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STORViX

A smarter take on customer care with predictive support

By SmartCARE, STORViX

Do you already have an AiRE IntelligentFiler but aren’t sure you’re getting the maximum value out of it? We’ve recently updated our customer care program and are continuing to add powerful tools to help you do this.

To help you achieve the best ROI on your AiRE IntelligentFiler, we provide a smart balance of human specialist, AI-assisted and autonomous optimization and predictive support along with tailormade solutions, custom integrations and proactive cyberdefense. This is our customer care program, SmartCARE, where we use smart technology to care our very best for your customer experience.

Set your sights on higher value with predictive support from intelligent wingmen

Customer Experience drives and supports all services connected to AiRE IntelligentFiler, especially including SmartCARE’s AI-powered predictive support programs – CoPILOT and AutoPILOT.

CoPILOT continuously monitors the system and proactively provides suggestions for fixes and optimizations with a SmartCARE specialist ready to take the controls of your AiRE IntelligentFiler when needed.

AutoPILOT goes a step further and performs most required administration tasks automatically. At the same time, this trusty AI is still smart enough to know its limits and proactively flags issues that require human intervention.

Backed up by a specialist support team, these wingmen are designed to save you valuable time and help you get the most value out of AiRE IntelligentFiler.

Integrate your data seamlessly and protect it proactively

As the rate of digital transformation increases, so too does the need for seamless integration of workloads across applications and clouds. The Professional Services Team provides tailormade solutions and custom integrations so you can adapt our smart technology to your business needs instead of the other way around.

With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, fast and dangerous, a traditional, reactive approach to cybersecurity may not be able to keep up well enough anymore. This calls for a more proactive approach, or cyber defense, to ensure your data is protected 24/7. We have dedicated DevOps and DevSecOps teams to help you shore up your cyber defenses with state-of-the-art technology so you can sleep easy.

Pay as you grow with FlexiPAY

FlexiPAY is our optional pay-as-you-grow program that delivers cloud-like agility in cost planning. When combined with the future storage need insights generated in CloudSight, you can leverage FlexiPAY to optimize your storage costs and scale value more effectively.

Some organizations reap great benefits from moving to the cloud but miss certain on-premises features such as data control, backups with personalized schedules and 100% data consistency. Or you may be required to retain certain sensitive personal or other data on premises by law. FlexiPAY allows you to combine all the advantages of on-prem with the flexible pricing and scalability of the cloud.

Unlock our full range of cloud services with the right SmartCARE plan

One year of the basic SmartCARE plan is included when purchasing an AiRE license, which provides traditional support during business hours. Upgrading to the advanced plan opens up a range of optional cloud services, including CoPILOT, designed to improve ROI and the user experience. With the premium plan, you can ensure operational continuity for business-critical workloads with on-site spare part kits and 24/7 proactive support driven by AutoPILOT.

Do you have any questions about your SmartCARE plan? Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you choose the right plan for your needs and get the most out of all the services included. 

Reimagining storage array security with YubiKey

By AiRE IntelligentFiler, STORViX

Ranked the most innovative EU nation in 2019 and placing second in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019, Sweden has a long track record as a hotbed of innovation. One of many innovative companies to emerge on the global scene from this hotbed is Yubico. With a mission to make secure login easy and available for everyone, Yubico created the YubiKey, a security key for robust multi-factor authentication (MFA) that enables a safer internet for billions of people.

YubiKey support coming to AiRE IntelligentFiler storage arrays

Given our common Swedish roots and our aim to make storage array security more powerful and simpler, it was only a matter of time before we added YubiKey support to AiRE IntelligentFiler. Now it’s finally happening in AiRE Version 3, this year’s major software update that we are in the process of rolling out.

