Cloud computing has changed the way businesses function and revolutionized data storage and processing methods. AWS is the market leader in the cloud computing space today, far ahead of its competitors. In this blog, we will try to explain each concept within AWS Storage Gateway in a structured manner:
What is AWS Storage Gateway?
AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid cloud storage solution from AWS helping companies solve their problems and bridge gaps between on-premises and cloud environments. This service helps companies overcome their challenges in maintaining an on-premise environment for some applications and adopting the cloud environment for achieving scalable and reliable solutions in the meantime.
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What Challenges Does AWS Storage Gateway Service Solve?
Many companies manage workloads through the existing infrastructure of data centers and remote offices. AWS Storage Gateway helps in creating a seamless extension of the on-premises environment of companies. While companies start evaluating their applications, they find that some applications are easy to move to the cloud, while others involve complex processes. Some applications function better if they remain on premises as it may enhance their performance, help meet compliance regulations, or because they require tight integrations with the local IT infrastructure. These use cases influence a company to evaluate hybrid cloud storage solutions that help in offering on-premises access to data stored in a cloud service provider.
It is imperative to discuss the challenges, concerning storage management, that companies need to overcome to run different applications. These challenges are:
- Companies want to run existing applications without changes in the database, files, backups, etc., and, at the same time, do not want to miss out on the infinite scale of the cloud.
- Companies need local access to data present in the cloud, but they also want to access cloud capabilities, analytics, etc.
- Companies must integrate enterprise security and management tools for meeting compliance, but cloud solutions will help in managing and monitoring everything from a single dashboard.
- Companies need reliable and easy cloud connectivity, even when the data is stored in multiple locations.
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How Does AWS Storage Gateway Service Help?
AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid cloud storage solution offering on-premises access to infinite cloud storage. This service helps in reducing costs concerning various use cases while simplifying storage management. Storage Gateway helps in:
- Transferring backups to the cloud
- Providing on-premises apps access to cloud-backed storage without disrupting business operations by maintaining user and application workflows
- Delivering low-latency data access to on-premises applications while leveraging the agility and security of cloud
- Supporting compliance efforts with capabilities such as encryption, audit logging, etc.
Storage Gateway offers easy access to the cloud; it is simple to deploy and activate and offers access to the companies’ applications. Local cache stores the most recent data on premises for easy access, and at the same time, cloud storage offers scalability, data protection, security, availability, and performance. Local cache stores also enable on-premises apps to use cloud storage by offering low-latency data access over standard storage protocols.
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Key Features of AWS Storage Gateway
AWS Storage Gateway offers a steady management experience using AWS Console. Companies use this to monitor, manage, and secure data using AWS services such as AWS KMS, AWS IAM, AWS CloudWatch, and AWS CloudTrail. We will discuss a few key features of Storage Gateway below:
Fully Managed Cache
A fully managed cache provides low latency access to data stored on the AWS platform by maintaining a cache of reading data or recently written data. The gateway deploys a read-through, and write-back cache and commits data locally with write operations acknowledgments. Finally, it copies data to the cloud in an asynchronous fashion that reduces latency in applications.
Standard Storage Protocols
AWS has designed this hybrid cloud storage solution in such a way that it seamlessly connects the local production and backs up applications with standard storage protocols:
- Network File System (NFS)
- Server Message Block (SMB)
- Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI)
- Internet Small Computer System Interface – Virtual Tape Library (iSCSI-VTL)
Storage Gateway allows companies to implement this hybrid storage solution without having to modify applications.
Secure and Optimized Data Transfer
Storage Gateway securely uploads changed data, downloads data requested in the most secure fashion, and encrypts data using SSL while in transit between gateway appliances and AWS Cloud.
It also integrates with AWS Backup to help companies control backup and recovery of Volume Gateway volumes, simplify managing of backup, and help you backup compliance requirements.
High Availability on VMware
Storage Gateway offers high availability with VMware. It integrates with VMware vSphere High Availability, which helps in automatically recovering from any interruptions in services in under a minute. This feature helps in protecting storage workloads in case of a hardware, network, or hypervisor failure, storage error, software error, etc.
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Types of Storage Gateways
AWS Storage Gateway combines all the benefits of on-premises infrastructure with the advantages of the cloud environment. To support different Storage Gateway use cases, AWS offers its users three different types of gateways to meet varied needs:
- File Gateway
- Volume Gateway
- Tape Gateway
We will discuss these gateways in detail to get a better understanding. There are two sub-gateways in File Gateway—Amazon S3 and Amazon FSx. We will also explain AWS Storage Gateway architecture.
File Gateway—Amazon S3
Amazon S3 helps perform different tasks such as:
- Storing files as objects using SMB and NFS protocols.
