Your Files. Your Cloud.

Multi-Cloud Global File System



The IT Press Tour recently met with the management team of CTERA, a leading provider in the global file system space, also known as cloud file storage and hybrid file storage. They enable organizations to extend cloud file services to the edge of their networks.


The global file system is a way for organizations to leverage cloud technology to scale and eliminate capacity challenges and introduce new collaboration opportunities across distributed sites leveraging the cloud as the source of golden copy data while extending files services to the edge.


CTERA is seeing more people and companies getting used to the idea of working from anywhere. Organizations are investing in remote and regional office locations, moving away from headquarters campuses. They are working to close performance and security gaps to facilitate the transition.


During the Gartner Data Conference in December, Gartner projected that cloud will double by 2025. However, during the same time period, edge is going to increase 30X. Edge is anything located away from the data center which presents the issues of bandwidth latency, access, and cost. These affect both human and machine users.


Edge is hard. Storage was designed for the headquarters. The further you move from the headquarters office the more the challenges increase. In the last year with people working from home, backup was not usable when people are not in the office, storage systems ran low, siloed systems were exposed, access control, VPN, ransomware, and authentication all became a nightmare and negatively impacted performance. Solutions for remote work cannot give solutions to access corporate file shares.


According to CTERA, in the ideal world, the employee should get the same level of service regardless of where they are located. This goes for computers and IOT. The storage system is much smaller. The cloud becomes the master golden image of the data and any location has the cache that it needs. This enables users to get land-speed performance.


CTERA envisions a three-tier core whereby an enterprise has two or three cores similar to data centers. Then a few dozen to hundreds of edges which are the branches of the country or city-level branches. Finally, there are thousands of far edges which are remote home, cameras, or IOT devices. Hybrid cloud file storage is accessible from any location, any device, and any location.


The CTERA global file system architecture is a single namespace connecting HQ, branches and users with ACL support. It provides object-native back end with cache accelerated access for remote sites. Multi-cloud scale-out to customer's private of public infrastructure. Source-based encryption and global de-duplication. Multi-tenant administration scalable to thousands of sites. Data management ecosystem for content security, analytics, and DevOps automation.


CTERA provides a global file system for unstructured data management. They are not a SaaS company in that they do not generally host data for clients. Most customers want to host their own cloud or use the public cloud of their choice so they are the service providers themselves without owning a data center. Customers can deploy to their own data center or put it in AWS, Azure, or Google. The platform allows them to build the service they need for themselves. They like the flexibility to build or customize the cloud service they need and want.


The vision for the next generation of the global file system is container-native storage. CTERA global file system for containers uses container-native CSI file services for multi-zone clusters and tethered cloud services. There is transparent multi-cloud scale-out with local caching and global de-duplication. POSIX file mount is shared between pods on Kubernetes (K8s) nodes. It provides cross-site data sync and cloud bursting as well as DevOps automation.

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