Cloudian sacrifices some snapshots for software update

Object storage supplier Cloudian has released an update to its HyperStore object storage software, version 7.5.1. The new release focuses on improving security, protection, and search capabilities while temporarily removing snapshots.

Cloudian introduced HyperFile functionality in 2017 after acquiring Infinity Storage, an Italian firm, to expand file access and cloud storage capabilities in HyperStore. Caterina Falchi, the CEO and founder of Infinity Storage, joined Cloudian as the VP of File Technologies.

Although there was no formal announcement of the release, Cloudian’s CMO, Jon Toor, shared details in a blog post. He highlighted that HyperStore 7.5.1 introduces HyperStore File Services – a streamlined approach to data management. This update seamlessly integrates file cache functionality into the Cloudian HyperStore object storage system, allowing users to access files quickly from either all-flash or HDD-based servers, creating a scalable central repository.

Cloudian HyperStore
Cloudian diagram of HyperStor v7.5.1 FIleServices

In 2018, HyperFile supported SMB (CIFS)/NFS, snapshot, WORM, non-disruptive failover, scale-out, POSIX compliance, and Active Directory integration. The File Services software has been re-written to be containerized and is being more closely integrated with HyperStore but, in the process, some functionality has temporarily gone away while new features are added. 

Version 7.5.1 introduces support for VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Services) snapshots for file versioning, but other snapshots are no longer available in this release. Snapshot functionality is planned for future updates, along with geographic distribution support, which will enable multiple sites to share a common file and object namespace with a global file cache.

Regarding the changes, Jon Toor told us that unified management is the most significant development. “Object and file are now managed via a single UI rather than separate UIs. As a unified platform, it is now also fully monitored via Hyper IQ, our observability and analytics platform. The underlying architecture is also now fully K8s based. This foundation will allow us to do further hardware integration down the road. Right now, object and file use separate hardware nodes, but with common management.” 

Cloudian plans to make a public announcement about the release in September, along with the introduction of additional features in version 8.0 of HyperStore. The new software features support for converged bimodal data access (file + S3 object) and cloud integration. HyperStore File Services software can run on a 1U HyperStore File Appliance 1100 system or a virtual machine, providing caching and storage with hot-swap SAS drives. Licensing is based on the capacity of the file caching node.

A Cloudian FAQ says: “HyperFile is a NAS controller that delivers SMB(CIFS) and NFS file services, employing Cloudian HyperStore object storage as its underlying storage layer. This is analogous to a traditional NAS system where a controller employs SATA drive shelves as its storage layer.”

We think this is a fairly stretched analogy as HyperStore File Services runs as a separate software entity that talks to a HyperStore object cluster with its own controllers (object storage nodes) talking to storage drives – two levels of controller software in other words.

The File Services software is available in basic and enterprise modes. The basic license includes SMB/NFS support, POSIX compliance, Active Directory/LDAP integration, write-file caching using NVMe SSD, read-file caching via NVMe SSD or HDD, VSS, and file access from S3 and vice versa. The enterprise license adds active:active high-availability, non-disruptive failover, and planned features such as snapshotting for single files or entire file systems and geo-distribution support.

Encryption, search and replication or erasure coding choice

V7.5.1 of HyperStore adds integration with third-party encryption key managers via KMIP (Key Management Interoperability Protocol ) support. It has been tested with Thales CipherTrust, Fortanix Data Security Manager, and Hashicorp Vault, and the Cryptsoft KMIP client has been integrated into HyperStore.

Cloudian has used the open-source OpenSearch tool to provide search and analytics for HyperStore.

It has also added a dynamic storage feature to select an object storage size, with data up to that size being placed in buckets with replication used to protect their contents. Objects above that size are put into buckets using erasure coding for protection.

Replication is computationally simple and read latency is lower than for erasure-coded objects. As object size is typically small – kilobytes – network transmission time is so short that any latency delays can be apparent.

Erasure coding is computationally more intensive than replication but needs less bandwidth to stripe its data across multiple devices. Erasure-coded object read I/O has a longer latency than replication but the larger objects – terabytes – need a longer transmission time which masks the latency difference from replication. 

Replication is suited to small objects, with erasure coding better for large objects as it saves space over replication and latency matters less.

You can try out Cloudian’s new software with a free trial.