CASFS+: A New Kind of Cloud-Based File System

In a data-driven world, the amount of data an individual organization has to work with has grown in spades in recent years. To satisfy the rising demand, new platforms that ease your burden of handling the data storage needs have also grown in numbers.

The most prominent of them are cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based file systems are becoming increasingly popular among data scientists as well as other entities that have to deal with large-scale file storages.

Organizations are coming to terms with the difficulties of handling a large-scale file system without a significant amount of technical resources and seeking the help of cloud-based solutions that simplify the complex process of migrating to the cloud and managing a cloud-based file system.

CASFS+, as a platform born to solve this problem, has been able to take a step ahead and developed a solution. From its “Lift and Shift” concept, to providing an impeccably secure cloud storage, CASFS+ offers a number of crucial and easy-to-use features to its users.

In this post, we will highlight the benefit and easibility of CASFS+ in several critical aspects related to a cloud-based file system.

Lift and Shift

The specialty of CASFS+ is the “Lift and Shift” approach it facilitates for file system migration.

 CASFS+ provides the luxury of migrating your on-premises data to the cloud without any additional training on too technical aspects of the process. The migration process with CASFS+ is seamless, easy to execute, and requires no changes to the codebase on your behalf. It completely removes the hassle of having to know a system’s code for a successful migration that is common with other cloud-based storage systems.

After the completion of a painless migration, you will be able to run the same applications you were running on-premises with no additional downtime.

Though some other cloud-based file systems support Lift and Shift in principle, they require additional changes to the codebase and system architecture overtime to get the full benefit of the features they provide. Migration to these platforms involves a steep learning curve in terms of system configuration and a lot of time and technical knowledge for successful completion.

Deduplication

Deduplication is the concept of preventing the storage of redundant content in the file system. It saves the client from having to pay for storage space unnecessarily used by redundant content and helps increase the performance of the system.

CASFS+ is a content-addressable file system that uses a hashing system to prevent duplication in its file system. If two files in the storage have the same content, hashing helps CASFS+ to use only a single object to refer to each of them.

Security

CASFS+ provides an easy to use set of security configurations that essentially sets it apart as one of the most secure cloud storage available today.

It supports the creation of standard POSIX ACLs. On top of that, CASFS+ introduces the concept of data hiding.

With data hiding, a user who doesn’t have read access to a file or directory won’t see the file/directory listed at the directory level. It preserves the confidentiality of data better than simple read-access prevention. Most importantly, it prevents a malicious user from gaining insight into high-profile data stored in the system.

Another novel security measure CASFS+ introduces is the date range restriction. You can define a date range within which other users can access a file. The permitted date range is recognized using the file name. With a file name in the format, YYYYMMDD, and date restricted_attribute set to 1, access permissions to a file could be limited to a certain year, month, or date.

Additionally, CASFS+ uses a client-trust model to prevent rogue users from gaining access to stored files. An untrusted single-user client is not provisioned access beyond what is defined in user credentials. Meanwhile, a trusted multi-user client can use their credentials for access control checks to gain access to other parts of the file system.

Along with simple encryption, another feature data hiding provides is additional protection to the stored files to preserve their confidentiality. It makes CASFS+ the perfect fit for a file system concerned about the security of stored data.

Another security feature provided by CASFS+ is that it logs user actions and exposes them as audits so that the client can inspect them to discover if there are any unusual user behavior or issues.

Budgeting

CASFS+ introduces new budgeting features to manage your file system so that your organization can limit your teams and users from overusing cloud servers and ending up with a huge AWS bill. With new budgeting features, you can configure the allowed budget for individual users and teams. In the case of a team, the system admin allocates the budget to the team leader and the team leader is responsible for distributing the budget among the team members.

If your business is concerned about user spending spiraling out of your spending power, CASFS+’s cost management solution will be an ideal fit for you.

Caching

Caching is a performance-enhancing feature adopted by many modern file system solutions. CASFS+ uses a configurable amount of space in the local storage to cache frequently used data.

It uses a caching algorithm to determine which items are stored in the cache and which are removed from it. The use of cache allows CASFS+ to mimic local-disk performance on a cloud-based storage.

The hashing system allows the caches to be stored locally or distributed among multiple devices. The use of hash keys ensures that the cached version stored in any distributed device is the most recent copy of the file.

Auto-scaling

CASFS+ is capable of dealing with billions of files and petabytes of data without compromising on the aggregate bandwidth supported by object data stores like S3.

When auto-scaling the file system servers, it uses the Node Balancer to dynamically increase the number of servers according to the number of jobs and the memory and CPU requirements for each job. The Node Balancer also handles the termination of created servers once the jobs are over.

Using the budgeting feature of CASFS+, the system admin can limit the number of servers each user can dynamically create for their jobs.

CASFS+ also monitors the performance of servers and alerts users of any server issues using email alerts. For system admins, it provides more functionality to clean up issues, manage job queues, etc.

Conclusion

Though there is a number of cloud-based file system solutions in today’s market, CASFS+ provides a unique set of features and functionality that are not provided by the others. At the same time, it manages to deliver the necessary requirements for such a file system including better performance, security, and scalability.

CASFS+ solution of the “Lift and Shift” approach stands out among the rest considering some of the existing solutions are too technically-heavy for an organization to handle on their own without expert advice and training. The added features including data hiding and date range restrictions introduce a new level of security to the platform.

CASFS+ has a set of functions ranging from performance, security, cost management, reliability, to ease of use, and provides the best and complete user experience to the users.

If your organization is planning to take your on-premises storage to the cloud, CASFS+ provides the an incredibly inclusive solution in the modern market. It caters to the needs of every entity, including data scientists to private businesses and government organizations, with a feature set covering numerous requirements for a cloud-based file system. 

