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Are Caching Gateways Replacing Enterprise NAS Devices?

Enterprises have long relied on network-attached storage, or NAS, to support incoming files and manage data from multiple users and client devices. While these devices have been updated to support the various iterations of technology through the years, they may be on the verge of being replaced by an entirely new device – the caching gateway or edge filer.

To be clear, caching gateways aren't exactly a new or recent breakthrough. In the simplest terms, they simply combine the act of caching – which is commonly used by operating systems and even individual applications to speed up the processing and output of recent or frequently used files – with a dedicated network gateway to facilitate increased performance and service speeds.

Some enterprise setups even utilize two separate NAS devices. Whereas the first device is meant for local storage, the second typically exists as an off-site form of secondary – or backup – storage. However, there are serious drawbacks to this approach – including data accessibility, added costs and more – that make it less efficient than a caching gateway or edge filer.

What is a Caching Gateway (also known as an Edge Filer)?

Caching gateways utilize local storage, typically in the form of a HDD or SSD, in order to cache important data from a remote storage system – often in the form of the cloud. Not only does this decrease data storage costs by as much as 90% when compared to traditional NAS infrastructure, but it offers seamless, immediate file access and file sharing between all employees who have been granted access to the system.

Edge filers are assembled and manufactured by many different companies, but one of the most successful brands to date is known as Avere Systems. One of their most recent lines, the Avere FXT 5000 series, consists of three separate devices that boast up to four different configurations in order to meet the needs of all enterprise and high-performance environments.

These devices include the FXT 5850, the FXT 5600 and the FXT 5400. While all three of the devices are fully configurable for all flash environments and primary workloads, the 5850 features the highest networking bandwidth and highest SSD capacities. The 5600 is best for midrange computing while the 5400 is more of an entry point for users who are new to the world of edge filers and caching gateways.

Avere was also the recent recipient of a significant investment by the Google team. Meant to facilitate hybrid cloud growth and development on behalf of Avere, Google joins the likes of Western Digital Capital, Menlo Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and more – all of which have invested in Avere.

Rob Bianchini, CEO and president of Avere, recently spoke about the FXT 5000 line of caching gateways by saying: "For the last several years, we’ve been laser focused on expanding our product offerings to help customers overcome their biggest infrastructure challenge - embracing the cloud." He continued his statement by saying: "This latest investment is a testament to our momentum, the strength of our partnerships, and the hard work our team has dedicated to delivering innovative solutions."


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