Nexsan’s flagship product, UnityTM, has been awarded Storage Product of the Year at the 2017 Storage Awards.
The award, which comes hot on the heels of Nexsan’s recently announced next generation Unity 2.0, was presented at the annual event held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in Convent Garden, UK and attended by over 400 leading IT professionals. The awards provide readers of the UK-based Storage Magazine the opportunity to cast their vote, recognizing outstanding products, services and people in the storage and IT industry. With more than 50,000 votes cast, Nexsan’s leading hyper-unified storage system was selected as Storage Product of the Year.
We were up against some tough competition this year and are really pleased to have been awarded Storage Product of the Year at such a prestigious event. Nexsan’s vision is to continue to deliver leading unified storage and we are driven to transforming the storage industry for today’s modern workforce. This award distinguishes Nexsan as a key player within the storage space.
Victoria Grey, CMO
One of the things that we hear often is that cloud storage is cheap. Many times it’s heard and repeated so often that it is believed as factual. The real costs of cloud storage versus on-premises storage need to be put into perspective so we asked Marc Staimer, an independent analyst in the storage industry, to do just that. Marc identified the detailed information that needed to be evaluated from both Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a leading cloud provider and from Nexsan, the UnityTM Hyper-Unified Storage System an on-prem storage solution.
Marc laid out the baseline assumptions over a 5 year time period, starting with 480TB of capacity to start and with a growth rate of approximately 15% per year to a total of 960TB at the end of the 5 years. All details for costs were considered for both the cloud storage on AWS and for on-prem with Unity. Although Nexsan Unity includes Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) at no additional cost to customers, that was not considered in the initial comparison. The numbers were staggering! AWS S3 costs $1,451,799 for the 5 years while the Unity4400 was $379,170 and the Unity6900 was $414,382. That means that AWS costs 350% to 383% more than Unity as an on-premise solution.
On-prem storage systems such as Nexsan Unity do offer more functionality and data control for a much lower total cost of ownership than public cloud storage such as AWS S3.
To read the detailed study from Marc Staimer of Dragon Slayer Consulting, click here.
If you’re in the area, please join us next week at the OHECC annual conference taking place at Ohio State University from May 17-19. I’ll be presenting on how our flagship hyper-unified storage solution, Nexsan Unity, can help educational organizations advance their research strategies.
As many research organizations are likely starting to realize, data storage demands are not only growing larger, they’re getting more complicated too. From needing file-based storage for documents, photos, videos and other unstructured data, you’ve also got to have block-based SAN storage for virtual machines, VDI, application servers and databases. This doesn’t even get into the need to provide users with mobile, remote or offline access so employees can collaborate quickly and easily across teams.
As we often hear from our education and research customers, communication is key. In order to allow research to continue advancing rapidly, researchers need to be able to collaborate with colleagues both in the same facility and across multiple locations globally. As technology continues to evolve the storage platform used to house this critical information needs to transform too.
Sharing and collaborating the old-school way
For decades, the go-to sharing technology has been e-mail. We all know the routine; drafts of documents are sent around via ad hoc sharing groups, until ultimately a final version is circulated. Even if the final document faithfully captures all the email input, the whole process takes up a lot of people’s time.
Many of our customers are telling us how much Unity has helped them with these types of collaboration challenges. As the first unified storage solution that can securely and seamlessly connect a mobile workforce to files stored within a corporate data center, Unity is allowing researchers to work together more seamlessly then they’ve been able to in the past, yet without the risk of using tools like Google Docs and Dropbox. When things like medical and genomic research and data is on the line, quick, easy and safe sharing practices can help researcher not only make great strides in their work, but also protect it.
Join us on May 18 at 2:50pm to discover:
I was staggered to read recently that UK companies are stockpiling bitcoins in preparation for a Ransomware attack. This means two things, one that they expect an attack and two, that they see no choice but to pay it. As attacks get more sophisticated, security designed to keep the virus out is struggling. Any breach that tricks a user – already on the inside of that perimeter fence – will get through it, however tough the security is.
