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The Amazon Storage Gateway: The What and How of it All

by Team Nuggets
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Published on December 27, 2017

One of the biggest benefits of using Amazon Web Services is its Storage Gateway service. It makes using AWS cloud storage easier than ever before. Discover what Storage Gateway is, how it works, and why it could be your new best friend.


The Cloud Storage Gateway Solution

You might wonder how you could ever become best friends with a storage gateway. If you have ever used a cloud-based object store with interfaces such as SOAP or REST, then you realize how difficult cloud storage can be. Why?

Because applications are expecting storage resources with file-based interfaces such as CIFS or NFS. And that disparity can be frustrating for both you — and the machine.

Instead, say "Hello!" to the storage gateway of your dreams. This virtual appliance sits in your data center to present either file or block-based interfaces to your applications. It also performs protocol conversion to send data directly to cloud storage services.

In addition, the data is encrypted before sending. The encryption takes place over a secure sockets layer. For volume and snapshot data at rest, they are encrypted based on 256-bit encryption keys. Furthermore, this storage gateway supports CHAP for iSCSI, where the server sends a challenge message and verifies the response.

And, the AWS storage gateway will compress and dedupe the data so that data speed is significantly enhanced. Plus, you can set up your storage gateway for recent backups. As a result, you can quickly retrieve your latest backups without having to spend time searching for them.


What is AWS Storage Gateway?

This phenomenal tool is designed to connect storage in the AWS public cloud to your on-premises applications. The AWS storage gateway also helps to save costs due to secure and speedy transfer between your on-premises software and cloud-based storage.

You can back up point-in-time snapshots of on-premise application data. Yet, that's not all. The AWS Storage Gateway can also mirror on-premise data. Amazon designed the storage gateway to be used as extra storage and is used directly with AWS, which more and more companies are turning to for their needs.



To get the AWS Storage Gateway, you can download it as a virtual machine image. It's then installed in the data center. You access and interact with the gateway through the AWS Management Console. Here are just a few things the gateway supports:

  • Gateway-cached volumes

  • Gateway-virtual tape library (VTL)

  • Gateway-stored volumes (for storing primary data in Amazon Simple Storage Service or S3)

This is a hybrid storage service that also includes bandwidth management and efficient data transfer.


Replaces Backup Tapes

If you're tired of tape automation equipment and backup tapes, we have good news: The storage gateway can be configured as a tape gateway to replace both tape automation and backup tapes with cloud storage and local disk, which can save money.

The virtual tapes can then be migrated to Amazon S3. If you're ready for optimized transfers — this is it. With bandwidth management, compression and encryption all built in, you get the performance you want and need — and you can still tune the scale and latency for your workloads.


Makes It Easy to Bring Data to the Cloud

No one likes DIY storage. Everyone wants a user-friendly and integrated solution. This is exactly what AWS Storage Gateway provides. You might compare it to a block storage device — if cloud storage is the modern hard drive. The storage gateway makes it so much easier to play with and transfer files to the cloud.

Now, imagine a situation where all your files are lost. What if you don't have another data center? Well, you can simply install the storage gateway again as a virtual appliance. Then, you simply transfer backup sets back to the gateway to decompress and pass back to your applications.  

Even your most active data gets local network and disk performance. How? The storage gateway caches data locally. So it feels like a local storage model with all the advantages of the cloud.

Even if this process might be slower than local storage, at least you know you can recover your files. You also get reliable and predictable performance, along with easy integration.


Distributed Environments

If needed, you can implement your storage gateway within a distributed environment and have several gateways. You might have varying environments where data is shared throughout distributed sites. Yet, being part of the cloud, you get unparalleled disaster recovery features with built-in security.


Final Thoughts

As always, you do your research before moving to a new platform or service, but the AWS Storage Gateway simplifies cloud storage and makes it much easier to experiment. Plus, you can't beat the experience of local disk performance with all the security and data recovery advantages of the cloud.

Learn more about the AWS Storage Gateway in Anthony Sequeira's AWS Solutions Architect – Storage Services course.


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