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Is it NAS? Is it object storage? It’s both. It’s Avere’s C2N

Avere launches C2N hybrid NAS/object storage box that uses touted efficiencies of erasure coding to take aim at claimed drawbacks of clustered NAS rivals like Isilon

Avere has launched a hybrid NAS/object storage hybrid cloud appliance, the C2N Cloud Core NAS System. The product is aimed at customers that want to take an easy step to object storage, with a NAS gateway to the object store.

The C2N product fuses Avere’s FXT flash-driven NAS capability with an object storage bulk capacity core based on the SwiftStack commercially supported open source object storage platform based on OpenStack Swift.

The FXT component provides the familiar NAS protocols that customers still require, said Avere product marketing director Jeff Tabor.

“C2N provides the familiarity of NAS access with the efficiencies of object storage,” he said.

Object storage is an emerging method of data storage. It stores data in a “flat” system with each object having a unique identifier, similar to the Domain Name System on the internet.

It arose as an alternative to NAS file access storage, which, at large volumes of files, becomes hamstrung by overheads caused by its tree-like file system.

It is a good fit for large volumes of relatively unchanging sets of data. It is not a replacement for block access SAN systems that offer rapid access times and high throughput.

Tabor explicitly set C2N’s object storage as an alternative to NAS, and clustered NAS, which he said often manifested inefficiencies compared with object storage.

He said: “To protect against disk failure, standard NAS has RAID, servers have high availability and at the site level there is mirroring. Object storage protects against all of those with erasure coding and is far more efficient.”

More on object storage

Both NAS and object storage offer highly scalable file storage for large volumes of unstructured data, but which is right for your environment?

Object storage is a rising star in data storage, especially for cloud and web use. But what are the pros and cons of cloud object storage or building in-house?

Erasure coding is a method of data protection in which data is broken into fragments that are expanded and encoded with a configurable number of redundant pieces of data and stored across a set of different locations.

If data is lost or corrupted, it can be reconstructed using information about the data stored elsewhere. It works by creating a mathematical function to describe a set of numbers so they can be checked for accuracy and recovered if one is lost.

Clustered, or scale-out, NAS is file access storage with a parallel file system that can operate grid-like across multiple NAS nodes in a cluster. It can scale to billions of files in a single namespace.

There are, however, still challenges with scale-out NAS, said Tabor.

“Even where NAS is scale-out, for example, with Isilon, customers won’t go past seven nodes because of inefficiencies that arise,” he said. “Google, Amazon, etc have proven that objects can scale to billions of files.”

C2N comes in nodes of 120TB, but this capacity is modified by the needs of data protection. With triple replication, 3x 120TB is required for 120TB effective capacity. With erasure coding the overhead is decreased, with 80TB of useable sapce from 120TB.

The Avere product also comes with hybrid cloud capability. On-site NAS and object storage plus storage buckets at a cloud provider can all be accessed under the same namespace.

The product is aimed at customers with a lot of file-base data that they need access to, such as those in life sciences, financial services analytics use, petrochemicals and movie production.

The C2N will be available in Europe in December 2016.









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