An outcome of DCIG’s research in SDS for file storage, the analyst evaluated 18 companies for a multi-site file collaboration solution use-case across 6 different categories. This report, available for free download, provides guidance on the DCIG TOP 5 solutions for providing effective file collaboration for distributed workforces.
Many organizations rely on effective file-based collaboration for core business processes. This worked well when employees sat in offices with fast links to file servers or NAS. However, today’s modern workforce now spans the globe. When a dispersed workforce needs to work collaboratively on files using legacy systems, the result is frustration, lost time, lost money, and organizational risk.
Along with the change to a distributed workforce, organizations are integrating SDS solutions into their storage infrastructure for the increased flexibility, agility, and capabilities these software products offer. Many SDS-based file-storage solutions include features that enhance multi-site file collaboration and bring multiple benefits.
Scalability. As an organization grows over time, these file storage solutions allow IT departments to easily accommodate adding users, capacity, and collaboration services. The best software products provide consistent performance while scaling.
Version control. As a notable feature, these solutions help manage, track, and retain changes to files over time. Users can roll back to an earlier file version when mistakes are made or when an earlier version of the file is preferred. These solutions often provide audit trails that present all interactions with a file for compliance and security.
Modern file collaboration. These software products support file and folder sharing with internal and external stakeholders outside the organization. The degree of access can be customized based on need. Changes to collaborators’ files are automatically updated to the authoritative source wherever located. To speed synchronization, only the portions of a file that have changed are transmitted across the network. One common feature of these solutions is their ability to handle large files smoothly.
Reduced storage capacity. By centralizing shared files and implementing effective version controls, companies realize savings on file storage. Many offerings also utilize compression and de-dupe for more efficient storage and reduced data transmission. Thus, organizations save file storage costs and reduce WAN bandwidth needs.
Public cloud integration. SDS solutions commonly integrate with public cloud services. This opens opportunities for public cloud or hybrid-cloud deployments. Organizations can leverage public cloud storage for archiving, backup, or hosting its files for collaboration. Plus, public cloud providers offer a number of features for securing and protecting data from cyberattacks and unforeseen events.
Data protection, security, and control. With these products, IT administrators can holistically manage shared file data. IT departments experience control through their ability to assign file permission attributes at a granular level. And organizations can leverage data security features to protect their data from unauthorized access.
Fast file access. Frequently, these software products integrate technologies that provide fast access to active files for distributed teams and remote end users. For example, while the authoritative file may be stored in a private or public cloud, active data is cached locally for each office or end user. This speeds up performance and overcomes WAN latency issues when users or applications access data. File changes are updated on the back end and invisible to the end-user. As a result, all users have a near-immediate view of file updates, contributing to a positive end-user experience.
Automation. These file collaboration solutions provide automation features that save time and speed digital production. Many solutions support APIs that allow organizations to integrate file workflows with other software applications. Organizations can automate and orchestrate complex collaborative processes that otherwise would be error-prone manual endeavors. Automation saves organizations time and money and increases revenues by speeding up workflows.
In summary, these solutions speed file collaboration, improve end-user experiences, strengthen security, and reduce organizational storage needs. Ultimately, capabilities like these are essential for increasing the quality and speed at which organizations can produce digital assets for their internal and external stakeholders.
- Acronis Cyber Infrastructure
- Buurst SoftNAS
- Cloudian HyperFile
- Cohesity SmartFiles
- Nexustorage Nexfs
- OSNexus QuantaStor
- OpenDrives Atlas Core
- Peer Software PeerGFS
- Quantum StorNext
- Resilio Connect
- Scality Ring
- StoneFly SCVM
- Tiger Technology Tiger Bridge
- WEKA File System
- Zadara zStorage
Based on its evaluation of these features, the following storage software providers earned DCIG Top 5 award (in alphabetical order):
• Tiger Technology
Top 5 Rising Vendors Multi-site File Collaboration
It addresses key challenges of managing and orchestrating data stores and data services across siloed edge, core, and cloud locations. By abstracting all, or subsets, of an organization’s underlying storage infrastructure, it provides a parallel global file system that allows organizations to deliver high-performance read/write of data anywhere and orchestrate data across otherwise disparate storage systems. It works with all major cloud providers so organizations can manage data across multiple clouds and different cloud regions along with on-premises and edge data stores from any vendor. Organizations can start small with its single software package that installs on bare metal servers, type-two hypervisors, and natively in the cloud, then grow Hammerspace incrementally for new use cases and locations.
Notable features that helped Hammerspace earn top 5 award include:
Global data management. It provides a standards-based uni ed namespace across storage systems and cloud providers. Because of this unified namespace, infrastructure managers can manage, monitor, and analyze the performance and health of their entire on-premises and cloud data ecosystem. The firm’s dashboard provides insights to optimize storage resources, identify concerns, and proactively address issues. With Hammerspace, administrators can holistically secure and protect their enterprise file data using its many data security and protection features, such as anti-virus integration, auditing, backup, DR, encryption, immutability, permission controls, and snapshots.
