Cloudian sacrifices some snapshots for software update – Blocks and Files

Object storage vendor Cloudian has released an update for its HyperStore object storage software, version 7.5.1. The new release focuses on improving security, protection, and search capabilities while temporarily deleting snapshots.

Cloudian introduced the HyperFile functionality in 2017 after acquiring Infinity Storage, an Italian company, to expand file access and cloud storage capabilities in HyperStore. Caterina Falchi, the CEO and founder of Infinity Storage, joined Cloudian as VP of File Technologies.

While there was no formal release announcement, Cloudian’s CMO, Jon Toor, shared details in a blog post. He highlighted that HyperStore 7.5.1 introduces HyperStore File Services – a streamlined approach to data management. This update seamlessly integrates file caching functionality into the Cloudian HyperStore object storage system, allowing users to quickly access files from both all-flash and HDD-based servers, creating a scalable central repository.

Cloudian hyperstore
Cloudian diagram from HyperStor v7.5.1 FIleServices

In 2018, HyperFile supported SMB (CIFS)/NFS, snapshot, WORM, non-disruptive failover, scale-out, POSIX compliance, and Active Directory integration. The File Services software has been rewritten to be containerized and more closely integrated with HyperStore, but in the process, some functionality has been temporarily lost as new features are added.

Version 7.5.1 introduces VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Services) snapshot support for file versioning, but other snapshots are no longer available in this release. Snapshot functionality is planned for future updates, along with geographic distribution support, which allows multiple sites to share a common file and object namespace with a global file cache.

Regarding the changes, Jon Toor told us that unified management is the most important development. “Object and file are now managed through a single user interface instead of separate user interfaces. As a unified platform, it is now also fully monitored via Hyper IQ, our observation and analysis platform. The underlying architecture is now also completely based on K8s. This foundation allows us to do further hardware integration later on. Currently, object and file use separate hardware nodes, but with common management.”

Cloudian plans to make a public announcement about the release in September, along with the introduction of additional features in version 8.0 of HyperStore. The new software supports converged bimodal data access (file + S3 object) and cloud integration. HyperStore File Services software can run on a 1U HyperStore File Appliance 1100 system or virtual machine and provides caching and storage with hot-swap SAS disks. Licensing is based on the capacity of the file caching node.

A Cloudian FAQ says: “HyperFile is a NAS controller that provides SMB(CIFS) and NFS file services using Cloudian HyperStore object storage as the underlying storage layer. This is analogous to a traditional NAS system where a controller uses SATA disk shelves as a storage layer.”

We think this is a pretty comprehensive analogy, since HyperStore File Services runs as a separate software entity that talks to a HyperStore object cluster with its own controllers (object storage nodes) that talk to storage disks – in other words, two levels of controller software.

The File Services software is available in Basic and Enterprise modes. The basic license includes SMB/NFS support, POSIX compliance, Active Directory/LDAP integration, write file caching using NVMe SSD, read file caching using NVMe SSD or HDD, VSS, and file access from S3 and vice versa. The enterprise license adds active:active high-availability, non-disruptive failover, and scheduled features such as snapshots for individual files or entire file systems, and geographic distribution support.

Encryption, search and replication or clear encryption choice

V7.5.1 of HyperStore adds integration with third-party encryption key managers through Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) support. It has been tested with Thales CipherTrust, Fortanix Data Security Manager and Hashicorp Vault, and the Cryptsoft KMIP client is integrated into HyperStore.

Cloudian has used the open-source OpenSearch tool to provide search and analytics features for HyperStore.

It also added a dynamic storage feature to select an object storage size, placing data up to that size in buckets with replication used to protect their contents. Objects above that size are placed in buckets for protection using clear encryption.

Replication is computationally simple and read latency is lower than for objects with erase code. Because the object size is usually small – kilobytes – the network transmission time is so short that any latency delays can become apparent.

Wipe encryption is computationally more intensive than replication, but requires less bandwidth to distribute the data across multiple devices. Erase coded object read I/O has a longer latency than replication, but the larger objects – terabytes – require a longer transmission time that masks the latency difference of replication.

Replication is good for small objects, with clear encoding better for large objects because it saves space over replication and latency matters less.

You can try Cloudian’s new software with a free trial.

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