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Signiant to SkyDrop files into Amazon and Azure clouds

For people with whopping great files, apparently

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Signiant, a supplier of large (100GB and up) file transfer services to media companies, has launched a new product it calls SkyDrop to send the files to Amazon or Azure instead.

The company already has a Media Shuttle product which is used by many digital media customers to send large files to customers and partners in the digital media production process. It uses the UDP protocol which is faster than FTP, many times faster, by being less chatty.

IBM bought competitor Aspera, with its Fasp protocol, in December last year, and it supported file movements to Amazon, Google and Microsoft clouds.

Signiant customers could use Dropbox and similar services to transfer, and synch, files between systems but – although they are faster than FTP – such services may have limits of file size which Signiant’s products do not. Media Shuttle is offered as a hybrid SaaS service, the Signiant software is delivered from the cloud, but a customer’s data stays on-premise and is transferred to remote sites directly over the internet without having to be stored in a cloud vault with consequent security concerns.

Signiant Media Shuttle speeds

Signiant file transfer speeds

Why not use a WAN optimisation product like Riverbed’s Steelhead to transfer the files instead?

Signiant’s CTO, Ian Hamilton, said: “Signiant is a software solution implemented at the edges of the network whereas Riverbed Steelhead appliances are a hardware solution embedded in the network. They can achieve similar benefits, but Riverbed is typically targeted at remote offices accessing central resources where it can optimise protocols associated with storage access and office productivity by identifying redundant information traveling over the network and not transferring it.

“Signiant is targeted at inter and intra enterprise transfers of big data (eg, digital media) which does not typically exhibit much redundancy due to prior compression, encryption and other factors.”

On to SkyDrop: it transfers files into and out of Amazon’s S3 and Microsoft’s Azure cloud storage. Because of this, Signiant says: “Workflows that require fast exchange of files to and from cloud storage, including active archiving, media processing and big data analysis, can now be implemented much more easily and cost-effectively.”

The cloud virtual machine resources (compute) and software required for this are operated by Signiant as a fully managed service, only requiring customers to simply install light-weight local client software and connect to their cloud storage tenancy in S3 or Azure.

Rick Clarkson, Signiant’s product management VP, said: “The cloud is transforming how companies in media & entertainment and a wide variety of other industries are doing business – and now they need an easier, faster and more reliable way to move bit data into and out of cloud environments.”

SkyDrop is Signiant’s way of providing this.

We’re told SkyDrop “autoscales during high-volume transfer cycles to maintain performance, and is fully redundant and load balanced for reliability. … [It] provides developers with a choice of tools to make integration easy.”

Although Dropbox and similar file-sharing systems storing data in the cloud have security concerns, cloud storage of big media data and big data generally is becoming more popular because of its affordability and savings on on-premise storage.

With this move Signiant has equalled EMC/Aspera’s cloud support and its customers will be reassured that Signiant is not sitting back on its laurels. ®

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