Global data orchestration. Company’s software makes file metadata common for all users and applications, regardless of where the files are actually stored. Leveraging the power of both file system metadata and custom metadata into a common layer metadata control plane lets organizations globally orchestrate their data in ways unavailable with legacy storage systems. With Hammerspace, organizations can move data transparently based on predefined policies triggered by one or more metadata variables. Expanded possibilities open up as the vendor enables organizations to automate complex work ows involving users and applications worldwide and at scale. These capabilities bring agility, innovation, cost reduction, and competitive advantages to enterprise organizations.
Global file collaboration. Regardless of the file storage protocol, firm’s orchestration engine allows authorized users to access and collaborate on files stored in different locations as if they were local. This background operation is transparent to users and applications. The company enables real-time collaboration, even when different users or applications are working on the same file. Updates are made at the metadata level to avoid collisions. Real-time synchronization technology and file collaboration features ensure that every user and application has the most up-to-date version of any file. Combining firm’s file collaboration features with its data orchestration capabilities enables organizations to significantly shorten production timelines for complex projects.
They represent any S3-compliant object storage as a local le system, providing a high-performance cloud-native le service tuned to creative collaboration needs. Since the LucidLink file service connects and performs like a conventional hard drive, allowing virtually unlimited users to connect to cloud storage using any desktop application. These capabilities enable creative users to work together on a shared data set as if they were in the same location. The company, with basic, advanced, and custom licensing tiers, works with nearly any public or private cloud storage vendor of the customer’s choosing.
Notable features that have helped LucidLink earn top 5 award include:
Simple architecture. Utilizing a hub and spoke topology, Filespaces consists of 3 main components: the desktop client software, the metadata service, and the object store. The client software, available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, provides the local storage experience for users wherever they are located. The metadata service presents file system metadata to all client nodes. The 3rd component consists of the object store, where all file content is securely stored and streamed on demand as needed. Firm’s architecture makes scaling easy for both expanding capacity and users.
Local file system experience. The LucidLink desktop client software presents cloud storage as a conventional mount point, no different than any local hard drive. To equate the performance of a local disk over distance, LucidLink stores files in 256KB blocks, making it possible to stream just the minimum needed by a desktop application at any moment in time. This reduction in overhead means that even large video files can be streamed in real time from the cloud despite inadequate bandwidth at the endpoint. The performance and user experience benefit from other elements of firm’s technology, including intelligent prefetching, local caching, metadata synchronization, and splitting the data and metadata onto entirely separate planes. The vendor further empowers collaboration by integrating with popular desktop creative tools.
Encryption. The vendor can dramatically lessen the security concerns of a modern workforce remotely working from one another over distance, encrypts both file data and metadata in transit and at rest using AES-256 encryption. Each file and folder has its own encryption key managed by the customer’s desktop instance. Users can see only that to which an administrator has granted them access. As part of firm’s “zero-knowledge” encryption model, neither LucidLink nor the cloud provider can view customer data anytime. Finally, LucidLink protects its customers from ransomware through encrypted, immutable snapshots, allowing organizations to restore files, folders, or the entire Filespace to the last snapshot before a ransomware attack.
It empowers organizations to deliver performance, capacity, and scalability from a single storage infrastructure. Its SDS deploys on x86 hardware, as a VM, in the cloud, or in Kubernetes environments. Enterprises can also combine on-premises and cloud-based Quobyte deployments into highly effective hybrid cloud storage systems. Infrastructure managers will find Quobyte flexible in the hardware and drive configurations it supports even within the same cluster. With Quobyte’s manage- ment console, infrastructure managers can set storage and services policies, monitor real-time performance and data integrity, run analytics, and configure important alerts. The company makes its software available via a free community edition and via an all-inclusive license that includes 24/7 support via email, phone, or Zoom.
Notable features that helped the firm earn a top 5 award include:
High-performance SDS. The company bases its storage software on a parallel distributed POSIX file system. Built for high performance computing, its architecture can issue parallel reads and writes to all nodes of the storage cluster. This approach especially benefits large data sets, analytics, and ML workloads. Its distributed architecture avoids relying on any controller node that could become a point of failure. As more nodes are added to the cluster, performance scales linearly. Doubling the node count doubles the performance. Linear performance scaling provides a clear understanding of how adding resources impacts workload performance.
Multi-protocol le collaboration. The vendor provides unified file and object storage in the same namespace. With Quobyte, regardless of the le access protocol, users and applications can access and collaborate on data from any interface, including Linux, Windows, MacOS, and more. Firm’s users can share their data across the globe via S3. Locking (byte-range or file-level) is maintained across all file protocols that support file locking. Firm’s high-performance SDS solution makes it suitable for diverse teams, whether working or collaborating on small files or massive 4k and 8k video files.
