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January 12, 2012

Appliance-based Cloud Tools Continue to be Deployed More Rapidly

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


For those of you worried about moving to the cloud, don’t be. According to a recent piece written by IT Business Edge blogger Arthur Cole, “the plethora of appliance-based cloud tools is something of a marvel, particularly when it comes to storage and backup applications.”

Okay, as he notes, there isn’t exactly plug-and-play cloud building just yet; however, “appliances make deployment and provisioning of cloud resources about as simple as it can be.”

Cole gives the example of TwinStrata's (News - Alert) new CloudArray 3.0, an appliance that lets you build SAN, NAS or even DAS storage architectures “across public, private and hybrid resources.” The way Cole describes it, the system “enables global SAN capability while maintaining central capacity management and disaster recovery tools to maintain unity and control across remote sites.”

Late last year TMCnet reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District deployed TwinStrata CloudArray in 15 remote locations to provide continuous data protection that would replace primary storage, tape and backup software while instantly providing disaster recovery.

When utilizing the TwinStrata CloudArray, LAUSD is now able to back up primary data to an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud by placing the CloudArray virtual appliance, which takes daily snapshots in the S3 cloud, in all 15 remote locations across the district. At the same time, users gain dynamic cache sizing, single-click cache optimization and Amazon S3 regional storage support, all following a simple three-step configuration process.

The prospect of such enormous scale on an easily deployed platform is drawing a number of startups into the field, Cole says, pointing to a company called Embrane, led by several former top executives at Cisco (News - Alert) and which “recently released the heleos virtual appliance that provides cloud-ready network services like load balancing, firewalls, virtual private networking and WAN optimization.”

The point is to free up as much network capacity as possible, Cole explains, so it will be more “flexible in its ability to deliver data and applications to users.” And for such appliances to be truly effective, they need “a high degree of interoperability with the architectures and infrastructure of disparate cloud services.”

But as he concludes, such systems are certainly worth investigating.

Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend the Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO East 2012taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. The Cloud Communications Expo will address a growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. To register, click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jamie Epstein


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