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Storage Management Tools

Gold Award:

Nasuni Corp. Nasuni Filer 2.0

The Nasuni Filer 2.0 cloud gateway posted the highest average scores among the eight storage management tool finalists in innovation, as well as ease of use, integration and manageability.

Nasuni describes its product as a "virtual NAS appliance." The software runs on an on-premise file server and makes use of the Common Internet File System (CIFS) network protocol to interface to cloud storage services.

Users can download the product and use a set-up wizard to guide them through the installation process. The system prompts the user to select a cloud storage provider from among Nasuni's cloud partners, including Amazon.com, Iron Mountain Inc., Nirvanix Inc. and Rackspace Hosting Inc.

After installation, the Nasuni Filer encrypts data and sends it to the chosen cloud. The system caches a copy of the "working," or active, data locally for faster offline access. Synchronous snapshots periodically capture the entire file system, including file and metadata, and deduplicated snapshots are stored in the cloud to keep the cloud's file set up to date.

Users who need to restore files first see the metadata and then retrieve the rest of the data when they open files, as the cache fills with the data streaming back from the cloud.

The debut version of Nasuni Filer, which hit the market in April 2010, ran on VMware Inc. virtualization software. In September, Nasuni Filer 2.0 added support for Microsoft Corp.'s Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 and Azure cloud offering, as well as Citrix Systems Inc.'s XenServer.

"This is a market-disruptive technology," one judge commented. "Unlike the other cloud storage gateways, it's NAS and a pure subscription play with no dedicated hardware. Pricing and model make this a very high value."

Another judge described Nasuni Filer 2.0 as an "elegant way to bridge on- and off-premise storage."

Nasuni charges a monthly fee for its Filer based on capacity, regardless of the number of users, and consolidates the billing from cloud providers. Entry-level pricing starts at $200 per month with a two-year prepay.

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