Resilient and Scalable File Services for VMware vSAN

By Sanjeev Desai • August 22, 2019

Today, many customers wind up having to make tough choices when it comes to file services — and none of the alternatives are that great. Of course, organizations prefer to utilize a file-services architecture that is highly scalable and highly resilient. But, that’s not always easy to find.

With traditional virtual NAS appliances for VMware vSAN, scalability often means deciding between over-spending on capacity to handle peak usage, or purchasing just based on average need, risking poor application performance or user experience when traffic spikes. That’s no good.

And, let’s look at resiliency. Resilience is the ability of an architecture to continue providing the same quality of service even if some of its resources become inaccessible. Resilience is more than just redundancy. To mitigate the impact of disaster events, native data protection, and system availability in alternate locations – such as remote sites and clouds – are also important. But, here’s the catch. Traditional virtual NAS appliances were not designed for today’s data needs in hybrid/multi-cloud environments. Again, not an ideal situation.

How can organizations have both resilient and scalable file services for VMware vSAN? We’ve innovated something completely new — one software-defined, web-scale platform, spanning on-premises, cloud, and the edge. With Cohesity DataPlatform Virtual Edition on VMware vSAN, we are empowering organizations to run apps on that platform, making it easier than ever to back up, share, and extract insights from data.

Cohesity DataPlatform Virtual Edition on VMware vSAN offers an alternative to legacy products that goes beyond traditional virtual NAS appliances. Starting with as few as three nodes and scaling limitlessly, this web-scale NAS solution eliminates the constraints of traditional virtual NAS appliances. Cohesity DataPlatform Virtual Edition on VMware vSAN is built upon Google-like web-scale principles, and all file and object services workloads are consolidated via multi-protocol engine (NFS, SMB/CIFS, and S3) with unified permissions on a single platform.

Like the web, file and object services scale in multiple dimensions for boundless capacity, performance, resiliency, cross-silo data deduplication, and cloud-like management. As a software-defined platform that can be deployed on any VMware vSAN ReadyNode, Cohesity DataPlatform Virtual Edition on VMware vSAN natively integrates with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware Cloud on AWS to leverage the economics and elasticity of the public Cloud.

replication-edge-to-cloud

Key Differentiators of Cohesity Web-Scale NAS

  • The only fully cloud-integrated data management platform with native data protection and multi-protocol file and object services, eliminating multiple point solutions and data silos.
  • Web-scale, fully-distributed, shared-nothing architecture with unlimited and rapid “no-penalty” snapshots and clones to meet your specific recovery-point objectives.
  • Integrated catalog, index, and scale to consolidate multiple data silos and NAS islands.
  • Variable-length, sliding-window dedupe across multiple workload volumes, nodes, and disk generations for unmatched storage efficiency – especially at scale.
  • Efficient data replication to remote sites with seamless failover and failback.
  • Management of files, objects, data protection, and security with intuitive user interface.
  • Seamless, no-forklift upgrades and non-disruptive expansion and reduction of capacity and performance.
  • A simple “Google-like” global search across nodes, clusters, geographic locations, and multiple clouds.
  • Cohesity MarketPlace apps make web-scale NAS smart. Natively run anti-virus, file audit, search, and more. The cost and management of external anti-virus infrastructure is eliminated. Data visibility, compliance, and file management becomes easy without copying the data onto parallel infrastructure for analysis.
  • API-first design for native automation support including Cohesity Runbook and a plug-in for VMware vRealize Orchestrator for complete set of workflows and actions for VMware users. For non-VMware users, a comprehensive set of Ansible playbooks can be used to automate operations and improve agility.
  • Proprietary hardware is never required.
  • Cohesity ensures that both data and the metadata is strictly consistent, so the most current data is always presented for read access.
  • Quotas, snapshots, erasure coding, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) plug-in, and more.

