Blog Post

Amazon fuses your storage system with its cloud

Amazon Web Services (s amzn) is rolling out a new feature called Storage Gateway that lets companies upload data to its cloud-storage services directly from their on-premise storage systems, the company said on Wednesday. AWS’s goals with Storage Gateway appear threefold: cloud backup, cloud bursting and, ultimately, primary cloud storage — all without having to worry about latency concerns.

The way AWS Storage Gateway works is by securely storing data as a snapshot image within S3, then porting that data to the AWS Elastic Block Storage service if desired. Once there, users can process that data using Amazon EC2 cloud computing instances. Storage Gateway keeps data on local gear while asynchronously uploading it to Amazon’s cloud. This lets companies leverage the cloud when they need it, but helps eliminate latency concerns that come with uploading large amounts of data to the cloud for backup, as well as with using local storage and cloud-based resources.

Gateways can be attached to application servers as standard iSCSI devices, and each gateway has a capacity of 12 volumes and 12 TB total. The service costs $125 per month per gateway, and snapshot pricing starts at 14 cents per gigabyte.

However, the coolest part about Storage Gateway might be yet to come. Although the current iteration requires companies to keep complete copies of their data locally, the service will soon enable an on-premise caching scenario in which frequently accessed data will remain on local storage attached to local servers, but the entire data set will reside only on Amazon’s cloud. Several vendors, including StorSimple, TwinStrata and Riverbed Technology Systems(s rvbd) — although no longer the hyped-up Cirtas Systems — are currently pushing this approach using physical appliances, but AWS’s could be more palatable to some because it doesn’t require bringing in a new hardware or software vendor.

Regardless how companies decide to use AWS Storage Gateway, though, the bottom line is that the new service is just more evidence of AWS’s cloud market domination and its refusal to cede any user base to any other cloud provider. Last week, Amazon rolled out a NoSQL database service targeting web developers. Today, it’s a Storage Gateway presumably targeting larger businesses. It has the resources and the skills to keep building new service after new service, and that’s exactly what it looks like AWS will continue to do.

7 Responses to “Amazon fuses your storage system with its cloud”

  1. Artem Livshits

    I think by far, the cloud storage has been the most useful and the most used cloud service and Amazon just made yet another step to make it easier to use. The pricing and the form factor seems to be targeting enterprises, though. For smaller businesses and individual use, things like Bitcasa and OblakSoft ClouSE seem to be more affordable.

  2. AWS seems to be in the target for SMB’s who are looking for help with their data. Big data could benefit greatly from this when the on-premise caching is enabled which allows the frequently accessed data to be available at more of a convenience. It will be interesting too see how organizations decide to use this.

    Mosaic Technology

  3. Ursheet Parikh

    It is very interesting to see what Amazon did for their first product that runs on-premise in the enterprise. It highlights that the key battle and the first step in enterprise cloud computing is about access to the enterprise data. The mass of computing is in the data.. If you have the data, then it pulls the applications and compute to the cloud.

    From an enterprise customers perspective, there is a business decision to be made on whether they want to use a cloud on-ramp that locks them into a specific cloud or have a solution that can work across the range of enterprise focused cloud services – Amazon, Azure, AT&T and other Atmos based clouds, Rackspace, Google, HP and other Openstack based clouds, IBM/Nirvanix etc.

    Directionally, we see this as the first salvo from Amazon in terms of getting serious about enterprise storage. The best indicator of that is the architectural approach that Amazon has taken with their Storage Gateway. The suggested deployment for Amazon Storage Gateway is that it be deployed as a gateway to both – the customer’s existing SAN storage and the Amazon cloud.

    • Philip Arnason

      I’m surprised Nasuni didn’t make the list of competitors. They have the most enterprise worthy appliance that does the same. I’m surprised at the limits v1 of this product imposes. They have a 1TB limit of each volume. Even my smallest unstructured datasets are bigger than 1TB, but perhaps they are going after structured data.

  4. Dave Hewit

    Anyone know who supplies the hardware for AWS? Do they make their servers/storage/networking gear in house or buy from mainstream vendors? Just wondering how this will effect the storage businesses of NTAP, EMC and IBM.