So, let’s imagine it’s happened: the ransomware has passed your firewall and is in. You have a demand to pay and the clock is ticking. You can’t afford to lose valuable data nor admit to customers that often confidential or highly sensitive data has been at risk. You have to pay, right? Wrong. If your archive storage has the option to restore to a point in time, then you can revert files to the version they were prior to the attack. Furthermore, in the case of a widespread attack, you have the option to restore just the shortcuts, which is an extremely fast operation.
Nexsan’s Unity Active Archive is built with security in mind and doesn’t have a “delete” function. This means that clients, even administrator-level users, or malware that has escalated to admin level (which most try to do), can’t directly delete, modify, corrupt, overwrite, or encrypt a file. Files are only deleted pursuant to the policy attached to the file when it was ingested. Any such attempts will be treated merely as a new version of the file.
What does this mean? It means that even if the malware tricks your system into thinking it is the administrator, any amends to a file will create a new file, ensuring the old, non- corrupted file remains safe and is ready to be accessed as soon as the ransomware has been disinfected from your infrastructure. Once your system is clean again, you can re-instate the shortcuts to the file that existed before the attack. Which means none of your archived data is lost and the ransom demand can be ignored.
Re-instating the shortcuts takes seconds compared with restoring data from a backup. And oftentimes it is discovered that the malware has not totally been removed, so the process of disinfecting and restoring needs to be repeated. With a process, based on re-instating shortcuts, a ‘rinse and repeat’ cycle is significantly quicker and doesn’t impact the RTO as much, which means the business can be up and running faster.
The current tendency for companies to pay the ransom demands of malware perpetrators will only encourage more hacks and more ransoms. It’s not acceptable and it certainly isn’t sustainable. Of course data is critical to a business and sensitive data even more so, but companies should be aware that there is an alternative. With Unity Active Archive you can recover critical data without paying the ransom, to find out more, read here.
As I watch the expansion of sync and share (SnS) into the enterprise, I’m growing concerned that many organizations are creating yet another silo of storage. Wouldn’t it be a better idea for the “unified storage” system in my data center to serve up the same files it delivers to local users via SMB to remote users via SnS?
Over a decade ago, vendors started integrating block storage, which until then was the exclusive domain of dedicated SAN arrays, into their file-serving NAS systems. This integration created multi-protocol, or unified storage.
Unifying file and block empowered users to support database servers, virtual machines, and other block-friendly workloads alongside user home directories and large file repositories on a single storage system. Unified storage as a concept has been so successful that it’s now rare to find a NAS that doesn’t provide iSCSI LUNs as an option.
File services have been our goto [stet] solution for on-premises users ever since the glory days of Novell NetWare in the 1990s. Other than “Your personal files go in H: and the marketing group uses M:” users don’t need any training and get generally good performance.
Users in the field, on the other hand, have had to suffer with multiple generations of complicated and ultimately unsatisfactory solutions, from VPNs and FTP sites to the Windows Briefcase and offline folders. While some tech-savvy users could remember to sync their Briefcase before unplugging their laptop for a trip out of town, or connect the VPN before downloading a file, most ended up frustrated at 2AM in the Podunk Marriott.
Meanwhile, out on The Internet, innovators like Dropbox and YouSendIt (now Hightail) finally found a good way to keep the files used by mobile users up to date and to share files with outsiders. Their sync-and-share (SnS) solution finally gave road warriors an easy way to access files from HQ, and for users across the organization to share files with customers, resellers, and other “partners”.
Sync and share has been so popular that at least one industry leader predicted a couple of years ago that traditional file services will fade away in favor of SnS. The problem with that prediction is that file services have some significant advantages for users [with?] LAN or LAN-like connections to the filer.
The big difference between file services and SnS solutions is that file services provide shared access to a single copy of each file rather than making a copy of each file for each user that may want to access it. An organization replacing file services with sync and share would need to install multi-terabyte hard drives in each user’s desktop in addition to the 128GB SSD for the operating system and applications.
