New bi-directional cloud replication highlights SwiftStack 5 software release

SwiftStack expands the one-way cloud replication it introduced last year, as part of its strategy in expanding from what was initially an on-prem solution, to one capable of managing a multi-cloud hybrid cloud.

Mario Blandini, SwiftStack’s VP of Product Marketing

San Francisco-based object storage vendor SwiftStack has announced its SwiftStack 5 software release. The big news here is that its Cloud Sync capability can now replicate data bi-directionally between the Amazon and Google clouds and the customers’ on-prem storage.

Swiftstack, which has its origins in the OpenStack Swift project, started up as a commercial venture in 2011. They give enterprise customers the ability to stand up a service like Amazon S3 inside their own data centre, behind their own firewall, rather than in the public cloud. They differ from other object storage vendors with similar capabilities because they store data on servers, rather than conventional storage. Not surprisingly, Cisco is a major partner of theirs.

“There wasn’t a lot of pervasive use of the public cloud by enterprises when we started,” said Mario Blandini, VP of Product Marketing at SwiftStack. “We were initially purely on-prem. However, last November we introduced one-way cloud syncing capability, which opened up several public cloud buckets in a hybrid cloud solution, so the customer can now have public cloud buckets on the back end as well.”

SwiftStack supported both Amazon and Google from late last year. This week, they are also announcing an extension of their relationship with Google, in conjunction with the Google Cloud Next Conference 2017, which begins on Wednesday of this week. Swiftstack has now joined the Google Cloud Technology Partner Program, which they say will let SwiftStack software better manage data placement across on-premises infrastructure and Google Cloud Platform storage services to take advantage of cloud bursting.

The missing link here is Microsoft Azure, and Blandini said that it’s on the roadmap, but is more complex than the other two.

“The Azure API is different enough that we decided to focus on Amazon and Google as Number One and Number Two,” Blandini said. “It will be an engineering effort to incorporate the Azure API into the product.”

The expansion of the cloud syncing capability to allow data to now be synchronized back from the public clouds to on-prem is a big deal, Blandini said.

“The one-way syncing we introduced last year was just from on-prem to the public cloud, although it was fully policy driven, and stored in cloud-native format,” Blandini said. “Bi-directional cloud synchronization lets you use those public cloud buckets. It also lets people do the right work in the right place, because not all workloads are practical in the public cloud.”

Bi-directional synchronization lets data put in the cloud to leverage cloud bursting be synced back where it can be utilized locally or used in the next step of a hybrid workflow. It also gives customers using public cloud for offsite archiving more immediate access when that data is automatically brought back on-premises.

Blandini indicated that two-way sync fully enables the multi-cloud data centre, which he said will be a key part of the hybrid cloud for enterprises going forward.

“We are seeing more people who want their workflow to operate across multiple clouds,” he said. “The future of the data centre is multi-cloud rather than just hybrid cloud.” That will allow setting of policies where storage can be distributed among hybrid clouds by any policy, whether it be the lowest price or something else.

“You can expect to see more multi-cloud in the future from us, because multi-cloud is what people are looking for.” Blandini emphasized. “We are really becoming a company that’s more about data management, and not just storage.”

Other enhancements to the SwiftStack 5 software include improvements to the SwiftSure client to allow users to interact using their desktop. Some other improvements to durability with erasure coding, and more scalable containers, are also part of this release.

The next scheduled release of the SwiftStack software is June 25, timed to co-incide with Cisco Live.