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Talon Storage adds CloudFast file sharing for Azure

Talon Storage timed the CloudFast launch to coincide with Microsoft making its Azure File Service generally available for Windows shared file storage.

Talon Storage this week sharpened its focus on Microsoft Windows file storage with CloudFast for Microsoft Azure...

File Service.

Talon aims CloudFast at enterprises that want to use the Microsoft Azure public cloud as a storage tier for archival and backup. Talon Storage timed its file-sharing product launch to coincide with Microsoft making its Azure File Service generally available on Tuesday.

CloudFast for Azure File Service creates a virtual Server Message Block (SMB) file share for using the Microsoft Azure cloud as a back-end file server. As does Talon's MobileFast enterprise file sync-and-share software platform, CloudFast integrates support for Microsoft Active Directory policy permissions, NTFS file system security and Microsoft Access Control Lists.

CloudFast is a cloud-based variant of Talon's flagship RemoteFast for Windows Server, which lets customers create an on-premises hybrid cloud with Microsoft StorSimple storage.

Customers can run CloudFast with storage hardware or as a virtual appliance with Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere hypervisors.

Talon product director Jaap van Duijvenbode said CloudFast gives distributed enterprises an alternative to running Windows-based file storage servers at multiple sites.

"Customers are tired of managing monolithic storage at a data center and [also] having to maintain local file storage at branch offices. They tell us they want to move toward more flexible and scalable platforms, predominantly in the cloud," van Duijvenbode said.

CloudFast installs on a local network drive in Windows Server. The software creates a virtual SMB share that remote users access via drive mapping or Distributed File Sharing in Windows.

Talon Storage software caches data at branch offices when it is active. CloudFast deduplicates and compresses file-level data and incrementally streams delta blocks across a wide area network to an authoritative copy in primary storage.

Talon does not replicate metadata between branches for data protection. Its product suite includes global file locking, which locks the core instance at a main data center for data consistency.

Talon Storage CloudFast helps users 'wrap their arms around shadow IT'

Microsoft Azure has firmly taken hold of second place in enterprise public cloud storage behind Amazon Web Services (AWS), said Deni Connor, founding analyst for research firm SSG-NOW. With CloudFast, Connor said Talon is trying to help distributed organizations wrap their arms around shadow IT, stemming from use of consumer file-sharing services, such as Box Inc. and Dropbox.

"They are focusing on Azure cloud market. Other file-sharing and collaboration vendors are focused on Amazon Web Services," Connor said.

"Focusing on Azure makes really good sense, since Talon has a deep understanding of CIFS and SMB protocols, especially in the areas of file locking and integration with Active Directory. Most file-sharing and collaboration vendors are focused on AWS and filers that use NFS."

CloudFast is available from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, and sold in minimum increments of 50 licenses. Companies can use licenses across multiple workgroups and branch offices.

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