- Accessing the same files via SMB and NFS protocols through your data center or even Amazon EC2.
- Accessing the files as objects directly.
S3 offers the following key benefits:
- S3 helps in connecting to the cloud to store backup images as durable objects within S3. Customers of any size or industry can connect to S3 for storing and protecting data.
- Storing data to S3 means you will be able to access S3 capabilities. Accessing various modern tools will help you cut down costs on long-term archiving, simplify audit and compliance requirements, and secure all of your data irrespective of whether it is on-premises or on the cloud.
- File data can be stored as S3 objects and use native AWS services to run big data analytics, machine learning, and high-performance computing (HPC) and to gain insights from unstructured datasets while still integrating on-premises environments.
File Gateway—Amazon FSx
Amazon FSx offers on-premises access to fully managed, highly scalable, and reliable file shares in AWS via SMB protocol, which is fast and of low latency. FSx helps in accelerating file-based storage migration to the cloud enabling faster performance, enhanced data protection, and reduced cost. FSx offers the following benefits:
- FSx provides low-latency performance for data that are frequently accessed. Due to this feature, the read and write activities are seamless while transferring data between the on-premises location and the cloud.
- You can benefit from automated, crash-consistent backups, and also utilize AWS Backup for backup and retention features that are centralized.
Volume Gateway presents block storage volumes of applications via the iSCSI protocol. These data volumes can be intermittently backed up as timeline snapshots of these volumes. They can then be stored as Amazon EBS snapshots in the cloud. This gateway stores and manages on-premises data in Amazon S3 on your behalf and operates in either stored mode or cache mode.
In cache mode, the primary data is stored in Amazon S3; at the same time, frequently accessed data is retained locally in the cache for low latency access. In stored mode, the primary data is stored locally and the entire dataset is available for low latency access on premises, while also backing it up asynchronously to S3.
Benefits of Volume Gateway:
- It integrates seamlessly with on-premises applications.
- It provides low latency access to cloud-backed storage.
- It offers flexible data protection and recovery.
Tape Gateway enables you to substitute physical tapes with virtual tapes in AWS without having to change existing backup workflows. It supports all popular backup apps and caches virtual tapes on premises to make data accessible with low latency. It also encrypts data between gateway and AWS to enable secure data transfer, compresses data, and transitions virtual tapes to bring down the storage costs.
Tape Gateway can be used to backup to AWS and archive data that you need to preserve to AWS. Tape Gateway offers several benefits that are mentioned below:
- It imitates physical tape libraries and eliminates cost and complexities in administering the infrastructure of physical tapes while providing more longevity than physical tapes.
- It uses S3 buckets to store virtual tapes using various Storage services. This helps users avoid managing their own Amazon S3 storage. In short, Tape Gateway helps in simplifying storage management.
- It stores and compresses archived virtual tapes at the lowest cost classes available. These classes are Amazon S3’s storage classes, Glacier Deep Archive, and Glacier Flexible Retrieval. Tape Gateway offers a feasible option to reserve long-term data on the AWS platform at a low cost. It involves only usage costs, omitting extra charges, and upfront fees.
- It encrypts both data at rest and data in transit between AWS and the data center. It also helps in meeting the compliance standards.
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AWS Storage Gateway Pricing
AWS Storage Gateway Pricing comprises the following components:
- Storage Pricing: In storage pricing, the fees of all storage services used, with the gateway, are included. For example, S3 and EBS.
- Request Pricing: The charges for data operations that are performed on AWS Storage services via the gateway come under the request pricing component.
- Data Transfer Pricing: The charges that are incurred for any data transferred out of the AWS Storage service into the gateway appliance comes under data transfer pricing.
- Hardware Appliance Pricing: If AWS Storage Gateway is deployed as a physical appliance, the additional cost incurred in purchasing the appliance is known as hardware appliance pricing.
Now let us discuss the pricing per type of Storage Gateway:
Amazon S3 File Gateway Pricing
- Amazon S3 stores Amazon S3 objects, and the billing is done accordingly.
- The data that the gateway stores to AWS storage is billed at $0.01/GB.
- Amazon S3 files are billed as S3 requests.
Amazon FSx File Gateway Pricing
Amazon FSx File Gateway is priced at $0.69/hour and the storage is billed according to the Amazon FSx for Windows capacity.
AWS is the leader in today’s public cloud market, offering hundreds of world-class features to its users. It has taken several steps in the right direction to bring more and more companies, businesses, and industries to the cloud infrastructure. And that’s the reason why AWS is dominating the cloud computing market. Gateways help companies maintain their on-premises infrastructure while at the same time benefiting from the cloud’s modern capabilities.