While file services can’t compete with online applications like Google Docs that allow multiple users to edit the same document and see each other’s changes in real time, the “Obadiah Stane has this file open, do you want to open a read-only copy” message gives you the opportunity to poke Obadiah and have him close the file or wait till he’s done. You might also want to let Mr. Stark know that Mr. Stane didn’t really die at the end of Iron Man.
Because SnS is asynchronous, if you and Mr. Stane each edit the plans for the Arc Reactor at the same time, you end up with two files: one with your changes and another with Obadiah’s. Now someone has to find all the changes and merge the files.
Then there are the applications that just require file services. The most glaring example is persistent VDI. All the major VDI systems, including VMware’s Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop, store the user’s persona from desktop wallpaper to the cache of Outlook attachments they’ve opened on a file share. Syncing, rather than sharing, this data would require huge local storage on the VDI servers and extend login times significantly.
Today, most SnS solutions use dedicated storage repositories. While some solutions allow enterprises to keep the repository in their data center, it’s still a dedicated repository that users access exclusively via sync and share. When files must be shared between onsite and remote users, processes must be established to synchronize the file store and SnS repositories.
A truly unified storage system would allow users to access the files they need using the protocol that’s most appropriate for their needs at any given point in time. Local users access a file share via SMB, remote users sync to the same copy, and the system publishes URLs for sharing files with partners.
Since all users are now referring back to the same copy of the data on the unified storage system, that copy becomes the authoritative copy of the data. Yes, multiple versions of files will still be created when multiple users update the same file, but all will be stored on the unified storage system.
Having one authoritative copy of every file in one place not only saves the cost and data center space for yet another storage system but also centralizes all of our data governance activity. We have one storage system to backup and archive from, and only one place to search when an eDiscovery demand comes in.
One hint I may be right about integrating SnS with file services is Nexsan’s Unity. Unity integrates block and file technology from Nexsan with the sync and share from its acquisition of Geoff Barrall’s Transporter. Unity systems support Fibre Channel and iSCSI for block I/O, and SMB and NFS for file access. They also support web access and sync clients for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS. Windows phone users, as usual, are left out.
Remote users running the sync client connect to a Nexsan-operated connection broker in the cloud, simplifying the network connection and firewall rules. Both SMB and SnS users authenticate against the user’s Active Directory. Access is controlled by the file system ACLs, so there’s just one set of security permissions to worry about.
Nexsan even threw in a feature I wasn’t looking for: synchronizing folders between Unity systems at multiple locations so larger sales offices can keep their files up to date and minimize the network traffic by sending each file just once.
My guess is that enterprise sync and share will become yet another protocol for unified storage. Nexsan thinks I’m right. Who’s next?
About the Author
Self-described as the storage industry’s skeptic, curmudgeon and professional explainer, Howard Marks is the Founder and Chief Scientist at DeepStorage, LLC an independent test lab and analyst firm specializing on data storage, virtualization and data center networking. Before founding DeepStorage Howard was a New York based consultant for over 30 years helping organizations including BBDO, SUNY Purchase and the Foxwoods Resort Casino solve their IT infrastructure problems.
An entertaining and highly rated speaker Howard speaks regularly at industry events including VMworld, Interop, SNW and Microsoft’s TechEd. He has written three books and hundreds of articles on networking and storage technologies. He currently writes a column/blog at NetworkComputing.com. For more from Howard, go to
 After way too many years writing BASIC my fingers can’t put a space in between go and to.
The holidays are a time for the giving and receiving of presents – this increasingly includes the latest gadgets, from iPhones to smart watches and tablets. As employees begin to use these gifts in the workplace in the New Year, they bring a whole host of issues for CIO’s.
Though a connected workforce is key in today’s world, to ensure high levels of productivity and collaboration, using these devices to store, share and access company data can put this corporate information at great risk. Data leakage continues to be a major concern for business; this concern is amplified by BYOD as it means that companies will have no visibility into how the data is being used or where it is stored.
These devices and the data stored on them can also be lost or stolen and with data becoming more and more valuable this is not something organisations can afford to leave to chance. There is also the additional risk that these home devices lack advanced security measures, providing a gateway for hackers and leaving the companies own servers at risk.
