Why a hardware appliance makes sense now
Scality has long promoted the numerous merits of software-defined storage. Our vision has been based on our customers’ desire for freedom of choice, especially with regard to key infrastructure decisions such as servers, networks and data storage. Software-defined storage also brings advantages of long-term sustainability and the ability to lower costs by leveraging standard hardware prices.
Today, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture: We’re announcing the expansion of Scality’s product line to include a hardware appliance offering. So, why now?
To understand our new offering, let’s first look back to our mission of solving customer problems. We’re focused on providing solutions related to:
- Rapid growth of data in mid-to-large enterprise corporations
- The spread of corporate data across many devices (silos), locations and clouds
- The need to protect and assure the integrity of data against a wide range of threats
- Desire for affordability and sustainability
Scality has addressed these problems through our software solutions for many years. But, as most of us in the IT space are aware, the rapid rise of digital threats — especially the frequency, impact and business costs of ransomware, malware and other malicious actions — have put a spotlight on the importance of solving these challenges.
IT professionals now understand that the most cyber-resilient IT infrastructures are built on multiple layers, with an aim toward protecting critical business operations, applications and data. Immutable storage has become an essential element of a robust and resilient cybersecurity strategy as IT leaders recognize the value it provides in terms of overall ransomware protection and recovery.
Enter ARTESCA and Veeam
The road to Scality’s new hardware appliance offering begins with ARTESCA. We first announced ARTESCA with an aim to democratize S3 object storage via a feature-rich yet ultra-simple and affordable solution.
Since its introduction, ARTESCA has gained traction as an ideal backup target for mid-to-large enterprises that need an immutable solution for ransomware-proof backup data that’s fast to deploy and easy to manage. With ARTESCA 2.0, we made significant enhancements to ARTESCA’s multi-level cyber-resiliency capabilities. (Read more here.)
A notable convergence was the introduction of Veeam Software’s Data Platform V12, which fully embraces S3 Object Storage as a primary backup target. It delivers support for “direct-to-object” backups, an extended Smart Object Storage API (SOSAPI), instant recovery and more — all compatible with S3 object storage.
Veeam also prominently addresses the ransomware threat by leveraging the intrinsic immutability advantages of object storage — through integration with the S3 Object Lock API layer, the ability to set data retention policies, and the ability to enable a tamper-proof compliance mode. All in all, the combination of Veeam and ARTESCA delivers a state-of-the-art ransomware protection solution for backup data, and we foresee further strengthening of these capabilities in the coming years.
Simplifying deployment and operations for customers
Enterprise storage products are often complex to deploy and operate, as evidenced by the myriad of training, deployment and operational services offered by most vendors. From day one, Scality designed ARTESCA to be synonymous with simplicity and cybersecurity. It is a product informed by the lessons and experience we’ve gained from over a decade of working with 500+ enterprises and service providers across the globe.
Keeping the product focused on being the absolute best object storage solution for backup data — and not burdening it with additional capabilities in the form of block or file system storage — is a major aspect of this focus. We go further by adding comprehensive automation, virtualizing the underlying platform, and providing simple and intuitive management interfaces (UIs and APIs). That’s in addition to being tested, validated, and proven in production by the world’s leading backup application providers.
Software-defined storage, by definition, requires additional steps to deploy the solution together with the customer’s choice of hardware. With ARTESCA, we aimed to stay true to the goal of providing freedom of choice (the software remains hardware-agnostic), while also providing fast and simple deployment and operations.
In ARTESCA 2.0, we introduced the start of our appliance product family:
- ARTESCA software appliance: Includes a security-hardened Linux operating system distribution, validated and managed by Scality. This alone provides simplification for customers by eliminating the need to put together software + OS + hardware (in addition to many other benefits — chief among them the security hardening).
- ARTESCA virtual appliance: All of the same capabilities and services of the software appliance, but packaged into VMware-friendly OVA file format for simplified “import”-style deployment on vSphere environments.
These two offerings make big strides in achieving the goals of simplicity + cyber resiliency. The first option furthers our mission to deliver our customers freedom of choice for their storage server hardware. The second is ideal for popular VMware environments.
Introducing Scality’s new ARTESCA hardware appliance option
Let’s be clear: Scality remains a 100% software company.
The new hardware appliance is managed and made possible through an expansion of our partner ecosystem. Storage servers are procured from one of the industry’s largest server providers. Integration, testing and support are provided by large, well-known systems integrators.
We offer several configurations for the hardware appliance, ranging in size from single-node to 3-node with a choice of storage capacities:
- Single server with 96TB of capacity in 2U
- Single server with 216TB of capacity in 2U
- Three-server cluster (with integrated switch fabric), with 648TB of capacity in 8U
These offerings are true appliances in that they’re fully integrated with all required software (ARTESCA and secure OS) as well as hardware (storage server with SSD and HDD-based capacity). The clustered appliance is also fully integrated with network switch elements to provide an appliance experience for a larger capacity point — over half a petabyte.
ARTESCA appliances are the most simple and secure immutable backup storage targets validated for Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365. It’s plug-and-play. They’re engineered with features to accelerate the deployment experience to the utmost, including a one-click installer with a pre-configured Veeam profile, pre-configured security policies, metadata sizing and storage performance tuning. The appliances have been through rigorous testing and refinement to ensure that they deploy, operate and perform to peak standards, specifically for Veeam immutable backup and recovery.
What does this mean for simplicity? For Veeam customers, they now have access to:
- An enterprise-grade immutable storage offering that is super-easy to install
- An appliance management experience for customers who are accustomed to this model with easy deployment (rack/stack, boot and operate), and a single point of support for the entire solution
- A tailor-made solution that’s validated for the Veeam administrator
So, why the new hardware appliance now?
Bottom line: Customers want the ultimate experience for a simple deployment of ARTESCA with Veeam. The added hardware appliance offering now helps customers by:
- Providing a plug-and-play experience (rack, stack, boot and operate)
- Eliminating the need to install software on the storage server
- Deploying and operating in minutes
Meeting customer needs is our ultimate aim, and doing so expands the health of our partner ecosystem. While remaining a 100% software company, we continue our longstanding relationships with traditional hardware vendors like HPE and Cisco, while extending our offerings with an easy-to-deploy alternative.
The new hardware appliance offering completes the ARTESCA appliance family, giving customers the freedom to choose whatever fits their need.
Scality’s complete family of appliance offerings for ARTESCA now include:
- Secure software appliance
- Secure virtual appliance
- Secure hardware appliance for Veeam
Each of these options provides the cyber-resiliency and immutability that ARTESCA has become known for. By engineering the hardware-appliance offering for Veeam, we now provide customers with a unique combination of immutable, cyber-resilient backup storage that is also simple to deploy and affordable.
IT teams can freely choose the deployment option that best suits their needs and expectations, while still gaining all of the cyber-resiliency and immutability capabilities required in this age of digital threats.