Microsoft StorSimple and Talon FAST™ - a powerful pairing

by Jaap van Duijvenbode on June 25, 2015

In a previous blog, we looked at how companies are using Talon FAST™ to develop complete, global Microsoft cloud strategies. Microsoft cloud storage using the StorSimple and Azure cloud are among the most popular solutions available to enterprises around the world, and with good reason: These offerings are easy to use, affordable and scalable. And Talon CloudFAST™ is the only cloud file sharing solution on the market that is specifically designed to integrate with Microsoft StorSimple and Azure, delivering maximum performance with minimal IT complexity to the distributed enterprise.

Microsoft StorSimple and Talon FAST™ - A powerful pairing  To better understand why Talon CloudFAST™ is such a valuable tool for virtually any company looking to leverage Microsoft cloud storage, this article will take a closer look at how CloudFAST™ operates in conjunction with Microsoft StorSimple to solve distributed enterprises' file collaboration challenges.

"Hybrid approaches enable firms to move gradually toward complete cloud adoption."

Hybrid cloud storage
StorSimple is Microsoft's hybrid cloud storage offering. Inherently, a hybrid cloud solution will feature both on-premise and hosted components. Generally speaking, this approach is quickly becoming the standard strategy for corporate cloud use. With the hybrid model, firms can apply the cloud only to those portions of their infrastructure that are well-suited to this technology, such as disaster recovery of data and assets that must be accessible throughout the organization. At the same time, hybrid approaches enable firms to make the move toward complete cloud adoption more gradually, which can alleviate many security and compliance concerns.

When it comes to Microsoft StorSimple's hybrid cloud storage model, the most noteworthy benefits are efficiency and cost and time savings. StorSimple has the ability to store an enterprise's inactive data - including archived information and backups - on off-site cloud servers that are geo-redundant. The active data that needs to be accessed and utilized regularly stays on-site in the datacenter, stored locally on a primary storage tier. This alone can reduce storage costs by as much as 60 percent, all while minimizing latency and maximizing data access. StorSimple further reduces storage footprints through the use of advanced SAN technologies, including de-duplication, compression and automated storage tiering using SSD as the primary tier and SAS for data that is "older."

Branch complications
However, for all the benefits StorSimple has to offer, the solution is also somewhat limited when it comes to meeting the file collaboration needs of the distributed enterprise.

The biggest issue is that, without a complementary solution, many of StorSimple's advantages cannot be extended to branch offices effectively, and this can undermine the cloud's value. After all, workers at those remote locations will need access to the company's data, whether it's stored in the cloud or the datacenter. Any latency here will hurt worker productivity, as well as cause employee frustration.

Just as importantly, there's the issue of coherence. Employees need to have the ability to work on a given file with the confidence that the information they are looking at is accurate, but that won't be the case if workers at another branch location are using the same file at the same time without any notification or change-prevention technology.

testData coherence is a critical issue.

Ultimately, the only way for a distributed enterprise with one or more branch offices to take full advantage of StorSimple's hybrid cloud storage model is by investing in a solution that can centralize the data, minimize IT complexity, reduce latency and keep costs low.

Talon FAST™ is the ideal solution in this scenario. Essentially, CloudFAST™ extends the advantages that StorSimple offers beyond the datacenter to the distributed enterprise as a whole. With its Intelligent File Caching technology, CloudFAST™ ensures that branch office workers have immediate access to the data and files that they need the most, while less active information remains stored in the cloud or in the centralized datacenter. CloudFAST™ Intelligent File Caching automatically manages the cache and purges the least recently used (stale) cache when 95 percent of the cache volume has been reached at the branch. This further minimizes the data footprint and all but eliminates duplicate file versions, as well as latency. It also makes it unnecessary to conduct branch-specific backups.

To do this, FAST™ "Edge" software connects to the "Core" instance via the WAN, presenting a virtualized file share option for end users in every location.

_"RemoteFAS_T™ delivers all of its benefits while running on Microsoft Windows Server infrastructure."

Critically, FAST™ accomplishes all of this while running on Microsoft Windows Server infrastructure. The software runs on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 R2. A range of Microsoft services, including Active Directory and DNS/DHCP, can all be consolidated onto a single device. For those organizations that already rely on Windows Server - which is a huge number of the world's enterprises - this makes CloudFAST™ familiar, maximizing ease of use and minimizing IT complexity.

Microsoft StorSimple is a great hybrid cloud storage option for businesses of all kinds. For distributed enterprises, though, this solution will only live up to its full potential with the assistance of Talon FAST™.

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