This holiday, smart IT leaders will prepare before and after the holiday season, to ensure they can mitigate these risks, for example, by offering a secure file sync and share (FSS) platform.
With Nexsan Unity, savvy CIOs can allow these gifts to be used to gain a business advantage. Unity is the first and only hyper-unified NAS storage for block and file workloads with Dropbox-like sync & share, multi-site sync, and security archive. This on-premises private cloud satisfies IT requirements for security and provides extensive mobile and web access. Allowing employees to access company data, on the go, from any mobile or tablet device. This increases employee productivity, as the workforce can stay connected to their data – wherever they may be.
If you would like to know more about what Nexsan Unity can offer, request a demo or check out our page for a full update: https://www.nexsan.com/products/unified-storage-enterprise-sync.
IT professionals are constantly attacked by outside threats trying to steal and destroy your organization’s data. But what about those serious threats that are not from external adversaries, and happen without you even knowing?
Silent data corruption is an actual, no-BS thing proven by hardcore researchers. The world-renowned CERN did a landmark study in 2007 testing 3,000 servers attached to RAID subsystems; in three weeks it found 500 instances of corrupted files in 17 percent of the RAID arrays. That’s the equivalent of one in every 1,500 files becoming corrupt.
That’s bad…even worse is how easily silent data corruption could take place right under your nose.
The glimmer of hope is any data corruption or missing files will quickly become evident to you for active files being constantly accessed and opened. But it’s a whole different ballgame with your archive files, which are opened much less frequently. It could be weeks, months, or even years until you discover one of your files is damaged…or simply gone.
Corrupted or missing files are obviously a huge problem for healthcare, financial services and governmental institutions because they’re subject to such rigorous regulatory requirements. But this problem really threatens any organization that archives high-value data. To jog your memory, that’s data you can’t recreate and consider a critical business asset over its lifecycle. So a lot of companies are affected, and odds are you’re at risk too.
So, what’s the solution? End-to-end integrity checking is the only way that silent data corruption can be detected and corrected. Simply put, any archive solution that lacks this capability cannot credibly claim to offer truly secure archiving.
Defending your Archive Against Silent Data Corruption
Conventional archive solutions can’t monitor the availability and health of every file. Manually verifying the existence and integrity of those files by opening millions, perhaps billions of them would be a nightmare. For true end-to-end integrity checking, you need a secure archive solution specifically designed to maximize data security, integrity and privacy from the moment a file is ingested into the archive. And that’s exactly what Nexsan’s Assureon™ does with its multi-pronged defenses:
Silent data corruption is an unfortunate reality, and its occurrence is not a question of “if” but “when.” Crossing your fingers that it won’t eventually strike your conventional archive solutions is hardly an effective strategy. The answer is to proactively protect your archived files from the start by deploying a Nexsan Assureon secure archive solution, purpose-built to maximize your data’s integrity and security over its entire lifetime.
Want to do a deeper dive into the Assureon technology to combat silent data corruption? Get a copy of our in-depth Silent Data Corruption solution brief.
Whether as consumers or employees people have come to expect connectivity and data access across multiple devices wherever they are. We have all either been brought up on, or grown accustomed to using smart phones, tablets, computers and increasing intelligent devices. In our offices, in particular, we demand access to and the ability to share data with customers, clients and colleagues, for both productivity and collaboration. Work files need to be accessed quickly and securely from wherever employees are, and across multiple devices.
This is why developing a secure File, Sync and Share (FSS) solution is essential. The inflexibility of legacy on-premise storage has forced many organizations to use public cloud solutions. Whilst they offer mobile access, these services lack the security, privacy and control that many organizations need. Business users expect high performance access to company information from anywhere in the world, at anytime and from any device. With this in mind Nexsan has built the industry’s first and only hyper-unified storage array – Unity.
Unity has moved file sharing into the next generation, offering a hybrid storage platform with EFFS capabilities. File sharing and storage no longer have to be cobbled together, Nexsan has combined performance, scalability, universal connectivity, and the value of DRAM and Flash with enterprise file sync-and-share, for today’s workforce.
