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TwinStrata delivers data to the cloud

Tom Henderson | July 24, 2013
CloudArray acts as a secure connection broker between enterprise nets and cloud storage providers.

We could configure the appliance in one of two ways: a local backup device, or a cache to the cloud storage provider's resources. As the iSCSI/CIFS targets represent destinations for data, they can be used by backup applications like Veeam, but we didn't test this. Instead, we instantiated an iSCSI target with VMware, dedicating the VMware host machine to the iSCSI path, then linked the VMware server along with its CloudArray appliance.

In turn, we connected to both Amazon S3 and HP CloudServices, then used several sample data sets to gauge speed of the circuit between source and destination -- then back again. Once we setup the appliance using the SSL logon keys and cloud service provider specifics (our accounts), we pumped the data sets.

The results, in our case, were circuit speed-bound, at about 12MBps up to the provider, and about 18MBps down. CloudArray has several compression algorithms that can be used, as data is both compressed and encrypted on the way out the door of the CloudArray appliance. In our tests, a sample said we achieved only about 20% compression, but the data set had binary contents. Throttling the connection worked, but the sampling rate provided by the CloudArray appliance was but once every 15 minutes (not changeable), and we wondered why it was included at all.

Not cloudy all day
Procedurally, one installs the CloudArray VM or appliance, and has a ready and compatible cloud services vendor along with that vendor's SSL keys and/or other additional security components. CloudArray is then populated with the path and keys to the desired cloud storage site, and the circuit then opens that can move data from local resources across to the cloud -- one or many clouds.

TwinStrata has partnership relations with more than two dozen cloud storage providers and understands most by a simple drop-box selection choice. The depth of relationship between the CloudArray appliance and the vendors we chose was good in terms of security (SSL) and ease of connectivity.

Possible cloud storage candidates range from Amazon, Google and Rackspace to Peer1 and Windstream, including many providers with international IP presence. We chose Amazon AWS and HP CloudServices. Measuring speed to providers proved more difficult.

Part of the problem is that some of the data is cached in the appliance, which makes for quick restorations if the data is located in cache, but the answer to the question of where exactly is my data is more nebulous. As a logical data pipe, locally sourced restoration from local cache could be as fast as if from a local network share. If the data comes from the cloud during restoration, the circuit is different and the latency is captive to the responsiveness of the circuit and the host cloud storage provider's speed of delivery to that circuit. As all data is dragged through the CloudArray machine, it needs to be well-placed in terms of network connectivity.


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