Google Cloud adds new hybrid file storage partnership with Nasuni

Nasuni partnership fills a gap for GCP for providing global file sharing cloud alternative for Windows and NAS filers.


For most organizations, the transition to the cloud will not involve suddenly flipping a switch. Especially for back office or other modern "legacy" systems, transformation strategies to cloud-native deployment are not likely to happen overnight.

Nasuni is one of a broader group of providers that are taking classic network-attached file storage (NAS) to the cloud. Google Cloud (GCP) is announcing a partnership with Nasuni to resell and integrate its cloud file storage with Google Cloud object storage. The company has roughly a dozen patents for mounting file storage within cloud object stores. By contrast, most NAS providers typically are confined to using more expensive block storage.

For GCP, Nasuni becomes a SaaS partner that fills the gap in its offerings, from Google Drive that services consumers and small businesses on one end, to Google Filestore, which is set up for high-performance scenarios such as hosting an SAP application. Nasuni fills the middle ground, providing shared global file storage typically used for sharing Microsoft Office and other Windows files.

Nasuni works as a software-defined virtual gateway between on-premises systems and distributed file storage in the cloud. Each customer site has at least one of these local access points, that runs on any hardware (the software turns it into a dedicated gateway appliance) that Nasuni terms "edge devices." All edge devices are centrally controlled to ensure that each points to the most current version of the files that could be stored in more than one cloud data center or region. When data is accessed, it is cached in local SSD storage and treated as hot data until the data stops being used.

Nasuni's secret sauce is how it handles the metadata around files stored in file systems, and how it provides a global file system minimizing contention. Metadata is stored as immutable objects in cloud object storage, and is versioned to support snapshots. Unlike cloud provider file storage systems, Nasuni doesn't put any limits on the number of snapshots the customer maintains; they leave that up to the customer's choice. As for global access, Nasuni's cloud file system follows an approach that is akin to the multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) that many distributed databases use for handling write locks and updates.

Nasuni is currently listed in the marketplaces in AWS, Azure, And GCP. The new relationship with GCP takes this an extra step, as it becomes one of the stable of third party partner solutions that Google resells. And there is yet another differentiator to the partnership that is technology-based. Unlike AWS and Azure, GCP keeps archive in cloud object storage online, pointing to significant potential savings for keeping cold data accessible.