Introducing AWS Storage Gateway

AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid cloud storage service that gives you on-premises access to virtually unlimited cloud storage. Customers use Storage Gateway to simplify storage management and reduce costs for key hybrid cloud storage use cases. These include moving backups to the cloud, using on-premises file shares backed by cloud storage, and providing low latency access to data in AWS for on-premises applications.

To support these use cases, the service provides three different types of gateways – Tape Gateway, File Gateway, and Volume Gateway – that seamlessly connect on-premises applications to cloud storage, caching data locally for low-latency access.

Key Features

Storage Gateway is fast and easy to deploy enabling you to integrate with your existing environments and access AWS Storage in a frictionless manner. The service also provides a consistent management experience using the AWS Console, both for on-premises gateways, and for monitoring, management, and security with AWS services such as Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Key Management Service (KMS). Storage Gateway helps you reduce cost, maintenance, and scaling challenges associated with managing on-premises storage environments.

Standard Storage Protocols: Storage Gateway seamlessly connects to your local production or backup applications with NFS, SMB, iSCSI, or iSCSI-VTL, so you can adopt AWS Cloud storage without needing to modify your applications. Its protocol conversion and device emulation enables you to access block data on volumes managed by Storage Gateway on top of Amazon S3, store files as native Amazon S3 objects, and keep virtual tape backups online in a virtual tape library backed by S3 or move the backups to a tape archive tier on Amazon S3 Glacier and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive.

Fully Managed Cache: The local gateway appliance maintains a cache of recently written or read data so your applications can have low-latency access to data that is stored durably in AWS. The gateways use a read-through and write-back cache, committing data locally, acknowledging the write operations, and then asynchronously copying data to AWS, reducing application latency.

Optimized and Secure Data Transfer: Storage Gateway provides secure upload of changed data and secure downloads of requested data, encrypting data in transit between any type of gateway appliance and AWS using SSL. Storage Gateway delivers end-to-end protection of customer data from the Storage Gateway in the enterprise network to the data residing in AWS. The service supports security features, access controls, and supplies compliances and certifications that address enterprise customers’ real and perceived security concerns when using AWS Cloud storage via the Storage Gateway Optimizations such as multi-part management, automatic buffering, delta transfers used across all gateway types, and data compression applied for all block and virtual tape data. Storage Gateway offers Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 (FIPS) compliant endpoints in AWS GovCloud (US-East) and AWS GovCloud (US-West).

AWS Integrated: Storage Gateway enables customers to easily consume AWS services. As a native AWS service, Storage Gateway integrates with other AWS services for storage, backup, and management while still integrating with on-premises environments. The service stores files as native Amazon S3 objects, archives virtual tapes in Amazon S3 Glacier and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive, and stores EBS snapshots generated by the Volume Gateway with Amazon EBS. Storage Gateway also integrates with AWS Backup to manage backup and recovery of Volume Gateway volumes, simplifying your backup management, and helping you meet your business and regulatory backup compliance requirements. Storage Gateway publishes health and performance logs and metrics to Amazon CloudWatch and provides monitoring of metrics and alarms in the Storage Gateway console. Storage Gateway integrates with AWS IAM to help manage and secure access to Storage Gateway resources. Your data is encrypted by default at rest using S3-SSE or you can choose to use your own encryption keys through Storage Gateway's integration with AWS KMS.

High Availability on VMware: Storage Gateway provides high availability on VMware through a set of health-checks integrated with VMware vSphere High Availability (VMware HA). With this integration, Storage Gateway deployed in a VMware environment on-premises, or in VMware Cloud on AWS, will automatically recover from most service interruptions in under 60 seconds. This protects storage workloads against hardware, hypervisor, or network failures, storage errors, or software errors, such as connection timeouts and file share or volume unavailability. 

Gateway Types

File Gateway

File Gateway presents a file interface that enables you to store files as objects in Amazon S3 using the industry-standard NFS and SMB file protocols, and access those files via NFS and SMB from your data center or Amazon EC2, or access those files as objects directly in Amazon S3. POSIX-style metadata, including ownership, permissions, and timestamps are durably stored in Amazon S3 in the user-metadata of the object associated with the file. Once objects are transferred to S3, they can be managed as native S3 objects and bucket policies such as lifecycle management and Cross-Region Replication (CRR), and apply directly to objects stored in your bucket. File Gateway also publishes audit logs for SMB file share user operations to CloudWatch.

Customers use File Gateway to migrate on-premises file data to Amazon S3, while maintaining fast local access to recently accessed data, back up on-premises file data as objects in Amazon S3 (including Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases and logs), with the ability to use S3 capabilities such as lifecycle management and Cross-Region Replication (CRR), and for hybrid cloud workflows using data generated by on-premises applications for processing by AWS services such as machine learning or big data analytics.

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Tape Gateway

Tape Gateway presents a virtual tape library (VTL) consisting of virtual tape drives and a virtual media changer to your backup application using storage industry standard iSCSI protocol. You can continue to use your existing backup applications and workflows while writing to a nearly limitless collection of virtual tapes. Each virtual tape is stored in Amazon S3. When you no longer require immediate or frequent access to data contained on a virtual tape, you can have your backup application move it from the Storage Gateway Virtual Tape Library into an archive tier that sits on top of Amazon S3 Glacier or Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive cloud storage, further reducing storage costs. Tape Gateway stores your virtual tapes in service-managed S3 buckets, and creates new virtual tapes automatically, simplifying management and making your transition to the cloud for storage easy.

Tape Gateway is compatible with most leading backup applications. The Tape Gateway’s VTL interface eliminates large upfront physical tape infrastructure capital expenses, multi-year maintenance contract commitments, and ongoing media costs. You pay only for the capacity you use and scale as your needs grow. The need to store media at offsite facilities and do tape media migration from one generation to the next manually goes away, and your archives benefit from the durability, availability, and security of the AWS Cloud platform. With Tape Gateway, your virtual tapes are stored and available online for you to access and restore data any time.

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Volume Gateway

Volume Gateway presents your applications block storage volumes using the iSCSI protocol. Data written to these volumes can be asynchronously backed up as point-in-time snapshots of your volumes, and stored in the cloud as Amazon EBS snapshots. You can back up your on-premises Volume Gateway volumes using the service’s native snapshot scheduler or by using the AWS Backup service. In both cases, volume backups are stored as Amazon EBS snapshots in AWS. These snapshots are incremental backups that capture only changed blocks. All snapshot storage is also compressed to minimize your storage charges.

Customers often choose Volume Gateway to backup local applications, and use it for disaster recovery based on EBS Snapshots, or Cached Volume Clones. Volume Gateway integration with AWS Backup enables customers to use the AWS Backup service to protect on-premises applications that use Storage Gateway volumes. AWS Backup supports backup and restore of both cached and stored volumes. Using AWS Backup with Volume Gateway together helps you centralize backup management, reduce your operational burden, and meet compliance requirements. 

Storage Gateway Deployment Options

As a hybrid cloud service, AWS Storage Gateway is fully managed and consists of in-cloud as well as on-premises components, which can be deployed in several methods based on your on-premises infrastructure needs: as a virtual machine, which can run on VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Linux KVM on premises, as a hardware appliance on-premises, as a VM in VMware Cloud on AWS, or as an AMI in Amazon EC2.

Storage Gateway provides public, Amazon VPC, and FIPS service endpoints, providing you options to deploy and connect your gateway to Storage Gateway in a framework that best suits your networking and security needs. You can connect a gateway to the service either using public internet or through AWS Direct Connect.

Learn more about AWS Storage Gateway pricing

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