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TwinStrata adds cloud NAS to CloudArray

TwinStrata enters cloud NAS by adding file capabilities to its CloudArray, which previously supported only iSCSI.

TwinStrata Inc. today added network-attached storage capability, a solid-state drive option, more service provider partners and a new pricing alternative to its cloud storage arrays.

The changes are part of TwinStrata's CloudArray 4.0 platform. The cloud network-attached storage (NAS) support complements the iSCSI SAN capability TwinStrata has offered since it began selling its CloudArray products in 2010.

TwinStrata's new CloudArray P300 models consist of a virtual appliance and three physical devices with redundant controllers. The P300 models include at least 1 terabyte (TB) of usable local cache and support up to 50 petabytes (PB) in the cloud.

The CloudArray P300 consists of the 1U 100 model with 1 TB to 6 TB of local cache and two Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections; a 2U 200 model with 12 TB to 60 TB local cache, two GbE and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections; and a 2U 300 model with 6 TB to 15 TB local cache, two GbE and four 10 GbE connections. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are available for the 200 and 300 models, and the 300 is sold with redundant nodes for high availability.

TwinStrata is also adding a subscription pricing option as an alternative to perpetual pricing. Perpetual prices are $4,995 for the virtual and 100 models; $24,995 for the 200 model; and $49,995 for the 300 model.

Subscription pricing begins at 19 cents per GB per month for appliance and cloud storage. Subscription covers the appliance and cloud storage, while perpetual pricing covers the appliance and maintenance, but not the cloud service.

TwinStrata now supports more than 20 service providers. New providers added in 2012 include Dell, Google, HP Cloud Services, IBM SmartCloud, Cloudian and SoftLayer to go with its previous support for Amazon, AT&T, Rackspace, Nirvanix and others.

"They now have 20 cloud providers," said Joseph Martins, managing director of Data Mobility Group. "That's double from last year. Hopefully, over time they will have all the major and minor ones."

The CloudArray 4.0 platform has an improved dashboard so administrators have better visibility into the data that is being accessed locally and how fast it is pushed into the cloud. It also has improved real-time monitoring. The new platform includes support for Server Message Block (SMB), SMB2, CIFS and Active Directory for file-based NAS access, as well as the previously available iSCSI-based SAN access. NFS support is scheduled for a future release.

TwinStrata claims more than 200 end-user installations for primary storage, archiving and backup. NAS support brings TwinStrata into competition with cloud file storage vendors Nasuni, Panzura and CTERA Networks. TwinStrata also competes with cloud SAN vendor StorSimple, which Microsoft intends to acquire by the end of the year.

"When traditional storage is purchased, a lot of times you buy two -- one for the primary site and one for the replication site," TwinStrata's CEO Nicos Vekiarides said. "With this one, you buy one device and place it locally. There is no need for a second device. A single device replicates data to the cloud and retrieves from the cloud."

However, Vekiarides said a second CloudArray appliance is needed to recover from natural disasters. A second appliance must be restarted in the cloud to replace a damaged controller in the primary site.

TwinStrata added the ability to install a virtual appliance inside the cloud for disaster recovery with select service providers earlier this year, and today expanded the list of providers supporting that feature. Amazon EC2, Rackspace, IBM Smart Cloud Enterprise and Google Cloud Compute now allow TwinStrata customers to spin up a CloudArray inside the cloud.

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