Organizations not only face a demand from today’s generation for more flexible and fluid ways of working, but many businesses operate from multiple sites with remote and mobile workforces. In fact, in a recent survey 98% of respondents claimed they require access to documents whilst outside of the office. Through Unity organizations have the security of an on-premises storage solution, with the added mobility and flexibility of the cloud.
Unity will allow you to stay connected to your corporate data, even when working remotely or on the go. It simplifies and fortifies FSS in the workplace, providing cooperate IT with the security they need, whist simultaneously offering users the experience they want.
If you would like to know more about what Nexsan Unity can offer, request a demo or check out our page for a full update: https://www.nexsan.com/products/unified-storage-enterprise-sync
Increased camera resolutions are becoming a key strategic consideration for surveillance, providing the ability to cover far more area, zoom in on people or objects without loss of detail and deliver sharp image quality for use by video analytics solutions. Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery and strengthen deterrence of criminal acts.
Unfortunately, high-resolution video also comes at a steep price, requiring many times more storage capacity than lower-resolution video captured utilizing older technology. For example, traditional standard definition (SD) cameras record at 4CIF resolution [704 x 576 pixels (NTSC) and 5 frames per second (fps)]. High definition (HD) cameras commonly record at 1 megapixel (MP) (1280 x 800) or 2MP (1920 x 1080) resolutions, and 30 fps is typical. Thus a 1MP camera can require over 15 times the storage capacity of an SD surveillance camera.
But higher capacity requirements are only part of the challenge—HD recording also places enormous demands on the throughput performance of today’s surveillance storage solutions.
Simply put, a surveillance storage system’s video streaming bandwidth must be sufficient to consistently support and sustain write capabilities for multiple high-resolution feeds across a network. Note these bandwidth requirements can be daunting—just as an HD video requires vastly more capacity when it’s stored, it also demands far more bandwidth when it’s ingested into the storage system.
But that’s only part of the story; as noted above, a surveillance storage system must simultaneously support multiple high-resolution streams. That can mean recording dozens—sometimes hundreds—of parallel video streams, consuming huge amounts of bandwidth. What’s more, many surveillance environments can require 24×7 video monitoring, which boosts bandwidth utilization even higher. Depending on the number, duration and actual resolution of the incoming video streams, a storage system may struggle to keep up, significantly increasing the risk of dropped frames.
By their very nature surveillance video images are transitory; should inadequate storage bandwidth cause frames to be dropped, any information contained within them is lost forever. As video evidence often plays key roles in civil and criminal proceedings, the loss of such information can have devastating financial and legal consequences.
Deploying a storage solution that combines the enormous capacity and superior bandwidth that surveillance usage demands requires a storage system utilizing high-density architecture. Simply packing a conventional storage array with a multitude of high-capacity hard drives can yield vast amounts of capacity, but it will take up significantly more space, consume more energy and require more cooling than a properly-engineered high-density array. More importantly, it will deliver lower performance per U than a high-density array.For example, a high-density array can hold the same number of hard drives in 4U of rack space that would require 12U of space using conventional storage arrays. This ability to hold more drives in a given space enables greater spindle density which is key to obtaining maximum throughput. In short, performance increases when IO requests can be spread across more drive spindles. This greater bandwidth is also critical to ensure rapid access to stored videos when needed for use as evidence or by video analytics applications.
The ability to deliver superior bandwidth in a space-efficient array is significant; because surveillance video solutions are deployed in a wide range of physical environments, they often must be installed in confined locations with little available floor space. Storage arrays that may present an acceptable footprint in conventional data centers are simply too bulky and inefficient for use in the cramped control rooms that confront many security professionals.
E-Series High Density Storage: E-Series combines high-density capacity with superior bandwidth for recording multiple streams of high-definition video without dropping frames, which is crucial for evidentiary acceptance. A single E-Series system can record digital video surveillance at a rate of 2.4GB/s, and has been specifically designed to handle hundreds of parallel surveillance streams from high-resolution video sources without frame loss.
