1,400 CDs to store 1 terabyte of data. Half a petabyte (1015 /2) (or 500 terabytes) is the amount of data Ames wants to move to the cloud. 0416gcn_045-046.indd 46 3/3/16 9:56 AM
January and February 2016