The Dell EMC Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) is policy-based software for file tiering, migration, and archiving. It is delivered either software on EMC-certified hardware or as an appliance or as an integrated virtual machine for VMware ESX. It is no longer available as a Dell EMC-branded appliance.
The virtual machine product is called Cloud Tiering Appliance/VE (CTA/VE). Both can be configured for high availability (CTA-HA and CTA/VE-HA). For this product brief, CTA will be used to describe functionality, independent of delivery mechanism or HA configuration.
With the exception of special support for snapshots on Dell EMC Unity storage systems, called Block Archiving, tiering and archiving are essentially the same functionality, with the usage determined by the nature of the secondary and tertiary targets. Multi-level tiering is supported.
Retrieval of tiered files is directly from their current location via stubs left in the original location(s). Migrated files are moved to a new location without leaving stubs. File migration is supported from NetApp and EMC storage to EMC VNX, VNXe, Isilon, and Celerra storage systems. Cold file “repositories” can be migrated between cloud storage vendors, AWS/S3 to Azure, for example.
CTA can be integrated with other Dell EMC storage systems for enhanced functionality: Centera for compliance requirements, Data Domain for retention lock and deduplication of backup and archived files, and Isilon for WORM requirements.
CTA is integrated with storage platform APIs so native functionality and existing processes can be maintained by the storage administrator. Backup and antivirus software will not recall files from archive.
Targets can be other storage file systems, public and private clouds, and object storage including Dell EMC ECS, Virtustream, Amazon S3, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and Microsoft Azure. CTA can read iSCSI snapshots and write them to a cloud repository as an object. Dell calls this “snapshot shipping.”
Before CTA acquisition, the Dell EMC documentation should be consulted to determine current source/target combinations.