Tiger FAN workflow engine

Blueprint for Storage Virtualization

Share, Manage and Migrate with ease

In traditional data centers, files are often stored on disparate silos, which force administrators to spend time remapping drive letters and updating complex permissions during migrations.

The term “FAN” (File Area Network) describes an infrastructure implementing file-based data connectivity, storage, and management. A FAN establishes a logical connection between clients and files stored in different locations and allows grouping separate components into one united file space.

Key Benefits

  • Files can be moved transparently
  • File management is centralized
  • Costs of backup are reduced
  • Policies can be used to move files
  • IT infrastructure consolidation across branch offices
  • Comply to corporate objectives and regulations
To meet these objectives, Tiger has developed a suite of software products that perform all the key functions of a FAN. The suite consists of Tiger Spaces Storage Admission Tier, Tiger Store Scale-Out Metadata Controller, Tiger Pool Scale-Up Namespace Unifier and Tiger Bridge Scale-Deep Lifecycle Manager.

Why a FAN?

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Storage Management. Where does data reside? How does it get moved? How do people find it after it gets moved? With data spread across potentially hundreds of locations in an enterprise, how do IT departments manage drive letter mappings? These and other issues add an enormous amount of complexity to managing a storage environment. Administrators need to decide how to automate and use policies to manage storage infrastructure, and ideally find a way to manage Direct-Attached Storage (DAS), NAS, SAN, and the files stored on those devices from a single location.

Storage Consolidation. It is desirable to consolidate many scattered storage resources into fewer centralized locations. With shared storage having such an important role in driving efficiencies across the enterprise in order to simplify management and optimize white space—the portion of a given disk that is not used for storing data. A very large portion of the data being consolidated consists of files, so an optimal consolidation solution must be intelligent at the file level.

Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery. More and more organizations are preparing for disasters, in many cases driven by laws and regulations, and in other cases by fiduciary duty to investors. One goal of solutions in this category is to minimize client downtime during an outage, but in all cases it is necessary to ensure the availability of mission-critical data. Given that much, if not most, of the data being protected consists of files, this is a natural fit for FAN technology.

Storage Performance Optimization. When too many users access a single device, performance degradation inevitably results. To solve the problem, it is desirable to load balance across multiple storage devices. However, this can be tricky and time consuming to accomplish without automation, and doing it at all requires knowledge of file access patterns.

Data Lifecycle Management. Data Lifecycle Management (DLM) requires a method for creating storage tiers and aligning archival policies with regulatory compliance requirements. Additional issues include how to streamline the backup process and how to optimize the use of high-end storage subsystems. Since: most of the data being managed consists of files, most of the knowledge about which bits of data need to “live” on what storage subsystems can be obtained only by looking at file-level properties. Merely looking at data blocks on a raw device will not help.

Remote Site Support. Managing remote site primary storage and backup can be a full time role. Traditional methods of centralizing management of highly distributed data can be equally problematic, for example, in terms of performance and availability. File-level tools are needed to centralize data for ease of management, while maintaining performance and file availability for remote users.

Data Classification and Reporting. Knowledge is power. Discovering storage capacity utilization and determining the business value of data is necessary in order to make good decisions about where to put data, how to protect it, and what kinds of new storage devices to purchase. As in other areas, most of the knowledge needed to classify data and most of the information needed in reports are related to the file-level properties of the data.