Modern organisations are generating data at an unprecedented rate. Industry analysts are recognising that even hard-disk drive and solid-state drive manufacturers are struggling to cope with the demand. As a result, companies are faced with the challenge of managing and storing this huge amount of data. In most cases, this data is not needed on a day-to-day basis, but needs to be stored for legislative and/or regulatory reasons, and organisations often find it difficult to find a suitable destination for this data due to challenges such as cost, security, and efficiency – making finding the right solution tough.
Currently, organisations use SAN/NAS solutions to store their infrequently used files, but this solution is costly due to maintenance and overheads. This might not be an efficient solution because of the constant capital expenditure required to increase capacity as a result of organic data growth.
One potential answer is object storage in the cloud because on the surface it provides a secure, robust and resilient, cost-effective target for storing cold data without the cost of expensive SAN/NAS solutions. However, storing the data is only part of the solution as there needs to be a simple way of getting to this data when it is actually needed. Currently, to get this data out Object Storage requires the use of complicated API calls, which just adds to the headache rather than fixing it!
In our experience, customers want the low-priced storage that Object Storage provides for this type of data, combined with the simplicity of accessing the files as if they were attached via USB or a shared network drive.
This is where the CIFS-ECS tool comes in. CIFS-ECS is a vendor-backed tool that mounts object storage as if it was locally attached. It does this in a way that the user won’t even notice they’re using Object Storage, and best of all the tool itself is completely free. CIFS-ECS stores files in a non-proprietary manner meaning unlike some of the Hyperscalers, getting the data out is easy as it is also compatible with the S3 API.
The tool is quick and easy to deploy on Windows and Windows Server machines, which makes it a seamless experience for anyone familiar with Windows. It also means that all of the standard Windows features are supported such as deduplication, encryption, Windows File Explorer and Windows Event Viewer.
How you can use CIFS-ECS – a real-world application:
A local police department requires long-term retention of old body cam footage due to legislative reasons for a period of 5 years. However, because of recent budget cuts, the department can’t afford to pay for high-speed local SAN/NAS solutions for all the data they capture on a daily basis. Therefore, the department uses Object Storage combined with the CIFS-ECS tool to automatically push files older than 30 days into the cloud, helping to meet their legislative obligation without the financial penalty of using a traditional file system. A huge benefit of CIFS-ECS is that it keeps everything organised as if it was in a file system to make footage easy to find, whilst saving on storage costs.