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Panzura Cloud Storage Gateway Refresh Delivers More Control

May 11, 2012
Network Computing
by Sharon Fisher

Version 3.0 of the operating system for the Panzura Global Cloud Storage System features support for an extended file system access control list (ACL) that gives companies more control over which users have access to which files, as well as enhancements to the reporting features that are intended to make it easier for users to identify and troubleshoot potential problems. The company said it had also enhanced the Quicksilver Cloud Storage Controller to support up to one-third of a petabyte, a 50% improvement over the current model of the hardware, as well as improving performance by up to ten times.

Panzura’s Quicksilver Global Cloud Storage System 3.0 was winner of the Data Center & Storage category of this year’s InformationWeek Reports’ Best of Interop Awards. Judge Howard Marks says it hits all three of this year’s hot storage technologies: data deduplication, SSD-based storage and cloud capabilities. Each Panzura Quicksilver appliance is a cloud storage gateway providing a cached file system front end to public or private cloud storage systems, from Amplidata to S3.

The Quicksilver appliance stands out, says Marks, when an organization uses multiple appliances to create a global distributed file system with the cloud storage as its back end. To deal with this challenge, data in the Global Cloud Storage System is encrypted and globally deduplicated at each appliance, eliminating the security risks of public cloud storage and minimizing the monthly cost.

“This [new version] is going to get us to our next use case, file server replacement,” says Rob Springer, head of technology for Relativity Media LLC, a Beverly Hills, Calif., film studio that makes and distributes content such as sports, television, music, and motion pictures including Mirror, Mirror, Act of Valor, and The Raven. The company has been using the product since October, 2011, for archival storage.

“It got us out of the tape business,” he says. The new version of the product allows him to have a head count of three or four people rather than 10 to 12. “Labor is a huge cost,” says Springer. “Anything that moves me to a lights-out solution and server room is a winner.”

Version 3.0 of the software has now been tested with up to 10,000 user-managed snapshots per controller, as opposed to previous versions that had been tested with up to 1,000 snapshots, says the San Jose, Calif., company, which described the product as “NetApp in the sky.” Other new features include improved management, such as support for the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), as well as support for Symantec NetBackup and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager.

The announcement is a mix of a momentum release and an overhaul of the product, and indicates that Panzura is on a good track, says Mark Peters, senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. On the one hand, the new release doesn’t make much difference because Panzura is still using an integrated system and globally distributed file system to give users the upsides of cloud storage, such as economy, scale, and flexibility, without the downsides such as losing control, performance and functionality, he says. On the other hand, this new release is testimony to the large size and capability that is now being driven with cloud storage, showing that this market is now about big, serious platforms, with sophistication and integrated management to match, he says.

The Panzura Global Cloud Storage System, including version 3.0 of the operating system and a single controller, is available now and is priced starting at $22,999. Other product features, such as pinning, which improves performance by storing data in the controller’s local cache, as well as deduplication, are available for an additional price that the company refused to reveal.

Panzura Cloud Storage Gateway Refresh Delivers More Control

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