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Cloud File Sharing Services: Google Cloud Filestore

No matter which cloud you’re operating in, your file service needs to account for a large number of factors, as you can tell just by scrolling through our cloud file sharing hub.

Can your shares stay available without disruption? How accessible are they to all clients, even those using both Linux and Windows machines? Are there proper data protection features in place to prevent data loss?  What about performance: do you have a way to scale up with demand spikes? How can you manage the required backup and archive data for your share? And a very important question: how are you going to limit the costs of storing a large amount of data?

While this is just a sketch of the kind of issues that cloud admins need to address with their cloud file service, most of the major cloud providers have attempted to meet these requirements. How do they each stack up? In this series we’ve taken a close look at each of the fully managed cloud file services available today, and the solutions they offer. In this post we’re taking a look at the cloud file sharing options on Google Cloud.

First, we’ll see the new fully managed cloud file share service from Google Cloud named Cloud Filestore. We’ll also take a glance at NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP, now available for use as Google Cloud file storage.

Google Cloud Filestore

On Google Cloud, cloud file sharing is handled by Cloud Filestore. Cloud Filestore is a fully managed, high performance file system for NFS. Users have two performance options available to best match their workload: Standard with 5,000 IOPS, and Premium with a max of 30,000 IOPS.

When it comes to the size of the file share, Cloud Filestore requires a minimum size of 1 TB with a maximum size ceiling of 63.9 TB. An instance of Cloud Filestore is available in only one Google Cloud zone and does not include any way to failover if the zone where it resides becomes unavailable. That means, should there be an outage, users can expect downtime. Backups would need to be performed by the user, as Cloud Filestore has no snapshot feature currently. However, average availability for users on either service option stands at a solid 99.9%.

The GA release of the service took place in April 2019, which makes this the newest of the major public cloud file services available, which may be a factor to consider when looking to deploy an enterprise-level workload. Full integration with other Google Cloud services may make it attractive to users who are already in that cloud.

Benefits

  • Managed service by Google Cloud
  • Ready-to-use NFSv3-based NAS storage in the cloud
  • Standard and Premium performance options

Considerations

  • Size limited to 63.9 TB
  • Backup facility is completely manual
  • No guaranteed SLAs
  • Backup method or snapshot functionality
  • CIFS/ SMB file sharing

Cloud File Sharing from NetApp: Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Once again users are faced with the dilemma: What if I have to use Windows machines and Google Cloud Filestore can only deal out NFS? The solution is NetApp’s Cloud Volume ONTAP, now available in AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the cloud version of the trusted ONTAP software that enterprises have relied on for file services for decades. It can run on the cloud provider of your choice using their compute and storage services, with a maximum storage capacity of 368 TB. That outclasses what the public cloud’s file services make available in terms of size, but size isn’t all that Cloud Volumes ONTAP offers.

There are data protection features that make sure your file share is never at risk of losing data. NetApp Snapshot technology creates point-in-time copies of your file data. These snapshots are efficiently created using the WAFL layout, and update incrementally so transfer and storage costs are kept low.

Another big advantage is multiprotocol access.  File sharing with Cloud Volumes ONTAPgives users the ability to configure multiprotocol access for volumes. Even single volumes can be set up to access both SMB/ CIFS and NFS at the same time. This makes shared access easier for all users, and on all devices. See how to set up multiprotocol access for Cloud Volumes ONTAP here.

Another major value add to using Cloud Volumes ONTAP is the storage efficiency. With a full complement of cost-saving features, Cloud Volumes ONTAP is able to condense file data, cutting down the expense of cloud storage for file shares. And with the ability to deploy in Google Cloud as well as AWS and Azure, users have a clear path to avoiding vendor lock-in.

Benefits:

  • Support for CIFS/ SMB file sharing as well as NFS.
  • NetApp Snapshots™ for point-in-time recovery and archiving.
  • Multicloud and hybrid cloud integration.
  • Comprehensive data management suite, offering clone, replication, migration and other capabilities.
  • Cost-saving storage efficiency features.
  • Available for use with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

Comparison Table: Google Cloud Filestore and Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Comparison Table: Google Cloud Filestore and Cloud Volumes ONTAP

More on File Storage

As this review of Google Cloud file storage options makes clear, there are a lot of considerations involved with choosing a cloud-based file storage. For more on file share services in the cloud, and more on Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a file share service, read all of the articles on our cloud file sharing hub:

Sign up for a free private preview of Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Google Cloud here or get started with a free trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP on AWS or Azure here.

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