File-basedis now a standard offering from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Although the cloud giants’ offerings are most often associated with , all three, along with suppliers such as IBM and NetApp, have developed offerings that allow businesses to use familiar hierarchical in the cloud.
File-level storage in the cloud is either a native offering built into the hyper scalers, a partnership with a specialist supplier such as Azure NetApp Files, or what analyst IDC describes as “overlay” file services. These use software to present the hyper scalers block or object storage as a file system, usually or . Examples include Elastifile, now part of Google, and NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
Each approach brings benefits and allows ITstorage according to their use cases, business requirements, and budgets. But, although all three cloud giants now support file-level storage, some differences make some options more suitable for some use cases than others.
The big threeis based on object storage technology. Meanwhile, most on-premise storage is either block or file, either directly attached to servers or in SAN or NAS shared storage (although more suppliers nowadays).
The hyperscalers favor object storage because it meets their business needs. For now, customers that need the specific features of object storage are most likely to use it in the cloud. Only a minority can justify on-premise object storage.
Instead, most businesses continue to run file storage on-premise, often in. And so, operating a consistent, file-based environment locally and in the management overheads and reduce the need to build new skill sets.
The ease of management should not be underestimated. Integrating cloud-based storage adds complexity to IT architecture, so using familiar, file-based storage helps. A consistent file structure makes movingeasier, even if the organization stops short of complete hybrid working.
Cloud file storage pros: Application compatibility
Mostare not – yet – fully compatible with object storage. Support for is growing, but file-based storage will work out of the box.
With file storage, organizations shouldand back again without rewriting software. This lift-and-shift approach is only possible if the underlying file structure is identical.
Potentially, it makesmore accessible, too. An application can be stood up using without using object-storage protocols or going through an overlay service, with its potential compatibility and performance issues.
Using file storage also makesbetween applications or custom processes that expect a hierarchical file structure easier.
Cloud file storage pros: Support for hybrid environments
Object storage willenvironments, and suppliers invest in on-premise object technologies that make it easier. Software-defined storage is also often object-based.
Even so, using this technology requires expertise and investment. Businesses will likely use hybrid cloud object storage environments to hold or process massive datasets or replicate data across geographies.
A hybrid environment based on a file structure, usually NFS or SMB, allows the business to extend its NAS. Local volumes deliver performance, while the cloud adds additional, low-cost ability.
NAS technology suppliers increasingly support tiering to theand archiving. However, the advantage of a file-based hybrid environment is that no unique technology is needed on the end-user side. It should just work, with apps – and users – able to on-premise and remotely. AWS, Azure, and Google and volumes based on NetApp technology.