How to Get the Global Scalability of AWS Storage at Local Speed with Nasuni
By Henry Axelrod, Partner Solutions Architect at AWS
Being able to access files via standard file protocols from one or more locations is important to many organizations.
In this post, I will explore how Nasuni’s solution allows customers to access files across many locations through the use of a physical or virtual appliance. You can run these appliances in a data center or the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.
Nasuni is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS Storage Competency. With industry-leading encryption, local performance, and pay-as-you-go pricing, Nasuni makes it easy and cost-effective to add storage capacity.
With Nasuni, all data is stored on highly durable Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This enable customers to have access to their data anywhere over standard file protocols using many of the NAS features they are used to at local performance, without having to maintain full replicas of the data in each location.
The Nasuni system has two main components: edge appliances, which can be deployed anywhere; and a storage layer, which is where data is stored. The data is presented to the users on the frontend, which caches the latest data and also persists it to Amazon S3.
Because Nasuni appliances are just used for caching, Nasuni is not bound by any traditional capacity limits and is able to take advantage of the virtually unlimited capacity of Amazon S3.
Nasuni also has a control plane running on AWS that enables functionality such as global file locking.
There’s also a Nasuni management console that lets you monitor and manage multiple Nasuni edge appliances.
Figure 1 – Nasuni architecture on AWS.
For the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) version, an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for both the edge appliance and management console are shared with your AWS account. Full details about the installation on Amazon EC2 can be found in the Nasuni EC2 Installation Guide.
Make sure you add the instance to an existing security group or new security group that grants https access from the machine you’ll be using to configure.
After the AMI has been successfully deployed and the instance has started, it may take a few minutes before you can access the web console while the system boots and initializes. In the Amazon EC2 console, you can go to Action > Instance Settings > Get Instance Screenshot to see how close the instance is to being ready. You will see a screen similar to the one below that lets you know your instance is ready to be accessed.
Figure 2 – Instance readiness alert.
Access the edge appliances administrative interface using https://<FILE_IP_ADDRESS OR DNS>.
In this scenario, two appliances were installed: one is us-east-1 and one in us-west-1.
Once in the interface, you’ll be prompted to specify a host name and network info. Learn more about these steps in the Nasuni Filer Initial Configuration Guide.
Please note that until you finish the initial configuration, anyone with https network access to the system can configure the host, so make sure to lock down the security group for https access to just those machines or networks that will need to access the administrative interface.
At this point, you’ll need to grab one of your serial numbers and authorization codes from the Nasuni portal. Follow the remaining prompt and set up a username and password for the initial administrator.
Once done with the configuration wizard, you will be on the home screen of the filer and ready to set up a volume, which is the logical location were data is stored. Since data can be accessed by one or more filer, we can start by adding a new volume to the first filer and then add that existing volume to the second filer.
You can go to the Add New Volume screen, as seen below. In this case, the volume is named “eastcoast”.
Figure 3 – Adding a new volume.
You can select the volume to be either CIFS or NFS. By default, Nasuni will create a share or export of the volume. You can uncheck the box if you want to manually create shares or exports, in this case an NFS volume was created and retained the default export setting.
Figure 4 – Create a default share or export.
Once the volume has been created, you can take the first snapshot of the volume using the Take Snapshot Now button on the volume properties page. Once you’ve taken the snapshot, the Amazon S3 bucket is created in your account with the name of the bucket having a prefix “nasunifiler”.
Still within the volume properties, you can select remote access to enable the volume to be shared with other filers, as seen below. You can enable read only, read/write for all other filers in your account, or customize access on a per-filer basis.
Figure 5 – Remove Access dialog box.
Working with the Second Filer
Now you can go to the administrative interface of the “westcoast” edge appliance at https://<FILE_IP_ADDRESS OR DNS> and follow the same configuration steps as detailed above, up until adding the volume.
Instead of adding a volume this time, you can go to the All Volumes page where you should see your previously created volume, to which you can connect. You can inherit settings or customize the settings for this filer.
Figure 6 – Connecting to the second filer.
Access the Volume
First, set up Linux instances in us-east-1 and us-west-1, respectively. Next, mount the volume on the clients to the filer in the same region.
On the us-east-1 client, use the DNS of filer on the East Coast and the name of the export, which in this case is the volume name:
mount eastfiler:/nfs/eastcoast /mnt/nasuni-eastcoast
On the us-west-1 client, use the DNS of filer on the West Coast:
mount westfiler:/nfs/eastcoast /mnt/nasuni-eastcoast
Next, create a simple file called data.txt on the East Coast client:
echo "this is my data" > data.txt
You can now see the file data.txt on the volume and read it.
Within minutes, if you check the West Coast client you should be able to successfully read the file that was created on the East Coast filer.
[user@westclient nasuni-eastcoast]# cat data.txt
this is my data
Within less than an hour, you can set up file system that’s accessible across the county, enabling geographically dispersed users to seamlessly collaborate.
Enabling file sharing across multiple geographic locations can be simple when using the Nasuni solution. Combined with the scale and durability of Amazon S3, Nasuni provides a strong solution for file sharing, whether for Windows or Linux clients.
The Nasuni filesystem can be shared on AWS or with on-premises users, keeping all the data securely stored an Amazon S3 bucket.
Nasuni – APN Partner Spotlight
Nasuni is an AWS Storage Competency Partner. Nasuni makes file storage simple by turning Amazon S3 into your local file server. With industry-leading encryption, local performance, and pay-as-you-go pricing, adding storage capacity is easy and cost-effective.
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