Meet Tiger Technology. It provides a hybrid multi-cloud file namespace for Windows Servers and enables space-saving file tiering from on-premises servers to cheaper file and object stores with ancillary backup, archive, file sync, business continuity, and disaster recovery benefits.
Tiger Technology is a 50-person storage company based in Sofia, Bulgaria, with offices in the USA and UK. It was started in 2003 by founder and CEO Alexander Lefterov. He saw that Windows Server data sharing could be enhanced, both for SANs and files, by manipulating metadata. The company’s MetaSan software product evolved into Tiger Store, which provides on-premises file sharing. Tiger Pool combines multiple volumes into a single pool, and Tiger Spaces enables file sharing among work group members.
Then a Tiger Bridge product was developed as a cloud storage gateway and tiering product. Before getting in to that we’ll note there are two rack-level hardware products: the Tiger Box appliance and the Tiger Server metadata controller. Both come with Tiger Store and can have the Pool, Spaces, and Bridge software added.
Tiger Bridge is a Windows Server kernel-level, filesystem filter driver. It monitors an on-premises fileset and can move low-access rate files to cheaper storage to save primary storage capacity. Files are selectively moved according to settable policies and their metadata remains on-premises in so-called stub files.
When a user or application needs to access them they are fetched from their destination storage transparently to the requesting entity. Tiger Bridge implements a single namespace across the source Windows Server and destination storage, using an NTFS extension over HTTPS/SSL which adheres to Active Directory ACLs for access control.
The destination systems can be on-premises NAS filers, tape libraries, and object stores (S3), the Fujifilm Object Archive, and hot, cool, and archive object stores in the AWS, Azure, Google, and IBM clouds. Cloud storage provider Wasabi OEMs Tiger Bridge, and Tiger Bridge also supports the Seagate Lyve Cloud and is compatible with Veeam Backup and Replication.
File data is replicated to the destination systems and policies can be set so that hot files are replicated whenever changes are made. This provides a mechanism for file synchronisation across multiple sites for file-sharing scenarios and also for disaster recovery. A failed source file server can be reinstated at a remote site using the replicated files. The file folder system can be set up virtually instantaneously, using metadata, and then file data streamed to the new server in the background. Any files directly accessed before being streamed get pulled to the head of the queue and streamed at once.
Lefterov says that, although Tiger Bridge can be used for migration to the cloud, its main purpose is to enable on-premises file-based workloads to extend out to the cloud, using its elastic and affordable capacity, with no change to workflow procedures.
Tiger Tech has a roster of thousands of customers, many in the media and entertainment market. It provides Tiger Bridge as a way for them to bring the cloud’s scalable capacity and relative low cost into their on-premises workflows with little or no change.
A specific version of the software, Surveillance Bridge, has been built to store video files in the cloud with their stubs on the video server for fast search and identification.
The Bridge software is available under subscription and fixed-term contracts.
Tiger Technology competitors include Komprise, which eschews stub file technology, preferring its own dynamic link software, and which provides a set of analytic software layered on top. Another competitor is Data Dynamics and its StorageX file virtualization software, and we should also include Rubrik with its acquired Igneous unstructured Data-Management-as-a-Service.
Finally we should mention the Cohesity DataPlatform and its SmartFiles tiering technology. That’s four substantial competitors – so Lefterov’s Tiger needs a strong software roar to progress against them.