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NAS Gateways also sometimes referred to as "NAS Appliances," "Edge Filers" and/or "Caching Gateways" but provide the same basic functionality, which is to allow clients to consume NAS services such as traditional NFS and SMB locally at a site to improve access time and user experience, while maintaining the actual content globally within a highly resilient, cost optimized, public or private storage cloud. 

This provides several advantages over the more traditional approach of putting a NAS filer from Dell or NetApp at each edge site to provide those same NAS services. We'll get into those advantages as we drill specifically into the Nasuni product.

What is Nasuni? 

Nasuni is a file services platform provider founded in 2008 and based out of Boston Massachusetts. Paul Flanagan is their CEO and Andres Rodriguez is their founder and CTO.

Nasuni allows users to leverage the scale, resiliency and durability of an object-storage cloud (public or private) object storage while providing the more traditional access methods of local SMB and NFS (NAS protocols) shares. In this way, they can be thought of as a "translation engine," converting front-end NAS protocols to back-end S3 protocol — but the functionality goes well beyond that.

Besides being able to store data centrally in the storage cloud, Nasuni also enables a global file system where all the content is read/write accessible locally across all sites no matter the number or size of the files. Files that are accessed locally are then available in the virtual appliances local cache until they either age out or are displaced by newer content. There is also the ability to "pin" data so that it is always available on the edge.

One of the big advantages to the NAS gateway approach adopted by Nasuni is the inherit protection that comes with native versioning. What this means is that each time a file is changed the original file remains as a previous version which provides an additional layer of protection against ransomware attacks and negates the need for traditional backups. Since the "golden" copies of the data are centrally located and managed in a highly resilient and durable cloud, it also negates the need for the traditional disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) strategies, which eliminates the need to create, maintain and house additional data copies. This can reduce the over-all data and infrastructure cost footprint up to 50 percent. (See Figure 1 below.)

graphic shows Nasuni dramatically cuts costs
Figure 1: Nasuni eliminates the need for traditional back-up and disaster recovery investments

What makes Nasuni different from other NAS Gateway solutions? 

  • UniFS creates a file system on the back-end cloud storage, instead of the front-end appliances.
  • Provides Global File Locking.
  • Provides a Hub and Spoke Architecture.
  • Can export files to native S3.

Which customers have the most interest in Edge Gateways?

While we see a wide range of interest across all customer business segments, we see the most interest with customers involved in: engineering, manufacturing, financial services and the federal government. To re-iterate, this isn't meant to infer that only these customer types are pursuing Nasuni. Any customer with use cases that include one of the following are prime candidates:

  • Data center consolidation
  • Collaboration
  • Cloud-first initiatives
  • Customers with private storage clouds looking to expand cost optimization
  • Ransomware protection
  • Data center modernization initiatives

What to know more?

Contact us for more information and to schedule a technical workshop to help you determine if an Edge Gateway is a good approach for you. WWT can not only provide you with additional information on specific use cases but also assist in creating everything needed to accommodate a proof of concept (POC) environment, including test plans and a customized lab that matches your use case(s) — even multi-site testing and WAN emulation. Be assured that your implementation will provide a positive customer experience before you make that big purchase.