October 28, 2014 | Written by: Indrajit Bhattacharya
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In an ever-changing cloud world, innovations happen quickly and new offerings and capabilities are available at a rapid pace. Storage on the cloud is one key topic that has resonated with several clients I’ve recently helped. Cloud storage has even been the subject of a few headlines in the news recently with celebrity hacks.
In this post we will look at the storage options available on IBM SoftLayer and the things that you need to consider when choosing a storage option.
Here are some key considerations when choosing the right cloud storage for your needs:
• Data volume: The volume of data helps to determine the right storage option in conjunction with other parameters like performance, cost and security.
• Performance: The performance characteristics of each storage type in SoftLayer are different, and it is important to understand the specific requirements of your workload to choose the right option.
• Security: Data security is of primary importance, especially when considering storage in the cloud. This impacts where the data is stored in the cloud (whether shared storage or dedicated storage in the cloud), and how the data will be stored (either encrypted or raw).
• Storage type: You’ll need to determine whether you require block storage or file storage. And now, with object storage on the cloud, object-based storage is also an option.
• Backups and archive: With cheaper storage available on the cloud, more and more enterprises are seeking options to move backup and archives to the cloud. Of course, this has to meet the standards that govern the data security policies within the enterprise.
Apart from these, there are other factors that help to shape storage choices on a case-by-case basis. Now that we know the considerations for cloud storage, let us look at the storage options available on SoftLayer.
Storage area network
SoftLayer provides Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) storage area network (SAN) as a block-level device that can be used as needed. The iSCSI storage resides within the SoftLayer private network, and fees are charged purely on the basis of the allocated storage size. There are no charges for the network or input/output per second (IOPS) on SoftLayer. The iSCSI storage can be replicated on other SoftLayer sites and can be used for disaster recovery or keeping a copy of the data at a second location. The iSCSI volumes can have point-in-time snapshots that can be scheduled and stored locally or at a different SoftLayer site and can be used as a backup for data recovery.
Network-attached storage (NAS) provides a file-level storage option that can be used for storing and sharing data between systems. It is easy to use and can be operated from within the operating systems running on SoftLayer. NAS storage is also accessible through the SoftLayer private network.
SoftLayer object storage provides a cost effective platform for unstructured data such as media files, data backups, email archives and images. It is built on the OpenStack Swift platform and can be accessed through the Openstack Swift application programming interfaces (APIs). It provides tagging, search and indexing capabilities for faster retrieval of data. Together with the content delivery network (CDN) and media transcoding services on SoftLayer, it provides an extremely robust platform to deliver media content to users.
Dedicated storage servers
Through SoftLayer bare metal servers that can scale up to 36 internal drives, one can effectively have direct attached storage that can be used in various ways. SoftLayer also provides a turnkey storage server through the deployment of QuantaStor on these servers.
The QuantaStor solution is fully customizable to satisfy a wide array of storage requirements. It provides storage capabilities like solid-state drive (SSD) caching, replication, iSCSI, Common Internet File System (CIFS) and network file system (NFS) support, thin provisioning and data compression. In addition, QuantaStor can serve as a front end to the object storage. Further, clients can use QuantaStor to route backup data from an Idera backup server to the object storage for a cheap and efficient backup solution.
The dedicated storage servers can be utilized as disk-based backup servers through the use of software like Idera, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager or Symantec NetBackup.
There is a wealth of information on SoftLayer storage available here.
I‘d like to hear about your use cases for cloud storage. Please leave a comment below to get the conversation started.