LucidLink accelerates metadata downloads for faster file access

LucidLink’s Filespaces 2.0 accelerates access to petabytes of data in the cloud for collaborative industries.

The latest update to the vendor’s flagship SaaS product is expected to bring faster access speeds to cloud storage with new features to improve collaboration with larger files, especially video or CAD files.

The update doubles down on the service’s core functions and capabilities with the new Metadata Streaming feature, enabling faster response times when searching and interacting with files in the cloud.

Other new features include file locking, faster access to file snapshots, and general improvements to product speed and usability, according to LucidLink.

The update aims to put Filespaces in competition with other similar cloud file storage systems sold by Panzura and Nasuni, but also with network-attacked direct on-premises storage systems (NAS), said Julia Palmer , vice president of research at Gartner.

Metadata Streaming advances the capabilities of the Filespaces platform, especially for moving and collaborating on media files, she noted.

“Metadata streaming is likely going to have the biggest impact,” Palmer said. “[IT] the business is becoming more global and distributed as end users demand the same response time, scale and availability as before.”

The update is free for Filespace customers. The service is priced according to the number of TB stored, the amount of outgoing files and the features included. Tiered service is available with storage from IBM, Wasabi, or Azure. Users can also bring their own storage compatible with the Simple Storage Service (S3).

Future proof

Filespaces, which entered general availability in 2019, enables the look and feel of a file storage namespace on object storage from hyperscalers like Microsoft Azure and AWS as well as other cloud services such as IBM or Wasabi.

The product has evolved based on customer demand and customer usage according to Paul Thompson, co-founder and CEO of LucidLink. Cloud storage access speeds can become slow at the edge due to end-user bandwidth, rather than any hardware or software bottlenecks, he noted.

“We’ve seen very large companies put tens of thousands of users with petabytes of files [into the service]”Thompson said.

Metadata streaming allows users at the edge to browse and retrieve files faster because FileSpaces only collect and serve the metadata of requested files, not all possible data in a accessed FileSpace.

“We found a way [with the] metadata to deliver what’s needed, as it happens, without having it all there,” Thompson said. “This allowed us to adapt the number of users in the system and the number of files.

The speed enabled by Metadata Streaming is important in collaborative industries such as entertainment and media, Palmer said. Many media studios are beginning to move away from centralized locations to a more distributed workforce, she added.

“[The datacenter] is no longer the data center as it extends to the edge and the public cloud and very few vendors have focused on that aspect,” she said.

Future growth

Media and entertainment companies have taken a look at LucidLink’s technology. Last year, the company completed a $12 million Series A funding round with Adobe among investors.

The funding strengthened both engineering staff and customer service teams, Thompson said. Future updates include new services powered by LucidLink technology as well as support for multiple object storage providers within the same namespace.

“All of these different types of tools don’t have to reinvent themselves overnight to become cloud native,” he said.

Making data movement easier and accessing that data cheaper is a strong selling point for media companies, said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

LucidLink’s continued growth will depend on what other industries the company can build data services for, he said, especially those that don’t need to move multiple GB files across the country.

“It simplifies collaboration to a certain extent,” Staimer said. “We are not talking about big files or a long wait [in most businesses]. It’s going to depend on the market they’re targeting.”

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. It covers cloud and data storage news.

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