Why MFA is a gamechanger for stopping credential theft

Stolen credentials were used in over 80% of web application breaches, and lost or stolen credentials or brute force were involved in more than 80% of breaches caused by hacking – Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report

The number of digital services in use and the sophistication of cybercriminals has skyrocketed in recent years. This increases the risk of credentials being stolen and how severe of a business impact this can have. Also, poor user password practices make matters even worse. For instance, Yubico’s 2020 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that:

  • 49% of IT pros share passwords with colleagues
  • 50% of IT pros reuse passwords across workplace accounts
  • 60% of IT pros do not use MFA to protect personal accounts

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a game changer for account protection. In fact, Microsoft Security Research advises that MFA can reduce the risk of credentials being compromised by as much as 99.9%. However, text messages and push notifications as a form of MFA still pose some security issues and you could get locked out if your phone dies. This is why hardware security keys like YubiKey fill a major gap by enabling bulletproof logins with best-in-class security.

Fast and secure connection to your storage array with YubiKey

The ability to work quickly and securely from anywhere is a key driver of digital transformation. In the past, IT architectures were centered around the local office network. When working from outside the office, you had to either sacrifice speed, performance and simplicity with a VPN or risk compromising security without one. 

But now the rapid rise in distributed teams and home working demands a more agile way of working. That is exactly what YubiKey enables by making it possible to secure fast remote connections to data on your AiRE IntelligentFiler storage array without a VPN. With YubiKey support, system administrators can easily encrypt the connection from their laptop to their AiRE IntelligentFiler storage array with MFA. 

Given the increasingly high volumes of business-critical data stored on enterprise storage arrays, this best-in-class system administration security will give you peace of mind. Without having to worry about credential theft and unauthorized access, you’ll be poised to take your digital transformation to new heights with agile business models.

Upgrade to AiRE Version 3 and start using YubiKeys with your storage array

We are proud to be one of the first storage array vendors to implement YubiKey support. This is just one of many exciting new features, such as VSA, that we are delivering in our new software update, AiRE Version 3. Contact us to learn more about when and how to upgrade to AiRE Version 3 and how to implement YubiKeys with your AiRE IntelligentFiler storage array.

Enabling a multi-cloud and inter-cloud data fabric

By AiRE IntelligentFiler, STORViX

After careful market analysis, brainstorming and development, we now have several exciting new AiRE IntelligentFiler upgrades coming your way this year. From hardware to software, from individual in-demand features to a unified data platform, we are giving you all the data management and storage capabilities you need to accelerate your digital transformation journey in the 2020s.

Multi-cloud and inter-cloud demand a new data fabric

The Flexera State of the Cloud 2020 survey found that 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy and 87% have a hybrid cloud strategy. These are year-over-year increases, especially for hybrid cloud, which the Flexera State of the Cloud 2019 survey reported at only 58% in 2019 and 51% in 2018.

These figures show that the multi-cloud and hybrid cloud trends are growing stronger than ever. For data storage, this means that the days of choosing one location for all your data, whether on-prem or in the cloud, and then backing it up to another location are long gone. Instead, enterprises are increasingly combining, adding and switching among multiple on-premises and cloud-based storage targets to suit their needs. The reason is to keep up with rapid technological progress in AI and machine learning, enable greater agility and optimize storage costs.

This increasing use of multi-cloud and inter-cloud data storage demands a flexible data fabric that reduces complexity and drives optimization. The key to this is the ability to seamlessly move and intelligently manage all your data in these different locations from a single interface. At STORViX, we have taken this to heart and are in the process of reimagining AiRE IntelligentFiler to be a next-generation unified data management platform for a multi-cloud and inter-cloud data fabric.

Upgrading hardware so you can do more with less

One of the drivers of the multi-cloud and hybrid cloud data fabric trend is the need to optimize storage costs. The latest AI algorithms also require more processing power to be effective and deliver agility. Therefore, we are rolling out extensive updates to our hardware platform powering AiRE IntelligentFiler. We will bring you the latest improvements in terms of CPU and computer architecture to deliver more power using less energy without any cost increases. This is true to our motto for cutting-edge data storage optimization – do more with less.

