Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage from UKCloud is a secure next-generation storage platform designed to address a wide variety of use cases. It’s based on object storage technology which is natively optimised for cloud storage in terms of scale, resilience and accessibility.

G-Cloud Service ID number: 5802 7925 5973 428 (Assured) 5553 9976 7103 278 (Elevated) 

OVERVIEW

Traditional storage solutions are typically characterised by large capital expenditure, an intensive management and support burden, and forever swing between under-capacity and over-capacity. Cloud Storage benefits customers as there are no upfront costs and no minimum term commitments. Customers merely pay for what they actually use, when they actually use it.

Like many cloud storage solutions, such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure, UKCloud’s Cloud Storage is a compelling alternative to traditional storage systems. It’s the ideal solution for common storage requirements such as:

  • Archiving to the cloud — for organisations looking to migrate valuable but seldom used data to a cost-effective, reliable and secure cloud storage repository via PSN, internet, Janet and N3 networks. This releases capacity on your existing storage solutions so you can avoid the cost of upgrading.
  • Backup to the cloud — a location-agnostic (UK-based), secure and cost-effective alternative to storing backups on unreliable tape media or expensive local disk solutions. Recover your data even if your primary site suffers a catastrophic failure.
  • Personal storage in the cloud — replace your inflexible network drives (F: drive) with secure, always available cloud storage that can be accessed by any device and from any location. Enhance the durability and availability of your personal data.
  • Master data in the cloud — use cloud storage as the primary repository for your existing applications and users. Benefit from a familiar interface and accelerated performance by using the new generation of cloud storage gateways.

The UKCloud assured cloud platform is designed and optimised to meet the unique information assurance needs of UK public sector organisations.

It gives these organisations the benefits of secure, purpose-built, on-demand resources that meet their information assurance requirements, on a true utility (pay for what you use) consumption model.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

Feature Benefit
Allows you to pay for what you use scale resources indefinitely and on demand Removes the complexity of capacity management
Natively enables application deduplication and redundancy Ensures the highest level of data availability without the cost and management burden of on-premises storage solutions
Enables access to storage via HTTP(S) Allows access to storage from any device. Simplifies the integration of object storage systems into cloud-based solutions. Removes reliance on the availability of web, file or FTP servers
Offloads objects (files, media, images) from compute resources Reduces the load on server resources
Automatically replicates and distributes objects to give high levels of data durability and availability Eliminates the need for cloud backup and recovery

SERVICE INFORMATION

Organisations can choose from a range of service levels;

  • STANDARD – data is stored in a single named UK-sovereign data centre with data protection using GeoParity coding. This provides a degree of fault tolerance and so improves data durability.
  • ENHANCED – data is stored in two UK-sovereign data centres, with a copy maintained in a primary named UK data centre and copied to a geographically remote UK data centre. This provides the optimum degree of fault tolerance (including site failure) and corresponding data durability.
  • ENHANCED PLUS – data is stored in two UK-sovereign data centres, with a copy maintained in a primary named UK data centre and copied to a geographically remote UK data centre. ENHANCED PLUS provides the optimum degree of fault tolerance (including site failure). This does incur significant storage overheads and therefore higher costs but also provides the largest number of data fragments for greater data durability.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

UKCloud’s Cloud Storage provides the following technical features:

  • Native support for REST interfaces for reliable connectivity over the internet, PSN and other wide area networks
  • Use hundreds of existing Amazon S3–compatible applications via the UKCloud’s S3-compatible API
  • Wide support for developer languages and frameworks — simple, secure access using almost any language or framework including .NET, Java, C, Flex, PHP, Python, Ruby and JavaScript with language bindings; new modules for Drupal and content-addressable storage (CAS) developers are also available
  • Manual or automated data transfer — organisations can manually upload data or use a range of automated solutions, such as EMC Networker, CommVault or Riverbed
  • Relief from capacity management issues related to LUNS, RAID groups and file systems
  • Integration with existing native and virtualised enterprise applications, with no change to the application or stack
  • Compatibility with a range of third-party cloud storage gateway appliances such as EMC TwinStrata, Panzura Alto Cloud Controller, Seven10 StorFirst EAS and StorSimple Appliance; cloud storage gateways can be installed on premises or in the cloud and provide NAS or SAN presentation of the storage layer

SERVICE OPTIONS

There are three service options to choose from:

  STANDARD ENHANCED ENHANCED PLUS*
Service level agreement 99.95% 99.99% 99.99%
Protection level Local protection (single site) Local and remote protection (dual site) Local and remote protection (dual site) with increased erasure coding fragments
Scalability Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Retention Configurable Configurable Configurable
Protective monitoring Included Included Included

 *ENHANCED PLUS is subject to availability 

Additional Service Option:

Global Load Balancing

  • Enables customers to direct internet traffic across multiple end-points (which can be across different sites or different platforms)
  • UKCloud subcontracts this service to Neustar, global leaders in network and security services
  • Requires a 12-month minimum term commitment

FAQs

SERVICE

Q     What is the service?

Cloud Storage from UKCloud is a secure next-generation storage platform designed to address a wide variety of use cases. It’s based on object storage technology which is natively optimised for cloud storage in terms of scale, resilience and accessibility.

Q     Where will my data be physically stored?

Data will be stored in one or both of our highly resilient tier 3, UK-sovereign data centres, which are separated by over 100km.

Q     How much data can I store?

