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Amazon Web Services Enters the Datacenter with Storage Gateway

Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Wednesday introduced a service that lets enterprises connect their on-premises data with its cloud-based storage.

The company's AWS Storage Gateway consists of an appliance that sits in the customer's datacenter and allows them to mirror their local storage with the cloud. This lets customers create backup and disaster recovery scenarios using Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3).

Customers can install the appliance, which can support up to 12 volumes totaling 12 TB of data. The offering allows customers to install multiple gateways and they can choose between Amazon's datacenters in Northern Virginia, Oregon, Ireland, Singapore or Tokyo.

The gateways will create VM images based on VMware's ESXi 4.1, though AWS Evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that the company plans to support other VMs in the future. Customers must have adequate local disk storage in the form of direct attached storage of a SAN for application data used by iSCSI storage volumes. Barr said Amazon currently supports iSCSI storage volumes using Windows and Red Hat iSCSI Initiators.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explained the offering in a separate blog post.

The AWS Storage Gateway is a service connecting an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage. Once the AWS Storage Gateway's software appliance is installed on a local host, you can mount Storage Gateway volumes to your on-premises application servers as iSCSI devices, enabling a wide variety of systems and applications to make use of them. Data written to these volumes is maintained on your on-premises storage hardware while being asynchronously backed up to AWS, where it is stored in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. Snapshots are encrypted to make sure that customers do not have to worry about encrypting sensitive data themselves. When customers need to retrieve data, they can restore snapshots locally, or create Amazon EBS volumes from snapshots for use with applications running in Amazon EC2.

Amazon said the AWS Storage Gateway costs $125 per month per installed gateway. Snapshot storage pricing starts at $0.14 per GB per month (the company posted a more detailed price list here). Amazon is offering the first 60 days on a free trial basis.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/26/2012 at 1:14 PM


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