Key Use Cases

Cohesity DataPlatform Virtual Edition on VMware vSAN offers a variety of use cases including the following:

  • Corporate File Sharing and Home Directories

    Cohesity file sharing supports secure and cost-effective access to corporate and department files for Windows, Linux, and Unix environments via a multi-protocol engine (NFS, SMB and S3) with unified permissions. Cohesity DataPlatform scales seamlessly and limitlessly without the fear of hitting a capacity or performance “brick-wall” – or having to do forklift upgrades. Cohesity Web-Scale NAS also dedupes across workload volumes and allows for a single file search across multiple sites and clouds.

    Cohesity delivers the scale to consolidate multiple NAS silos and point solutions. Sliding-window, variable-length dedupe across multiple workload volumes is cost-effective along with compression, small file optimization, and fast, efficient, no-cost clones for maximum data reduction. Exceptional security and privacy includes secure long-term retention and compliance with SEC17a-4, software encryption, cluster and file-access auditing for HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), multi-factor authentication, integrated anti-virus protection, and ransomware protection. Taken together, this is the rigid class of security required by the financial services industry – yet available for all file sharing, home directory, and other use cases for all industries.

  • Archiving and Tiering

    Many organizations require fast local performance for files that are more frequently accessed. With Cohesity web-scale NAS, file data that is infrequently accessed can still be retrieved with good performance while costing far less. Tiered data can reside on a cost-effective local storage tier, or in the cloud. Support for symlinks (stubs) on non-Cohesity file servers allows Cohesity to exist as a tier that is transparent to local applications. Cohesity DataPlatform’s easy integration of archiving and tiering with the cloud provides an easy path to hybrid IT.

  • Video and Image File Storage

    Video and large image files consume large amounts of storage capacity – by definition. Cohesity web-scale NAS offers scalable, cost-effective and secure storage for video archives, surveillance data, and large image files. It allows for a single file search across multiple views or volumes, and even across multiple sites and clouds through Cohesity Helios. Cohesity file services are compatible with digital imaging and communications (DICOM) images used in medical systems such as picture archiving and communication system (PACS) and vendor neutral archive (VNA) system, allowing secure storage of images on-premises or in the cloud.

  • Storage for Splunk and Hadoop Cloud Data

    Cohesity file services simplify the management of massive amounts of data for Splunk and Hadoop while helping enterprises achieve data-retention goals. Both Splunk and Hadoop create data that must be managed from the time the data is created (“hot”) until the time it becomes “cold” or “frozen”. Cohesity enables solutions that make hot, warm, and cold data accessible, usable, and valuable to businesses at scale.

  • Storage for Cloud-native Applications

    Cloud-native applications are developed with services packaged in containers, architected as microservices, deployed on elastic cloud infrastructure and continuously delivered through agile DevOps processes. This rapid development model brings new challenges to the IT infrastructure that supports it. One of the challenges is a resilient and scalable storage solution for storing persistent data when containers are destroyed and started and for sharing data between services. An NFS volume is very commonly used storage for these purposes. VMware vSAN and Cohesity’s joint solution provides the scalability and resilience for file and object services for cloud-native applications that’s unmatched by the traditional NFS storage.

In summary, rich multi-protocol support along with native data protection, hybrid/multi-cloud integration, Cohesity MarketPlace apps, and tighter integration with VMware vSAN make Cohesity web-scale NAS the preferred choice for file and object workloads for VMware users. So, say goodbye to the cost and complexity of traditional virtual NAS appliances and take the easiest path to VMware-validated, Cohesity-powered resilient and scalable file services for vSAN. Don’t wait, make your mark!

Other Useful Resources:

  • White Paper: Resilient and Scalable File Service on VMware vSAN™ with Cohesity
  • White Paper: Simplifying Data Protection for VMware vSAN with Cohesity DataPlatform
  • Blog: Cohesity’s New VMware Ready for vSAN Certifications Make Data Protection and File Services Shopping Easier for Enterprises and Service Providers
  • Web Page: Cohesity Scale-Out File Services
  • Web Page: Cohesity Object Storage for Large and Unstructured Data Sets

Solution Brief: Maximize Your VMware Investment with a Proven Data Management Platform