Exploring AWS Storage Gateway: Unveiling the Three Gateway Types for Hybrid Cloud Storage

4 min readJul 8, 2023

AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid cloud storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enables on-premises applications to seamlessly integrate with AWS cloud storage. It acts as a bridge between your on-premises environment and AWS storage services, allowing you to extend your on-premises storage to the cloud.

A Storage Gateway can be deployed directly in your on-premises environment as a virtual machine (VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Linux KVM), in AWS as an Amazon EC2 instance, or as a pre-configured standalone hardware appliance.

Features of AWS Storage Gateway:

  • Support for standard storage protocols such as NFS, SMB, iSCSI, and iSCSI VTL, so existing applications can use AWS Cloud storage without changes.
  • A local cache for low-latency access for your applications.
  • Optimized and secure data transfers between on premises and the AWS Cloud.
  • Interoperability with other AWS Cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Amazon S3 Glacier, Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, Amazon EBS, and AWS Backup.
  • Integration with other AWS services such as AWS Key Management Service (KMS), AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon CloudWatch.

High-level architecture of Storage Gateway:

High-level architecture of Storage Gateway

Three common use cases for Storage Gateway include,

  1. Moving backups to the cloud
  2. Presenting on-premises file shares backed by cloud storage
  3. Providing on-premises applications low latency access to data stored in the cloud
Three common use cases of Storage Gateway

Some examples include:

  1. Storing SQL Server backups in Amazon S3 using AWS Storage Gateway
  2. Replacing physical tape-based backups with Tape Gateway.

Types of Gateways:

AWS provides four different types of Gateways,

1. Amazon S3 File Gateway

2. Amazon FSx File Gateway

3. Tape Gateway

4. Volume Gateway

File Gateway:

The File Gateway provides file-based access to Amazon S3 storage. It allows you to store files as objects in Amazon S3 and access them using standard file protocols like NFS (Network File System) and SMB (Server Message Block).

This gateway type is ideal for applications that require file-level access to data stored in Amazon S3. It seamlessly integrates with existing on-premises file-based applications and provides low-latency access to frequently accessed data through local caching.

Amazon S3 File Gateway
Amazon FSx File Gateway

Volume Gateway:

The Volume Gateway provides block-level access to AWS cloud storage using the iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) protocol. It presents cloud-backed volumes to your on-premises applications as iSCSI disks.

There are two modes available within the Volume Gateway:

  1. Stored Volumes: In this mode, the entire dataset is stored on-premises, while a portion of the data is asynchronously backed up to AWS. It provides low-latency access to your frequently used data while ensuring the durability and backup of your entire dataset in AWS. Stored Volumes are ideal for workloads that require low-latency access to the entire dataset.
  2. Cached Volumes: In this mode, the primary storage resides in AWS, and frequently accessed data is cached on-premises. It optimizes storage costs by minimizing the on-premises storage footprint while providing low-latency access to frequently used data. Cached Volumes are suitable for workloads that require cost optimization and have a larger dataset where not all data needs to be locally accessible.
Volume Gateway

Tape Gateway:

The Tape Gateway is designed to replace on-premises physical tape libraries with virtual tapes stored in AWS. It presents a virtual tape library (VTL) interface to your existing backup applications. The Tape Gateway allows you to archive and restore data to AWS, leveraging the durability and cost-effectiveness of Amazon S3 and Glacier.

It provides a seamless transition from physical tape-based workflows to cloud-based tape storage, making it easier to manage and protect your long-term data archives.

Tape Gateway

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