Taking data storage to the next level with AiRE version 3

Our vision is to make AiRE IntelligentFiler a next-generation unified data platform for a multi-cloud and inter-cloud data fabric. Now we are taking the next step in making this vision a reality by reimagining the key components of our software, AiRE, and aligning them with this vision. This intensive development process culminated in AiRE version 3, which will help you take your data storage to the next level.

Check out a few highlights of AiRE version 3 to see what you have to look forward to:

  • VSA – By adding a virtual storage appliance (VSA), AiRE will empower you to fully leverage hyper-converged architecture. This is also an important step in enabling a multi-cloud and inter-cloud data fabric, given that IDC Research Vice President Eric Sheppard forecast that hyper-converged systems would increasingly become the backbone of the multi-cloud world in 2020.
  • Public cloud service provider availability (coming in fall 2020) – Connect AiRE to your AWS, Azure, Google or other public cloud service providers and start intelligently managing your cloud data using AiRE’s intelligent algorithms. This will be powered by Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric.
  • Hypervisor (coming in fall 2020) – We have listened to our business partners and customer feedback and our development team is working on a hypervisor function. This will give you the ability to run virtual machine workloads directly on the system and achieve highly competitive deployment in terms of resource optimization.

AiRE version 3 will be generally available by the end of Q2 2020. Please contact our support team to learn how to update your AiRE version. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any suggestions for more AiRE features that would help you manage your data more intelligently and easily across storage targets.

Reconnecting with STORViX

By AiRE IntelligentFiler, STORViX

It’s been a while and we’ve been doing something exciting! Let’s reconnect! We hope our enthusiasm about the upcoming new era of IT will rub off on you and counteract the pessimism of these troubled times.

Over the past year, we’ve been working hard to improve our core technology in a number of ways. The highlights of the year show where the valuable feedback and experience came from that have fueled these product development efforts.

We are so proud of our customers that we can’t help wanting to share their success stories. One of the latest is noventum consulting. The prominent German IT management consulting company trialed our AiRE IntelligentFiler for six months to see if it could meet their challenges. Lo and behold, we helped them cut virtual machine failover performance from minutes to just seconds!

Another intriguing customer of ours is Eteria. The high-performance enterprise cloud service provider was very pleased with how we helped it ensure hot copies of its customers VMs were available 24/7. Achieving a maximum latency of a sub-millisecond was also a impressive feat that added significant value. 

Are you interested in learning about how we can do the same thing for you that we have done for some of these customers? Contact us and let’s have a virtual chat over coffee! 

Sony Startup Acceleration Program (SSAP) Europe

We were proud to be one of the ten startups from all across Europe selected to participate in Sony’s autumn 2019 SSAP in Lund, Sweden. These three months gave us a great opportunity to present our business concept to a team of inspiring coaches and professionals. All the inspiring feedback from them and the other startups was the most valuable part of the program for us. This feedback got us thinking more deeply about data management and the role we want our product to play in the future. Ultimately, this led us to a new concept we envision for our product- a next-generation unified data platform.

The next-generation unified data platform concept

Our vision for a next-generation unified data platform involves empowering companies to manage all their workloads from one place with advanced AI support. This goes beyond unified in the traditional sense of combining spinning and flash media drives to also maintaining a consistent user experience across the entire platform. It also involves empowering companies to seamlessly organize and move workloads between on-prem and cloud storage locations and across clouds. We see this multi-cloud and inter-cloud data fabric as crucial for accelerating the digital transformation of tomorrow and ushering in the new era of IT.

Staying in touch

So, what do you think of our next-generation unified data platform concept? Stay tuned for more on that in our next blog post. We would really love to hear from you in the meantime. We value the opinions of everyone interested in the data storage industry and your insights could very well spark our next innovation. Don’t be a stranger.

