Cloudian upgrades storage software with management, encryption features

The platform can now automatically switch between different replication methods

Cloudian has upgraded its storage platform with improved reliability and security, as well as better integration with Amazon's Simple Storage Service.

Cloudian's aim is to help organizations manage growing volumes of primarily unstructured data, while keeping costs in check, according to Jay Desai, vice president of product management at Cloudian. Its platform is used to power the storage part of private, public and hybrid clouds. It runs on commodity hardware, and the largest installation stores about a petabyte of data, Desai said.

Most Cloudian installations are spread out across multiple data centers to improve reliability. A key part of that is how the platform acts in an outage, related to hardware, network or site failures. Starting with Cloudian version 2.4, users can define multiple read-and-write consistency levels using a multitude of different replication methods.

"You can decide that the first priority is synchronous replication, the number two priority is a local quorum and the third priority is asynchronous replication," Desai said.

In that configuration, Cloudian operates using synchronous replication to the extent it can. However, if the network connection or the entire remote data center fails, the system falls back on local replication or asynchronous replication without the IT department having to get involved, which it previously had to. As soon as the failure has been sorted out, Cloudian switches back to the original setup, according to Desai.

Another key feature is the integration with Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3). The platform was developed from the beginning with native support for the storage service in mind.

In version 2.4, Cloudian has added a number of new API calls to ensure that applications based on S3 are compatible with its platform. The added APIs are related to content lifecycle management, for example. That, along with other features Cloudian has added, allow objects to get an expiry date.

"There are customers doing big data analytics with unstructured data and after a certain time the value of the data expires and it needs to be deleted," Desai said.

Cloudian also expands on what developers can do with its APIs, which now allow metadata to be searched on all objects at the same time, according to Desai.

For organizations that want to secure the content stored in either a public or private cloud, the new version offers encryption support for data stored on the platform. Previously, data was only encrypted in transit, according to Desai. The encryption process is completely transparent to the end users or application, and administrators can define encryption policies to decide what gets encrypted.

For enterprises that want to test the platform, Cloudian offers the Community Edition, which is free and supports up to 100TB of storage with forum support. Cloudian is available with Silver and Gold support packages, which cost from US$6,000 and $80,000. The two packages are for installations that start at 10TB and 100TB of usable storage, respectively, according to the company's website.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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