The Nasuni Cloud Storage Blog

Caching the Cloud

We all know clouds offer affordable data storage, but this typically comes at the expense of performance.  If your users cannot access their data quickly, those cost savings might not seem all that worthwhile.  With the Nasuni Filer, however, you no longer have to trade price for speed.  The Filer’s substantial local cache, managed by intelligent algorithms, ensures that files are there when your users need them. 

Cache Benefits

Yes, there are other methods of delivering requested data.  Some companies have opted for WAN acceleration—this technology moves a company’s files and applications to the cloud, then attempts to speed up the transfer over the wire.  This works well enough over short spans, but not over longer distances.  It is a local solution, not a national or global one.  There is not enough bandwidth to really make it work and the protocols being accelerated are not efficient – CIFS was not meant to be stretched over long distances. Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm wrote a well thought out piece on this issue back when cloud storage was still emerging. To us, this approach to performance is the cloud storage equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.  

The situation could change if the Internet were to burst open with added bandwidth, reliability, and availability, but for the foreseeable future, the best way to truly take advantage of the cloud is through local caching. 

Our Technology White Paper explains how the Filer’s cache operates, but the benefits are clear.  The vast majority of data will be available locally when you need it.  Files that are not present in the cache will stream back quickly, so users will perceive little or no delay.  You get the convenience and affordability of cloud storage, but without hindering performance.  Savings and speed, not one or the other.

Rob Mason

Rob Mason has more than 20 years of operational, management and software development experience, all of it in storage. A meticulous builder and obsessive tester, with an eye for talented engineers, Rob produces rock-solid software, and, through his own example of hard work and ingenuity, inspires his teams to outdo themselves. His determination for thoroughness extends to financial and operational matters, and at Nasuni, he is a powerhouse behind the scenes, managing the company’s operations, in addition to its engineering team. As the VP of Engineering at Archivas from 2004 to acquisition, Rob oversaw all development and quality assurance. After the Hitachi acquisition, he continued in his role, as VP of HCAP Engineering, managing the integration of his team with Hitachi’s and supporting the rollout of HCAP. Before joining Archivas, he was a senior manager at storage giant EMC, where he was responsible for the API, support applications and partner development for EMC’s content-addressed storage product, Centera. In a previous stint at EMC, he was Manager and Principal Design Engineer for the elite Symmetrix Group, where he improved the speed and reliability of EMC’s flagship enterprise storage disk array. Between Centera and Symmetrix, Rob was the co-founder and VP of engineering at I/O Integrity, a storage-based startup developing a high-performance caching appliance. He has a bachelor of science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s in business administration with honors from Rutgers University. Rob holds upwards of 30 patents.

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