 

All the best,

Luca

 

A fresh take on backup schedule strategy

By AiRE IntelligentFiler, STORViX

Every sysadmin knows that the classic way to set up a backup strategy is to schedule different types of copies (e.g. full, incremental differential) at specific times of the day, week and month. The purpose of this is to create a regular loop of daily, weekly and monthly backups according to the desired RPO and RTO and depending on the criticality and the time required to produce a copy of the data.

This is okay, but we believe that a much more dynamic and efficient approach could better meet modern backup needs. AiRE changes the point of view from a calendar-oriented strategy to a vision always starting from now. Starting from now allows you to set different backup frequencies for the last few hours, or minutes, rather than for 10-year old data or older.

In this scenario, we must stop referring to backup copies as “the last full”, “the month of July” or “Friday the 2nd”. Instead, we should think in terms of “the one from 10 minutes ago”, “the one 7 hours ago”, “the one 3 months ago”, and so on. All the copies are always from the perspective of “now”, and “the one 7 hours ago” changes every hour, so you don’t need to think about what time and date it was taken.

How is this possible?

The AiRE file system allows you to take instant snapshots of a file system. This snapshot needs no time to be taken – the snapshot is immediate, and the data is always in a consistent state within it. It’s always possible to copy snapshots in an incremental manner because each snapshot is always consistent and no consolidation is necessary as in a VMWare environment. Because each snapshot is always absolutely independent, you can delete any snapshot in the sequence without invalidating the remaining ones. Additionally, each snapshot that you keep only allocates storage space in the differential share of the data between it and any other snapshot of the same file system.

This feature is leveraged by AiRE IntelligentFiler’s Data Protection Engine (DPE) to implement a tier system in which you can define different tier periods, each with its own retention number. This allows you to decide how long each tier will last and the backup retention frequency within each tier.

For example, you may want to protect yourself from threats such as ransomware by setting up a tier for the last 4 hours in which you create one snapshot every 5 minutes (equal to 12 snapshots/hour), then a subsequent tier of 20 hours in which you retain only one snapshot every hour. This way, you’ll always have the ability to rollback your data to five, ten, fifteen minutes and so on up to 240 minutes ago, and then to 300, 360, 420 minutes and so on up to 24 hours ago.

In addition, you can define a third daily and a fourth weekly tier to round out your regular backup strategy. For example, you could retain one snapshot a day for 27 days, plus the 28th day made by the first two tiers, resulting in exactly four weeks, about one month. Then you could make one snapshot a week for 48 weeks, plus the four more weeks made by the first three tiers, resulting in about one year.

Finally, you can define a final long-term retention tier of one snapshot a year for the number of years you are interested in keeping your historical data (e.g. 15 years).

The image below shows how to set up this tier strategy in the AiRE graphical interface.

You can also copy snapshots to a backup target, even a remote target, or clone them on another file system. No matter how long they take to copy, the snapshots will never be modified after being taken, so you have all the time in the world to copy them while users continue working on the file system. In any case, there are several copy techniques to save time, including various levels of data compression and deduplication.

After completing the copy of the first snapshot, you can keep it updated with subsequent snapshots using differential copies. This ensures that the process will only copy the data effectively modified since the previous snapshot, saving a great amount of bandwidth and time.

For replicated data, the AiRE Data Protection Engine interface lets you choose either the same or a different tier and retention strategy than the one applied to the original data. For instance, you don’t need to keep as many recent snapshots as defined in tiers 0 and 1 shown above to avoid ransomware attacks: this is applied only to the live original data. On the other hand, it could be necessary to keep the historical data of the last tier for a longer range of time, or we would want to retain only monthly copies instead of the weekly ones, and so on.

Based on our experience, we strongly believe that this new approach is far better than the traditional one, especially once you become familiar with the principles underlying its operations. It has the potential to save on storage utilization and bandwidth while helping you keep just the right snapshots to ensure business continuity and protect you from ransomware. 

We are so convinced that this is the best way to go that we decided to implement it despite the initial difficulty the user could experience in understanding it. What do you think?

All the best,

Luca