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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Cloud Storage Gateway is not Enough

If Cloud Storage is new to you, Cloud Storage Gateway is newer.

Cloud storage could be a natural fit for disaster recovery and offsite backup. Cloud Storage Gateway or just Cloud Gateway can be the simple solution you are looking for to leverage different cloud storage services.

As defined in wiki:

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. – wikipedia.org

Old Tricks in a New Hat

Since the primary job of a cloud gateway is translation of the newer REST protocol to the older file system protocol, it gives you a quick path to cloud storage without rewriting your on-premise applications. For example, you can use Gladinet CloudAFS (AKA Gladinet Cloud Gateway) to quickly enable your existing file server with tier2 storage from many major cloud storage service providers.

However, if cloud storage is just some storage with old file system interface, it wouldn’t be too exciting, would it?

What are the New Tricks?

One of the most important feature of cloud storage is the support of REST protocol over HTTP. If saying it in plain English, cloud storage is object-oriented storage with a URL attached to each object. With proper permission, you can even view an object by typing in the URL in the Internet Explorer.

The URL is an amazing new feature that an old file system doesn’t have. It means you can share the URL with proper permission if you want to share objects inside cloud storage. It means your cloud storage can be integrated with CDN (Content Delivery Network). It means the cloud storage can be the basis of your online collaboration solution, in addition to the disaster recovery solution.

The URL is not something the iSCSI or Fibre Channel has. Neither is it in NFS or CIFS.

Gateway now, Access Solution in the Future

As the CIO of the company, on one hand you start thinking about how to leveraging cloud storage for seamless integration (this earlier article discussed several factors for picking a cloud storage gateway). On the other hand, you will start to think about how to fully leverage the benefits of cloud storage down the road.

If cloud gateway is the keyword you are searching for now, cloud storage access solution may be the keyword in the future. The access solution will include access from the desktop, access from the server, access from the web browser. The access solution will also include access from individual person and also sharing by a group of users.

Cloud Storage Access Solutions

Gladinet’s solution has evolved from desktop client to cloud gateway and cloud backup. With the recent introduction of cloud space, it is becoming a full suite of cloud storage access solution.

Gladinet is focused on preserving the real meaning of cloud storage. For example, files are preserved as objects in the cloud storage, allowing easy integration with CDN and content sharing, while the product themselves allowing you to build disaster recovery and offsite backup solutions.

Conclusion

The Cloud Gateway is a great help driving the adoption of cloud storage.  However, it is only one component in the cloud access suite to fully realize the cloud storage potential.

Related Post:

How to Pick a Cloud Storage Gateway

How to Pick a Cloud Storage Service 

A List of Cloud Storage Providers and Their Niches

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