VMware adds cloud file store on AWS

Three clouds
Three clouds

VMware is previewing a managed Cloud Flex Storage file service for VMware Cloud on AWS, based on its Datrium acquisition.

Cloud Flex Storage is a pay-as-you-go, elastic and scalable storage and data management service with cloud-native abstractions. It is set up and operated by customers through the VMware Cloud Services Console. A preview early access program will allow customers to independently provision and scale storage capacity external to the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC hosts.

CTO Marc Fleischmann says in a blog that customers need consistent cross-cloud consumption and management of data across the entire data life cycle and “that’s where Cloud Flex Storage comes in.“

VMware Cloud Flex Storage
VMware Cloud Flex Storage diagram

It is based on Datrium’s Distributed HyperConverged Infrastructure technology in which hyperconverged nodes running storage controller software are linked to an external shared storage pool. This has a Scale-out Cloud File System (SCFS) with a two-tier design that allows for independent scaling of storage performance and capacity, using a Log-Structure Filesystem (LFS) design.

A blog by VMware chief technologist Sazzala Reddy, co-founder of Datrium, says SCFS uses AWS EC2 with local NVMe drives for IO performance as a cache tier, and S3 to store all data in an object-based capacity tier. It features snapshots and immutability.

VMware Chief Technologist Sazzala Reddy's SCFS diagram
Sazzala Reddy’s SCFS diagram

VMware’s SCFS use cases up to now have been backup, disaster recovery, and ransomware protection. It is used in VMware’s DRaaS with VMware Cloud on AWS product. Now SCFS is being extended to the primary storage situation, with Cloud Flex Storage, providing file-based storage complementing the vSAN block storage.

There are three additional use cases: cloud migration, data center extension, and storage-intensive workload scaling. Customers running certain workloads on VMware Cloud on AWS using local instance storage with VMware vSAN may have other workloads that are storage bound. They can now have disaggregated Cloud Flex Storage for them.

In a migration scenario VMware says Cloud Flex Storage supports the lift and shift of virtual machines without any need to rework the data layer or re-architect the storage design. The datacenter extension example includes short-term burst capacity, on-demand scaling for data analytics, or long-term storage of data repositories in the cloud.

VMware says the Cloud Flex Storage roadmap includes making it available on multiple clouds, with cost-effective multi-AZ and regional availability. It also wants to enable multi-dimensional scaling of compute, performance, and storage capacity, and add enterprise-grade data management and data reduction capabilities.