Our Cloud Storage solution can scale to meet the most demanding storage requirements.

Q     How many copies of my data are included?

Cloud object storage technology works in a slightly different way to traditional local storage solutions that tend to use RAID as a method to provide data durability.

Instead, Cloud Storage provides data resilience using EMC GeoParity coding. The higher the service level, the higher the data durability.

MANAGEMENT

Q     How do I access the platform?

The service is API (application programming interface) accessible, so is an ideal target for customer applications. It can also be used by existing systems.

In addition, the platform can be accessed using a variety of software tools such as cloud storage gateways, file browsers and other software products.

Documentation on ways to interact with the platform is available from the Knowledge Centre on the UKCloud Portal.

Q     Is data accessible via the PSN Assured connection also accessible via the internet?

Cloud Storage in our Assured OFFICAL domain uses the same environment for both PSN Assured and internet connections. Although it isn’t possible to bridge between these connections, any objects placed in Cloud Storage via PSN Assured will also be accessible via the internet using the appropriate customer credentials.

Q     What API’s are supported by the platform?

Our Cloud Storage supports the native Atmos RESTful API and provides an Amazon S3-compatible API.

Documentation and user manuals for supported API calls are available from the Knowledge Centre on the UKCloud Portal.

Q     How frequently can I back up data?

The frequency of data backup is defined and managed by your organisation administrator.

Q     What reports can I get about the storage usage?

We provide tools for monitoring used capacity and storage growth via the UKCloud Portal.

Q     What software tools are provided?

UKCloud doesn’t provide software tools for accessing the platform, but can point you in the direction of paid-for and free third-party applications.

SUPPORT

Q     How do I raise a support ticket?

UKCloud’s secure online Portal provides the most common service management functionality. Alternatively, you can contact support by phone or email.

Q     How do I manage my services?

Cloud Storage on the Assured OFFICIAL domain can be managed over the internet (or other connectivity) via the UKCloud Portal.

For the Elevated OFFICIAL domain, security requirements are stricter and require either a PSN-approved connection, UKCloud Secure Remote Access or CAPS-approved encryption.

Q     What are your service maintenance windows?

As far as possible, planned maintenance of UKCloud’s infrastructure takes place between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00 (UK local time) Monday to Sunday, or between the hours of 08:00 and 12:00 (UK local time) on a Saturday or Sunday. We provide customers with at least 14 days’ advance notice of planned maintenance.

As far as possible, emergency maintenance of UKCloud’s infrastructure takes place between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00 (UK local time) Monday to Sunday, or between the hours of 08:00 and 12:00 (UK local time) on Saturday or Sunday, unless there is an identified and demonstrable immediate risk to a customer’s environment. Whenever possible, we provide customers with at least six hours’ advance notice of emergency maintenance.

Q     Does the Cloud Storage solution support browser-based form POST upload?

Atmos fully supports standard REST API commands (Post, Put, Get, Delete, and Head).

Atmos REST supports use of HTML forms to create and update objects as outlined on page 30 of the EMC Atmos programmer’s guide (available on the

UKCloud Portal), under the heading ‘Using HTML forms to create and update content’.

Q     Is Atmos object synchronisation (for example, protection offered at each VM types) synchronous or asynchronous?

Protection is asynchronous — a single copy is created, and subsequent copies of the data are created when bandwidth allows.

During busy periods, this protection can take longer to complete.

ONBOARDING

Q     How can I get started with the service?

Within five days of accepting your order, we’ll create your primary administrator account and send you a welcome pack, which includes the URL for the UKCloud Portal and associated authentication details.

Once you’ve signed up to the service, you’ll be issued with unique credentials (User ID, Subtenant ID, resolvable hostname and shared secret), which you simply enter into an EMC Cloud Tiering Appliance or other compatible automated solution.

BILLING & LEGAL

Q     What is the smallest unit of time that I will be billed for?

Storage is billed on a per-GB per-month basis, and is based on utilisation of the storage platform across the month.

Q     How is my storage bill calculated?

Used storage is calculated on a daily basis. The data for a month is collected, and the average consumption calculated and rounded up to the next whole number to provide the number of GB consumed in a month.

Q     How can I view billing information?

Billing information is available via the UKCloud Portal.

Q     How do I pay for the service?

Billing for the service is monthly in arrears.

Payment can be made by direct bank transfer (BACS/CHAPS).

Q     What are the termination fees?

There are no termination fees for the service. You’re responsible for extracting your own data from the platform if required.

UKCloud may make an additional charge for transferring data out of the service

Q     Is there a free trial?

Yes, we offer a 30-day free trial so that you can test and evaluate our service without commitment. Your trial provides you with a live environment on the UKCloud platform to test our services and verify whether they are suited to your needs.

SECURITY

Q     What data is suitable for our cloud?

The service is hosted in the UK and operated by security-cleared staff. It has extensive independent validation (including CESG design reviews) that it is fully aligned with the 14 CESG Cloud Security Principles, and is therefore ideal for all data classified at OFFICIAL (including OFFICIAL SENSITIVE).

 

Q     Can systems on different UKCloud platforms communicate with one another?

UKCloud’s Cross Domain Security Zone allows customers to use the UKCloud-defined and managed UKCloud Guard or a customer-designed and managed Walled Garden to enable communication between platforms.

For more information, see the Cross Domain Security Zone Service Definition.

Q     Is there a protective monitoring service?

Protective monitoring is included for our IaaS platform and follows GPG 13.