CTERA Edge X Series is a 2-node cluster of HPE SimpliVity 380 servers that is preloaded with the CTERA Cloud Gateway software, running as a VM. As an HCI solution, HPE SimpliVity is a flexible, scale-out platform that can replicate data between nodes and provide HA capabilities to the CTERA Cloud Gateway. Combining CTERA with an HCI adds an “edge computing” capability for remote office environments where CTERA has a significant installed base, and a solution for companies that are consolidating their branch office IT infrastructures, but need a resilient, enterprise-grade solution.
For HPE SimpliVity, the CTERA software provides a file sharing solution, a capability that many other HCI products have, but one that includes cloud-based backup, DR and file tiering. The X Series Edge Filer can also provide multi-cloud data management, migrating data off to private and public clouds using the S3 protocol.
CTERA released its first cloud storage gateway in 2009, a file services solution for small companies and remote offices with the ability to back up to the cloud and provide file collaboration for multiple users, helping to create the file sync and share market. CTERA has an installed base of over 50,000 cloud gateways, according to the vendor.
CTERA connects on-premise object storage or NAS from Dell EMC, NetApp, HPE, IBM, Cloudian, Scality and others with S3 storage in the public cloud from AWS, IBM Cloud, Google, Azure and others. The Edge Filer creates a local file sharing and collaboration point that’s synched with the cloud to provide global data reduction, off-site backup and DR. Running the CTERA software on HPE SimpliVity combines the data services and flexibility of an HCI with a cloud gateway and adds a local “edge computing” capability.
SimpliVity was one of the leading independent HCI vendors when it was acquired by HPE in early 2017. Their OmniStack technology provides local data reduction (deduplication and compression) on ingest to minimize storage consumption by as much as 90%, plus RAID protection at the node level and asynchronous mirroring to a second node for high availability. HPE SimpliVity’s all-flash storage gives the CTERA Cloud Gateway the performance to support a range of workloads and the scalability to expand easily.
Originally a stand-alone file server with local disk storage, CTERA’s current products are software-based solutions that can be installed on any appropriate 1U or 2U server hardware (H Series) or run as a virtual appliance (V Series) on other HCI platforms, such as Nutanix or Cisco’s HyperFlex – although the X Series is the only HCI solution that comes pre-installed and sold as a CTERA-branded product.
For more information, see the Evaluator Group Product Brief for HPE SimpliVity HCI.
Although this is being called a Hyperconverged Cloud Gateway, CTERA is not jumping into the HCI market. Instead, they are offering a more capable and more scalable platform for the Edge Filer product, one that includes advanced data services like resiliency, HA and data protection, along with local data reduction and backup. CTERA is also offering a consolidation play, eliminating application servers and virtualization hosts at the remote and branch offices that comprise their primary market, enabling these workloads to be run on the HCI. For smaller CTERA customers, buying an HCI to run their cloud gateway appliance is probably overkill, but for those that need local computing capabilities, this may be a good solution
There is something in this marriage for HPE SimpliVity as well, beyond just another OEM arrangement. CTERA provides a mature file services solution for HPE’s ROBO customer base, one that has a hybrid cloud gateway with the ability to manage data across multiple public and private clouds. For these companies, “edge computing” is something they already have, but the ability to incorporate local file services with cloud-based tiering may be worth the extra cost.