Apr 20, 2021 | Paul Reeve
If it ain’t broken, why connect it to the cloud? Several reasons actually.
Many organisations have tried and trusted legacy applications that were not built to utilise cloud storage. However, cloud storage can be very useful in allowing these applications to benefit from long-term archiving, extension to the cloud, file sharing or backup.
Let’s first break down the benefits of cloud storage for legacy applications.
Archiving: Typically, legacy applications will have been around for a long time and often have minimum retention requirements to meet compliance policies. Cloud storage for archive can be very compelling. Its high reliability and low cost for cold storage can suit compliance archives that rarely need to be accessed.
Extension to the cloud: Legacy applications will often run on older systems which have less capacity for expansion. Moving content to cloud storage can provide an extra lease of life for these systems, freeing up capacity and improving performance. If the cloud supports versioning, it will also allow file versions to be stored, which can protect against accidental deletions or even crypto virus attacks if you can roll back to previous-point-in-time versions.
File sharing: Cloud storage can be ideal for file sharing. This will allow the data to be shared across multiple sites, for example, without necessarily needing direct access to the application.
Backup: Cloud backup solutions can be advantageous over on-premises backup applications, particularly if they can enable continuous data protection, as there is a physical separation of data. Backup windows will be negated and it is much easier to implement a self-service backup for users if there is not a dedicated backup application.
Cloud companies offer several tools to allow easy access to cloud storage.
Gateways: These usually run on a separate server and present as a storage share to the application. Data will be cached on the gateway and moved to the cloud as the gateway cache gets filled up. They are usually low cost but add an extra layer of administration to the existing system. They may not support automated tiering or file-sharing without additional programming. Cloud gateways will be locked to a specific cloud vendor.
API integration: If you have access to the application API, which may not be the case with legacy applications, then it may be possible to use the API tools provided to build specific connectors to the application.
File sharing applications: Third-party software applications designed for hybrid cloud such as Nasuni or Panzura, work like a sophisticated gateway offering local file caching for application performance and longer-term retention in the cloud. The main challenge is that these can be expensive or rely on using expensive cloud tiers. They will also add a proprietary element which will control access to the data.
Many of these legacy applications will run on Windows file servers or store data to Network Attached Storage devices. The Tiger Bridge software-only data management solution by Tiger Technology can work with many of these legacy applications and connect them seamlessly to any public or private cloud storage.
Tiger Bridge operates at the Windows file system level managing the data that lives in Windows file structures. It can copy and move data to the cloud based on policies and does so completely transparently to the applications that use the data. All data appears local to the application even if it is moved to cloud storage and if that data is required by a user or application, Tiger Bridge will retrieve it automatically.
Tiger Bridge can also manage legacy data stored on NAS devices. This latest feature allows the NAS to be a source to the Tiger Bridge server, which then uses the same policy structure to replicate or move data to the cloud and recover the space on the local NAS. Again, all this is transparent to the user or application using the NAS.
Simple to deploy: In many cases Tiger Bridge can be installed directly on the legacy application server avoiding the need for any additional hardware of software. In the case of NAS storage that is not Windows, a lightweight Windows server can be used as a simple metadata controller allowing Tiger Bridge to work directly with the NAS and the applications. Tiger Bridge works with the local file system directly, meaning that users and applications will continue to use the system with no changes top their existing workflow.
Non-proprietary formats: Tiger Bridge stores all data in a non-proprietary format in the cloud ensuring legacy data is always available with or without the Tiger Bridge software, avoiding any legacy lock-in.
Multi-cloud: Tiger Bridge supports all major public and private cloud services.
Archiving: Tiger Bridge can automatically archive data to any cloud tier based on age of the data and reclaim that space on the local system. Users can easily retrieve data simply by clicking on the files in their local directory.
Extension to the cloud: Tiger Bridge can extend the file system to the cloud based on file age or disk utilisation. Files moved to the cloud will have a local stub file for use by the user or application. If any file is required, Tiger Bridge will automatically restore it, meaning theoretically the application can have unlimited disk storage to the cloud with no change to on-premises hardware.
File sharing: The Tiger Bridge Multi-site Sync function allows multiple Tiger Bridge instances to share the same cloud storage target. Once data is created in the cloud from Tiger Bridge, the files will be replicated in the form of a metadata stub to any other connected Tiger Bridge instances. The beauty of this is that only the metadata will be replicated not the actual data. Data will only move when specifically requested by a user or application.
Backup: Tiger Bridge replication policies ensure that you can set data to be copied to the cloud seconds after it has been created, providing continuous data protection. Versioning is fully supported if the cloud target supports this.
Multi-service: Tiger Bridge can be deployed to offer backup, archive, file extension and file sharing all at the same time simply by configuring the appropriate services in the Tiger Bridge GUI.
As we have seen, cloud storage can augment legacy applications in several ways. For many of these applications built on Windows or using Network Attached Storage Tiger Bridge can provide a simple non-proprietary, software-only solution which can be deployed transparently to the user or application.
Want to find out how Tiger Bridge enables data archiving to the cloud? Check out our dedicated videos.