Hybrid Cloud Storage at Scale with ClearSky

By Dewin Chandra, Sr. Product Manager, ClearSky Data

Traditional storage infrastructure is often siloed and, as data demands continue to grow, increasingly complex to maintain. Aside from primary storage arrays, additional hardware, and software networking, upgraded infrastructure is required in order to ensure complete data protection with high availability. Handling these demands involves different solutions for data access and protection: on-site backup, off-site backup, and disaster recovery (DR). Enterprises with traditional storage infrastructure often suffer from inconsistent and costly data access and protection because of the inherent challenge of managing data across multiple sites—both on-premises and in the cloud.

Value

For enterprises adopting the hybrid cloud, ClearSky delivers on-demand primary storage as well as "self-protection" in the form of automated offsite backup, and disaster recovery as a service.

Enterprises pay for their data once and access it anywhere, on-premises or in the cloud.

ClearSky simplifies end-to-end data management by converging primary storage with data protection infrastructure and providing access from multiple locations. This combination of features provides software-defined primary storage, secondary storage, and integrated business continuity without requiring additional hardware, cooling, power, space, or continuous replication between locations. The elimination of replication links, planning, and cloud latency delivers flexibility to let you shift workloads across datacenters and private and public clouds seamlessly, and realize a 50% total cost of ownership savings compared to traditional storage solutions.

Use cases

  • Cloud migration.
  • Multi-cloud data access.
  • Cloud optimization.
  • Data center footprint reduction (primary and secondary).
  • Eliminate secondary storage infrastructure.

ClearSky architecture

As shown by the following diagram, the ClearSky network consists of three key components:

Representation of cloud deployment showing ClearSky components between clients and cloud provider resources

Overlaying this globally distributed architecture is ClearSky's patented Smart Tiered Caching™ technology. Smart Tiered Caching continuously categorizes data and caches it in the layer that best matches usage requirements while conforming to enterprise data policies. Hot data is cached on the ClearSky Edge Cache located in your data center. Warm data is cached in ClearSky Points of Presence (PoPs) across the global network. All enterprise data, including cold data, is stored in the ClearSky Backing Cloud. Data is automatically moved between cache layers and the Backing Cloud throughout the data's lifecycle as usage characteristics or your policies change.

ClearSky Edge Cache

The ClearSky Edge Cache, deployed in your data center or colocation cage, functions as a write-through caching appliance for frequently accessed data.

The Edge Cache processes all incoming data to optimize, characterize, and secure it. The Edge Cache optimizes data with industry-leading deduplication and compression rates, reducing the amount of data to be stored and transferred. The Edge Cache also continuously monitors and analyzes workloads to intelligently cache data at the block level. Hot data stays in a large read cache on the Edge Cache, making it quickly accessible to enterprise applications. All data is encrypted at the Edge Cache and remains encrypted and segregated from other enterprises' data throughout the data's lifecycle. The encryption keys remain only at the Edge Cache, under the customer's control. Only a properly configured and authenticated Edge Cache can decrypt data.

ClearSky's Edge Cache is built on standards-based platforms, using flash drives and a 2U form factor. With dual controllers, switches, and power supplies, the Edge Cache is fully redundant, offering enterprises high levels of availability with minimal latency.

Representation of 3 levels of caching: hot, warm, and cold

ClearSky Points of Presence (PoPs)

Data management and protection occur in ClearSky's globally distributed Points of Presence (PoPs), removing the need for local data management. PoPs facilities run compute workloads on a highly redundant infrastructure that functions as a virtualized array controller, operating on local high-capacity flash storage and cloud storage. PoPs are located in top-tier enterprise-class data centers in major metro locations within 120 miles of the customer.

PoPs serve multiple purposes, including data management, data protection, and caching. The ClearSky service manages and optimizes cache layers and cloud resources in its PoPs, including all metadata and warm data that might be accessed by the customer. It also manages data backup, archive, and DR in the PoPs, ensuring that data is fully protected. The proximity of the PoPs to the customer's applications, along with dedicated high-speed connectivity, ensures that average round-trip latencies are always within two milliseconds. This near-local speed meets latency requirements for most enterprise applications and ensures a fast and consistent user experience.

Data in the PoPs always remains encrypted. Only you have the keys to decrypt the data, making it impossible for ClearSky or other customers to access enterprise data stored in the PoPs. In addition, your data is completely segregated from data belonging to other ClearSky customers.

ClearSky Backing Cloud

ClearSky PoPs are connected to cloud storage using a dedicated, redundant, high-speed network operated by ClearSky. As the ClearSky Backing Cloud, Cloud Storage provides best-in-class, multi-regional, highly durable, and scalable object-based storage.

All data is stored in the Backing Cloud along with multiple point-in-time backups of all enterprise data; backups are performed automatically as part of the write process. The data always remains encrypted and segregated in the cloud. By leveraging Cloud Storage, ClearSky provides at least eleven 9's of data durability at the block level. You always have access to your data from the cloud.

Customer success

A collection of logos for partners who use ClearSky

What's next

  • Learn more at the ClearSky website.
  • Try out other Google Cloud Platform features for yourself. Have a look at our tutorials.
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