Self-healing SDS. The company integrates many features that ensure data availability during component failures, outages, or disasters. It automatically monitors and detects problematic connections and components and then reacts based on preset responses. These actions may be as straightforward as removing a network path from service or initiating an automatic failover to a redundant storage node. Other self-recovering and self-healing features include end-to-end data integrity checks, replication, erasure coding, and volume mirroring. Combining these capabilities with vendor’s security features such as encryption, ACLs, multi-tenancy, and immutability ensures organizational data is both secure and available for users and applications.
It offers a different approach from traditional hub-and-spoke file collaboration tools. Built on a peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture, its distributed and multidirec- tional solution replicates and synchronizes files in parallel across multiple endpoints at once. Providing materially faster synchronization than legacy approaches, organizations can keep data current across multiple endpoints in the same or different locations and to remote and hybrid teams. This faster synchronization becomes especially noticeable when numerous nodes (3 or more endpoints) and large data sets are involved. In remote and hybrid work, the firm enables multiple collaborators in multiple locations using different devices to make changes to the same files in near real-time. In the background, the company reliably hashes and replicates changes to other connected devices in a many-to- many full mesh replication scheme. Resilio Connect’s ability to reroute around network and system outages enhances availability and resiliency across servers and sites.
Notable features that helped Resilio Connect earn a top 5 award include:
Synchronization without limits. Resilio Software can detect and synchronize changes to millions of files in real time. Organizations can architect file synchronization across as many servers, file systems, storage devices, sites, and on-premises or off-premises users as needed. Resilio Connect can handle small files and huge files. Synchronization can be one-way, two-way, one-to-many, many-to-many, and many-to-one. For real-time synchronization, the company detects file changes as they occur and starts transfers of changed data chunks immediately in compressed format. And while organizations commonly use Resilio Connect for on-premises deployments, the vendor runs in the cloud. For example, enterprises can configure Resilio Connect to move less active les to the cloud to free up on-premises storage.
Centralized synchronization management. Resilio Connect works with any type of popular server (physical, virtual, containerized), storage (DAS, NAS, SAN, and even cloud file and object storage), and OS (Windows, Mac, and mobile). The Resilio Management Console runs on Windows or Linux. Using this console, managers can centrally manage all file synchronization services, such as adding, removing, or changing shares, synchronization times, and priorities. All functions may be automated through scripting or APIs. Additionally, administrators can monitor performance and set up notifications for important events.
Fast WAN optimization. Resilio Connect’s integrated Zero Gravity Transport (ZGT) provides WAN optimization technology that delivers high-speed, low-latency synchronization over WANs. Encrypted end-to-end, ZGT moves data at predictable speeds between all locations. Thus, full utilization of WAN bandwidth can be achieved. ZGT overcomes network latency and packet loss and adjusts to maximize network utilization while honoring business priorities. All features ensure mission-critical data synchronizes without delay across the enterprise.
Tiger Technology designs its storage software around an ‘on-premises first’ philosophy for hybrid-cloud solutions. ‘On-premises first’ recognizes the need for fast, low-latency data locally. It also acknowledges the benefits of enhancing local storage with cloud storage and services. Tiger Bridge software blends an organization’s on-premises file storage with cloud or multi-cloud storage into a single, multi-tier namespace. Because of this single namespace, organizations can optimize on-premises storage by leveraging the cloud for expanded uses such as file server extension, continuous data protection, archive, DR, ransomware protection, and file collaboration.
Notable features that helped Tiger Technology earn a top 5 award include:
Flexible filer extension. Tiger Bridge becomes an ideal solution for extending local file storage to the cloud. It works with cloud storage providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Wasabi, and others supporting S3-compatible object storage. Alternatively, organizations can utilize local object and file storage for storage extension. After quick installation and con guration, administrators can use Tiger Bridge to analyze its existing data storage and usage. From there, administrators can decide on policies to optimize storage costs. Tiger Bridge can, in the background, based on criteria such as file size and last access, automatically place data in hot, cool, and archive tiers. It stores files in native format for transparent access using existing NTFS ACLs.
Multi-site data synchronization. By storing a centralized copy in the cloud, the company provides remote file collaboration and multi-site synchronization without needing VPN services. Administrators can con gure synchronization times that match collaboration needs. Optional file locking is available to prevent file conflict, though users can still synchronize updates after a locked file is available. If a cloud provider supports versioning, businesses can use this feature to restore previous versions. Multi-site data synchronization serves as an example of intelligently leveraging the cloud for value-added benefits while prioritizing on-premises storage.
High-performance file collaboration. In addition to data synchronization features, the firm offers several add-on products that enhance le collaboration. For large teams, it enables high-performance collaborative workflows across SAN and NAS storage with large data sets such as high-resolution media. Tiger Spaces helps organizations group and manage users, projects, and workflows for complex projects by assigning virtual workspaces within the same storage. Finally, Spaces|MAM, also part of the Tiger Spaces software suite, provides tools for effective media asset managment. These additional products expand and integrate with Tiger Bridge’s remote file collaboration features while providing fast, high-performance file collaboration and digital production for local teams.