A variety of factors are combining to drive enormous growth in the deployment of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by law enforcement agencies. Increased funding for such cameras (for example, state and federal grants) has become more readily available in response to growing calls for more transparency in the operations of law enforcement agencies. Body-worn cameras significantly increase such transparency, thus serving to enhance relations and trust with the local community and shield a department’s officers from false accusations of misconduct.
Police body cameras perform more conventional functions of video surveillance equipment (collecting evidence for trial, recording victim interviews, etc.). Offering wide flexibility and more affordability with the prices dropping considerably in the past few years, BWCs now occupy a central place in the budgetary planning of many police departments. But it’s important to remember that these cameras represent only one facet of a complete video surveillance solution.
BWCs are an addition to other video surveillance that has been used by many with in-car video, photos of scenes and public video surveillance. The video from these devices along with the images and photos that may be transferred to the police from third parties have the potential to be evidentiary data and must be stored and managed as such.
Video and digital images are exceptionally heavy users of storage space and the guidelines around managing the evidentiary data is key to it being recognized as a valuable source by the criminal justice system. Planning your data storage strategy is a key element of formulating an overall digital evidential plan. Only then can you compile a complete picture of the costs, personnel requirements and policy standards that deploying an effective BWC and video surveillance solution will entail.
The most obvious data storage requirement is sufficient capacity; as utilization of body cameras and other surveillance video grows, the amount of requisite capacity can rapidly expand. For example, if a department has 200 officers and each activates his/her camera for only one hour per shift (a very conservative estimate), the amount of video data to be archived each year would reach 33TB. This figure can quickly escalate; as the number of officers equipped with cameras increases, and the number of hours per day that each camera is activated grows, the sheer quantity of video data that must be archived may increase by orders of magnitude. Thus any archive storage solution you consider must have the scalability to easily and cost-effectively add capacity as needed.
Impact of Retention Rules
In addition to the daunting amount of archive storage capacity that evidentiary videos and images consume, police departments and other law enforcement agencies must also address the retention requirements that govern how long video surveillance and images must be stored. These requirements are often dictated by state or federal laws that detail retention periods for official records.
Storage capacity needs (and costs) obviously increase the longer surveillance videos are retained; ideally, video should be stored no longer than required by law. Archive solutions that incorporate policy-based rules for data retention help police departments to significantly boost their storage efficiency by automatically keeping all surveillance videos only for their legally-mandated retention period—after which the archive storage system disposes of the records based on the policy configurations.
Stringent Security Requirements
The U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence (CFR 28, 29) encompass an extensive range of requirements for the protection of evidentiary data in order to ensure its admissibility in court. The evidentiary weight of surveillance video can also be compromised by improper and/or unregulated data handling practices. What’s more, privacy concerns dictate that BWC videos (often containing footage from inside citizens’ homes and businesses) be securely stored, and that they be securely deleted once they no longer have evidentiary value.
To meet these requirements, an archive storage solution must be able to maintain a clear chain of custody for video footage and images — from its initial ingestion into the archive all the way through to its long-term retention (using policy-based rules to meet regulatory requirements for data handling).
Digital Chain of Custody
A digital chain of custody must provide the following proof:
Recommended Storage Solution
Assureon™ Secure Archive Storage: A full-featured, purpose-built secure archive solution, Assureon offers seamless scalability to accommodate rapid growth in body camera footage and other video surveillance along with a comprehensive suite of data security features to meet strict requirements for file integrity, privacy, compliance and increasingly tighter budgets. Assureon will maximize your videos’ evidentiary weight and admissibility in court. Assureon archive storage systems can house from 3TB to multiple PB of unstructured data. In June 2015, Imation’s Nexsan Assureon was honored with the “Archiving & Compliance Product of the Year” award in the Storage Awards hosted by Storage Magazine.
City of Bryan: Nexsan Assureon archive storage solution supports law enforcement department’s in-car video program, providing both primary and backup storage – all in the same box.View Case Study