Tiger Technology is a company with deep roots solving the storage management problems of companies in the media and entertainment market. Tiger is now broadening its reach to enterprise data centers as a whole. By proving themselves in the very demanding M&E market, the enterprise can have confidence its solutions are reliable, high performance and scalable.
Tiger Bridge is a software only data lifecycle management solution. It is based on NTFS and extends NTFS to the cloud, to other NTFS stored or even to tape libraries. Architecturally, the solution installs at the filter layer between the Windows operating system and the NTFS file system. Once installed, IT sets policies that as data meets certain criteria it is moved or copied to either an Amazon S3 or compatible cloud or an on-premises S3 compatible object store. In addition to S3 the solution also supports Microsoft Azure and IBM ICOS. When data is moved, the solution leaves a stub-file in its place so if the data is needed in the future it can be recalled, either by a user or an application, transparently, without IT administration intervention.
An Extension Not Another Silo
Tiger Bridge meets the first requirement of a modern archive solution. It does not create yet another mount point that IT needs to migrate data. With Tiger Bridge nothing needs to be mounted or provisioned. Instead, it integrates directly into the NTFS file system, extending it into the cloud or to tape, which simplifies IT’s job significantly.
Solving the Transfer Bottleneck
Another advantage of the extension approach is each file server can communicate directly to the cloud. While this approach does lead to more cloud storage pools it does provide scale as more file servers have the Tiger Bridge installed on them. The organization has the flexibility to decide if it wants the simplicity of a single pool of cloud storage or the scale of multiple servers writing simultaneously to the cloud.
Smaller Failure Domain
With the extension approach the “failure domain” is smaller. The gateway approach has a single point of cloud entry which means a failure at the appliance means all communication with the cloud stops until IT replaces the gateway. To protect against a gateway failure these solutions strongly suggest creating a cluster of gateways, which of course raises the cost.
Since each file server is communicating directly to the cloud if that server were to fail for some reason, only the data on that server would become inaccessible. The solution is an extension of Windows. That means protection from failure only requires the same protection that a typical Windows server would, which is something IT should be very familiar with. But that protection level can be implemented on a server-by-server basis depending on its criticality to the organization.
Stub File Protection
Since Tiger Bridge is stub file based, protecting these stub files is critical. Tiger does an excellent job here. All metadata is copied to the cloud, as well as being stored on-premises. On-premises access reduces response time and to the user makes it feel like the data is still “there.”
Metadata in the cloud means if there is a failure at the primary site, including complete site loss, a secondary site can be stood up quickly. All that requires is installing a new server with the Tiger Bridge software and copying down the metadata from the cloud. That should take only a few minutes to complete. From that point users can start accessing data as needed because it appears as if it is all there. When a file is accessed it is retrieved from the cloud. Essentially the software creates an automatic prioritized restore.
There are several use cases for Tiger Bridge. The easiest first step is to use the product as a solution to the unstructured data backup problem. Most file systems today have millions, and in some cases billions, of files that can take a toll on traditional backup solutions. To get around that many modern backup solutions leverage image-based backups, but these solutions struggle managing the individual files.
Tiger Bridge allows a file by file “backup,” which essentially copies the files to the cloud but it removes the file from on-premises storage. Later, as the organization gains confidence in the solution, it can slowly start implementing policies like “remove and stub all files not accessed in the last three years”. Gradually, as confidence grows, the timeframe can be shortened until production storage is only being used for active data.
The solution can also be used to extend storage beyond the capacity of the current file server user data is on. Instead of expanding the storage system or worse buying a new server, simply install the Tiger Bridge software and move the oldest data to the cloud, creating room for new data.
Most video surveillance architectures typically have several file servers getting feed data from cameras. In the past, as these systems reached capacity data was deleted from them. However, legal and corporate requirements are suggesting organizations need to retain this type of data for a significantly longer period of time.
To meet the longer retention requirements many organizations are manually copying this data to the cloud or an object storage system on a periodic basis. If they want automation, they need to copy the surveillance data to a NAS gateway, which will then move it to object storage based on policy.
The Tiger Bridge solution allows the management and moving of data directly from the Windows File Server that is originally capturing all the data. The result is a simpler data flow and a much more cost-effective architecture.
There is no question data is growing, and much of that growth is unstructured data on Windows file servers. As a result, archive and data management solutions are constantly being introduced to the market. Tiger Technology’s solution extends NTFS seamlessly to the cloud and provides transparent access to migrated data while protecting the stub files it leaves behind. Another advantage Tiger Technology has is that it has vetted its solutions in the M&E market for years. That means it approaches the enterprise as a seasoned veteran; not a startup with only a few customers.