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Amazon has announced their AWS Storage Gateway hardware appliance, which provides hybrid storage between on-premises applications and AWS’ storage services. By providing a hardware appliance, Amazon gives a preconfigured solution to cache data locally while synchronizing with the cloud.
The AWS Storage Gateway hardware appliance runs AWS Storage Gateway, a hybrid storage service which allows using services like Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier and Amazon EBS as local data storage in various forms.
- File Gateway, allowing to use Amazon S3 as an object-based data store for application data files and images using NFS and SMB file protocols.
- Volume Gateway, which provides applications with iSCSI block protocol storage volumes, which can be backed-up as snapshots.
- Tape Gateway, presenting itself as an iSCSI virtual tape library, usable by most backup applications.
AWS currently markets the Storage Gateway as being good for everything from routine backups to disaster recovery and cloud-based data crunching.
AWS Storage Gateway is already available as a virtual software appliance running on VMware ESXi, Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Hyper-V, and competing with services like Avere Cloud NAS and Azure StorSimple. Additionally, thanks to this announcement, AWS Storage Gateway is now also available to for ordering pre-installed on a specially configured rack server.
By delivering this new hardware appliance, Jeff Barr, Chief Evangelist for AWS, thinks Amazon can now bring the capabilities of AWS Storage Gateway to locations where traditional solutions like running virtual machines might not be an option.
This means that you can now make use of Storage Gateway in situations where you do not have a virtualized environment, server-class hardware or IT staff with the specialized skills that are needed to manage them.
Amazon based the hardware appliance on a Dell EMC PowerEdge R640 rack server, which has two Intel Xeon CPUs, 128 GB of memory, 6 TB of SSD storage and redundant power supplies. Furthermore, in the announcement Barr continues to show how to complete the configuration of an appliance. The complete setup consists of hooking up the device, connecting it to the network, and using a wizard to configure the desired gateway type.
The hardware appliance can be set up in only a few minutes; a major convenience that might make Storage Gateway easier to use for teams that have a hard time finding the resources to set it up previously.
Once the appliance is up and running, it will start copying any data between the targeted service, keeping the on-premises data synced with its cloud counterpart, using SSL encrypted transferal. Subsequently, recently written or read data is stored in a read-through and write-back cache. In other words, the AWS Storage Gateway writes the information to the local appliance cache, saving it for reading operations as well, while syncing the data back to the cloud at specified intervals. Using these techniques allows applications to access the data on the appliance with low latency. Finally, AWS Storage Gateway integrates with other services from Amazon, like AWS Console, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Identity, providing a familiar experience for anyone working in their ecosystem.