Growth in Hybrid Cloud
It is probably no surprise to anyone reading this that the move to Hybrid Cloud is picking up pace. IT organizations are moving data and workloads offsite for protection or to expand resource capacity more dynamically without increasing their capital spend. Of course, protection and capital management are just a couple of examples. The reasons and use cases for the growth of Hybrid Cloud are evolving nearly as fast as the technology that makes the hybrid infrastructure more viable than ever before.
As a storage focused Solution Architect, my perspective is data-centric. I look for ways to get data to the cloud most efficiently. My interests are motivated by how we use, migrate, and protect that data once it’s there. I need to answer questions about presenting the data to applications and compute resources, how to migrate it from one Cloud provider to another, and how to restore it back to on-premise resources.
Options for Managing Data in a Hybrid Environment
Management of data in a hybrid environment is facilitated by an increasing number of solutions today. This week, I’d like to highlight three cloud-based data solutions from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Two of the HPE solutions I’ll be summarizing here are part of an HPE Cloud Suite. Those solutions include HPE Cloud Volumes Block and HPE Cloud Volumes Backup. The third solution has been around for some time and is not officially considered part of the Suite. However, I think it is important as a consideration in an overall Data in the Cloud strategy. That third solution is HPE Cloud Bank Storage.
The HPE Cloud Suite
As I mentioned before, the HPE Cloud Volumes Suite consists of a pair of enterprise-class, on-demand data services from HPE that provide Block and Backup storage on an HPE Cloud platform. Each of these services leverage technologies from HPE that can also be found in their on-premise solutions. Cloud Block utilizes Nimble Storage and Cloud Backup utilizes the StoreOnce Catalyst Store.
Together, these services can provide an on-premise experience. But, to be clear, you don’t need to have Nimble or StoreOnce on-premise in order to use these HPE data services. The idea behind Cloud Volumes is to provide access to your data from anywhere and allow you to move data between workloads across the major cloud providers that include Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
The HPE Cloud Volumes Suite is a pay-as-you-go service. You only pay for what you use. Because your data is on an HPE platform, you don’t need to worry about egress fees as you would with the other cloud providers. However, because the HPE platform has data locality beside the other service providers, you can present your data to compute resources located on the other platforms. This means you can move data between the other cloud services providers quickly and without additional charges. The result is the elimination of cloud provider lock-in.
So, let’s take a quick look at each of the Suite data services.
Cloud Volumes Block:
This service provides enterprise cloud-based Block storage to use for volumes that will connect to workloads running in Azure, AWS, and GCP. The storage is located on HPE’s cloud platform but with data locality near the cloud provider(s) of your choice. Because HPE Cloud Volume Block is separate from the workload platform, you can migrate data from one provider to the other without egress charges; the data doesn’t change its location, only the workloads change locations.
As mentioned earlier, HPE Cloud Volumes Block uses HPE Nimble technology and all the features you’d expect on that array platform. And, as with HPE Nimble on-premises solutions, you can expect six 9’s (99.9999%) availability with HPE Cloud Volumes Block. While the management interface is different than the on-premise Nimble Array, the ease of provisioning volumes still exists.
Using the HPE Cloud Volumes Portal, you can choose your Workload Cloud Provider, Cloud Application, Volume Type, Performance Characteristics, Size and Application Hosts to which you will present volumes. And, of course, you can specify snapshot schedules, whether to encrypt the volume, cloning, etc.
Features of HPE Cloud Volume Block include:
- Multi-cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP)
- Instant Snapshots and Clones
- 256-bit volume encryption
- Nimble replication from on-premise to Cloud
- REST API
- Container support (Docker, Kubernetes, Mesophere)
- SoC2 Type 1-certified
So, what are your workload requirements? Test/Dev? Production? HPE Cloud Volumes Block is suited for either of these use cases.
Cloud Volumes Backup:
As the name implies, this part of the HPE Cloud Volumes Suite provides a cloud-based backup target. We are all familiar with the 3-2-1 backup/recovery strategy where you maintain 3 copies of your data on 2 types of media with 1 copy off-site. HPE Cloud Volumes Backup fulfills the off-site part of that strategy.
The HPE Cloud Volumes Backup service integrates with some of today’s leading backup ISV’s, including Commvault, Veeam, and Veritas. There is also support for MicroFocus Data Protector. What this means is that you can start using Cloud Volumes Backup immediately if you already use one of these ISV backup/recovery solutions. In addition to the ISV’s mentioned, Cloud Volumes Backup integrates with HPE RMC (Recovery Manager Central) for protection directly from on-premise HPE Primera, HPE 3PAR, and HPE Nimble. But, to be clear, if you are using a supported backup/recovery software solution, you can protect data on any storage array supported by the ISV.
One of the goals for any backup/recovery strategy these days is to provide an extra layer of protection from a Ransomware attack. After all, it is reported that there is a ransomware attack happening every 40 seconds. To provide protection from ransomware, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup incorporates the HPE Catalyst protocol. This protocol creates data Stores that are not directly accessible by the OS, making the backup images invisible and inaccessible to ransomware.
With high-profile reports of data loss and increasing levels of government legislation for data security, companies are seeking to encrypt their data. With Cloud Volumes Backup, data is encrypted in-flight and at rest. Data on the wire travels under an AES-protected SSH tunnel to HPE Cloud Volumes Backup. Data at rest can be encrypted with 256-bit AES-encryption.
And, in case you were wondering, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup offers built-in multitenant security. Backup volumes created by one user are not visible to others, even if they are stored on the same device. Management or provisioning access, as well as data access, is also multitenant.
In addition to security, you are also likely concerned about being able to assure the integrity of the data you are trying to protect. The reliability of your backed-up data sets is critical. It would be a disaster to restore your data from a backup location only to find it is corrupt. HPE Cloud Volumes Backup provides data integrity throughout its lifecycle by providing built-in protection that checks data at multiple stages. Data is checked during backup, while at rest, and during recovery.
Finally, in addition to being ready in the event of a data recovery event, where you would be restoring data back to your on-premise array, HPE Cloud Volumes Backup can be used to restore data to HPE Cloud Volumes Block. It leverages public cloud compute resources for disaster recovery, test/dev, reporting, analytics, etc.
So far, we’ve talked about cloud-based storage for production and test/dev workloads as well as storage for your off-site, standard retention backup target. An important consideration for any backup/recovery strategy is how you will manage your long-term, archive storage. To that end, HPE Cloud Bank is designed to be used as long-term archive object storage.
Cloud Bank is an extension to the HPE StoreOnce Backup Appliance. The design assumes you will store short-term retention data on an on-premise HPE StoreOnce appliance. Then, it tiers that data to HPE Cloud Bank for longer-term retention and archival data. Cloud Bank leverages a customers’ provisioned object storage in either Azure or AWS. It funnels data to and from those objects stores through StoreOnce.
In contrast, HPE Cloud Volumes backup is an as-a-service offering. A customer can have backups near to the cloud without managing a cloud infrastructure, or any on-premises appliances or licenses. You can also restore from Cloud Volumes Backup directly to any array, or, to Cloud Volumes Block, so that data can be used with GCP, AWS, or Azure compute.
Depending on your use case, all three of the cloud-based storage solutions presented here may work for you. Whatever you are looking to achieve with your cloud-based data footprint, one of these options is likely to get you there.
Contact Zunesis for more information on how to manage data in a hybrid cloud environment.