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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cloud Gateway – Extend your On-Premise Storage with the Cloud

What is the easiest way to access Amazon S3, Windows Azure Storage, EMC Atmos, Google Storage, or just the cloud storage as the inclusive term?

As a home user, perhaps the easiest is a desktop client tool. Install the desktop client tool, putting in Amazon S3 access key and secret key, you can access Amazon S3 from Windows Explorer directly. For example, Gladinet Cloud Desktop is one such desktop application, connecting directly to the cloud storage.

However, for an SMB with a small IT staff, the desktop client may not be the easiest, since it still require some installation and configuration work. The easiest could be a cloud storage solution that allows the end user access the cloud transparently, meaning they don’t even need to know that they are using cloud storage.

This is when a Cloud Gateway comes in.

A cloud storage gateway is a network appliance or server which resides at the customer premises and translates cloud storage APIs such as SOAP or REST to block-based storage protocols such as iSCSI or Fibre Channel or file-based interfaces such as NFS or CIFS.

Quote – Wikipedia

Take Gladinet CloudAFS as an example. It was first introduced around Oct 28, 2009 as the Gladinet Cloud Gateway. After 6 months of beta run. it was released as Gladinet CloudAFS™ (Cloud Attached File Server).  The name change reflects its positioning as a server product as compared to the Cloud Desktop (client product). The name change also reflects functionality change from a simple gateway to a more advanced tier1/tier2 storage manager.


The CloudAFS can be installed on either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows System.

It can be installed on physical server or virtual servers (such as those in ESX/XenServer).

To allow transparent user experience, you can use the Active Directory to redirect user’s home directory to the CloudAFS net shares.

This way, the local users enjoy local LAN speed to the CloudAFS instance. The CloudAFS then synchronized with the cloud storage if you have new contents coming in from the LAN. This way, you extend your local storage with the cloud storage, through a Cloud Gateway.

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