The Pandemic and The Cloud

How the Pandemic Intensified Demand for Cloud Computing

The cloud becoming the dominant solution to our data storage needs was a destination we were heading towards before the Covid-19 breakout. But the ensued pandemic has fast-tracked that evolution in a way we didn’t dare to predict pre-2020. From organizations being forced to work from home to lockdown procedures that limited movement, the post-pandemic world has grasped the real risk of on-premise data solutions—and unconsolidated data solutions—with first-hand experience.

It wasn’t a coincidence investments in data center infrastructure showed 19% returns in the first half of 2020, a period in which returns of most industrial sectors plummeted. People in the industry have now understood the potential and necessity of cloud computing for a future of secure, accessible and available data storage.

In this post, we are going to explore how the pandemic has affected the industry of cloud computing and what it would mean for you as an institution looking to migrate to a cloud workspace of your own.

Embracing the Cloud Amid the Pandemic

Most industries, whether it was IT, healthcare, education or government, had to adapt to remote work and work from home environments in a matter of days given how suddenly the pandemic became widespread. Most of them turned to cloud computing to find the fastest possible solutions to virtually continue their operations.

It’s not a stretch to say that cloud computing became the thread our economy has been hanging by since the start of the pandemic. With its ability to provide fast solutions and relative ease of migration, cloud computing kept businesses and their operations afloat and allowed employees to safely work from home.

A survey conducted by Flexera during the first quarter of 2020 discovered 93% of enterprises have integrated multi-cloud storage and 87% integrated hybrid cloud strategy. Also, 59% of enterprises expected an increase in their cloud-related spendings compared to the previous year.

According to the Synergy Research Group, pandemic-induced cloud computing transformation has taken the revenue of the cloud infrastructure market to $129 billion from the previous year’s $97 billion. 

Data from the Synergy Research Group also show that enterprises spent over $37 billion on cloud infrastructure in Q4 2020, a 35% increase from the expenses in Q4 2019.

When we look at these numbers, it’s safe to say the pandemic has resulted in a cloud computing revolution around the world. Even now, when the vaccine rollout has begun the process of containing the virus, companies are pushing towards finding secure cloud storage and secure cloud workspace solutions with the lessons learned from this unanticipated and devastating situation.

With the emergence of new technologies like 5G and AI, cloud computing still has room to grow and more value to offer to its customers. Hosting your organization’s data, file systems, applications and software, and workflow in the cloud is an investment for the future of your company. With the fast spread of Covid-19, we have seen how quickly the means of the economic world can change and the challenges it could pose.

Challenges of Increased Demand in Cloud Computing

While we have seen many organizations embrace cloud computing during the pandemic, the increased demand and need for fast solutions paved the way for several challenges in the industry too.

The biggest concern organizations migrating to the cloud had to address was ensuring the security of data hosted in the cloud.

Even though major cloud service providers have secure cloud storage options, their advanced configuration processes could result in loopholes in the system. Because the pandemic prompted fast migration responses from organizations, it’s possible their security could have been compromised when setting up the system.

As people began working from home, securely accessing cloud workspaces required special security procedures, like VPNs. Setting up VPNs for employees scattered around a region also under lockdown proved to be a challenge to organizations migrating to the cloud.

Increased network demand, caused by increased cloud demand, put an extra strain on the cloud service providers when trying to maintain undisrupted services. We saw the impact of increased demand when a popular streaming service reduced its picture quality to keep the services available to everyone. In an attempt to find solutions to this problem, 2020 brought a boom in data center constructions across the US with the aim of providing sufficient infrastructure to the growing demand.

While cloud-based solutions have provided ease of maintenance and expansion, access to better resources and increased accessibility to organizations, some have also added a considerable increase in spending to their operational bills.

According to the survey conducted by Flexera, businesses reported their cloud-related spendings exceeded the budgeted amount by an average of 23%. And 47% expected their cloud spendings to increase in the next 12 months. As this data suggests, we can understand that the high costs of cloud workspaces are one of the factors hindering the growth of businesses, especially small businesses. Cloud computing service providers are aware of this hindrance and some have found solutions.

The cloud services industry is now evolving fast as it looks for strategies and solutions to face all of these challenges. New cloud service platforms are entering the market with solutions that add improvements to these areas, some platforms more effective than others. The pandemic-driven digital transformation in the industry is a sure sign that whatever shortcomings still prevailing in cloud computing are going to be resolved sooner than we expected.

Migrating to the Cloud During a Pandemic

With the uncertainty of the pandemic keeping the business environment off-kilter and the rapid growth of the cloud services industry at the moment, right now is the best time for your business to move away from on-premise storage facilities and embrace the ease provided by a cloud workspace.

Setting up a secure cloud storage with minimal time delay, lowest downtime and low cost is not an easy feat. But there is a solution to that too. 

The Lift and Shift solution of cloud migration with CASFS+ provides a transition that fulfills all of these needs. You will also be able to access the same on-premise applications you used prior to your shift to the cloud. The best thing about cloud migration with CASFS+ is that their lift and shift approach saves you from having to make platform-specific adjustments to applications.

Summary

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the field of cloud computing to the point we are seeing a massive cloud revolution in the world today. Organizations are moving to secure cloud storage after realizing the reliability of on-premise storage solutions can change on a dime.
As we discussed in this article, the pandemic has significantly changed the outlook of the industry and created promising prospects for its improvement. There isn’t a better time for businesses to take the leap to the cloud than right now. And with secure cloud computing services, like CASFS+, able to achieve a smooth transition and allowing clients to start enjoying the benefits of the cloud right away, it really couldn’t be any easier.