With an innovative software solution to the masses, Storage Made Easy owes more to its success than a unique product offering. We speak to Jim Liddle, CEO of Storage Made about what really makes the company.
Storage Made Easy, which is wholly owned by Vehera Ltd – a private London-based limited company, provides a software solution called the Enterprise File Fabric™. This solution integrates and unifies File and Object Storage accessible through a global file system to accelerate end user and system workflows.
Storage Made Easy’s primary revenue model focuses on the enterprise on-premises software in which companies procure and run the software either in their own Data Centre or on public cloud. It primarily operates a channel sales model in which the File Fabric is introduced to prospects by OEM partners, distributors and resellers.
The File Fabric solution works by unlocking the benefits and cost-efficiency of a company’s file and object data assets, whilst providing strict controls and governance for legislative compliance and security concerns, such as ransomware attacks. Existing file-based storage infrastructures can be transformed into an on-premises private cloud, delivering a storage-as-a-service model to the company. Object storage can be connected and available alongside file base storage, expertly managed by the File Fabric as a unified hybrid cloud storage platform.
The File Fabric is able to provide a unified view of a company’s assets that can be dispersed across file and object spread, across cloud storage and on-premises storage. M-Stream, a feature of the File Fabric, can accelerate large file/object data to/from destinations. FIPS certified encryption ensures assets are protected in-flight and at-rest. Smart indexing and data classifications, with Cloud AI integrations, ensures assets can be easily catalogued and found.
There are also some key tenets as to why people purchase the product as opposed to a competing product or solution. This includes the fact that The File Fabric does not presume to introduce new storage to solve problems a company may have. Instead, it works with what a company already has or indeed may yet procure.
From an ethos and design perspective, Storage Made Easy harbours a ‘no lock-in’ approach. This means companies have full bi-modal access to their data and they can completely remove the firm’s solution and continue to access their data. Competing products often ‘lock data in’ so it can be only accessed through their product.
The File Fabric is designed to work with existing best of breed enterprise applications, be that from the access and authorisation (LDAP, SAML, Active Directory), right the way through the back-end storage (over 60 storage connectors). It is designed with modern access mechanisms and API’s. In today’s world companies want web scale access not to be locked into proprietary API’s.
Recently, Storage Made Easy has updated its innovative product to reflect the current, and ever-changing, situation in a move which focuses on remote working and cybersecurity, providing a powerful combination of privacy and collaboration that works with a company’s existing file and object data sets.
With more companies having remote employees, the File Fabric’s SMB connector has been updated enabling SMB shares to no longer be restricted by boundaries of the office, facilitating cloud-like working without the need for VPN or VDI. The same technology works with Cloud based file systems such as Amazon FSx or Azure files.
Additionally, a new feature of called Jibe has been introduced which is a service that is able to monitor data that is added to a company’s file or object data estates directly ensuring that File Fabric metadata is instantly updated as new files or objects are added. This enables the File Fabric to analyze new data in near real-time, updating its ‘smart index’ immediately and enforcing security controls.
The File Fabric has also been integrated with Microsoft Teams to provide easy in-situ access for companies that have adopted this tool for remote working and collaboration.
Whilst it may have an innovative product offering, there is so much more that can be attributed to the firm’s success, as CEO, Jim Liddle, explains.
“The success of the company is a combination of the technology and the people,” he begins. “The old adage that ‘people buy from people’ may seem out of sync with the modern world but it still holds true in the Enterprise.
“Our success is absolutely due to the team of people we have working for the Company. We are lucky to have very strong individuals who work well as a team and, as with many start-ups, those individuals are able to ‘wear many hats’ which is one of the benefits of working for a start-up.”
Company culture is an integral part of any company that wishes to have a happy and productive team, and at Storage Made Easy, it is no different. The firm strives to encourage a day-to-day company culture of agile working, self-governance and autonomy coupled with regular daily interactions and feedback sessions, for its remote teams.
“Storage Made Easy employees are motivated, responsible and encompass values which unite our diverse workforce. Globally binding behavioural rules are a key part of this culture. They provide guidance for the behaviour, ethics and actions of our employees in all our business areas around the world.”
Despite its overwhelming success, Store Made Easy has also experienced it fair share of challenges, with one of the biggest of recent being the Covid-19 the pandemic. As with companies, the firm has had to deal with widespread travel bans and self-isolation of employees which has meant robust and agile business continuity planning was needed. However it helped as Storage Made Easy already operates a distributed global team, many of whom already did work from home.
“Operating in the Covid world has meant we, as far as possible, conduct the sales process not by jumping on a plane or a train but by using a combination of phone, slack, web video sessions etc.
“We are of course not unique in that sense but we have continued to optimise our Application and Services so that all trials, proof of concept, deployments, support etc can be conducted / deployed / maintained remotely.”
Regarding the future, Storage Made Easy has some exciting plans in the pipeline in regard to the continued expansion and functionality of its software.
From a business perspective, the company has a clear long-term business mission in which it has defined several clear business goal objectives for the next 36 months, including continued growth; securing key strategic partners; and accelerating customer’s secure digital transformation.
“At this point we have delivered against our original vision of a software product that provides a single-entry point to corporate data in which companies can securely manage content and set common policies through a global file system,” says Jim.
“From the onset to achieve this the product mined content metadata as this was (and is) the File Fabric’s secret sauce for working with the various storage solutions, be they file or object based.”
Over time the metadata collected evolved from simple file or object metadata (name, date, size, location) to also include content metadata (file or object content indexes). Today, this includes integrations with AI based content metadata enhancement services such as Google Vision.
As the File Fabric mines file and object metadata, it is available to be used for the good of the organization in all sorts of ways which does not necessarily involve full blown AI or deep learning. This may involve using metadata to be smart about creating an Active Archive across two or more storage instances, aiding in the recovery of Ransomware attacks, or for Data Automation in which certain metadata event triggers cause an action to occur, such as tiering data (using the File Fabric’s M-Stream file acceleration feature).
“As we move forward over the next year, we are continuing to explore deep learning algorithms which introduce the possibility of being even smarter about finding patterns in the metadata. This could be as diverse as finding files that are familiar or finding patterns that enable past behaviour to predict future behaviour, all of which will be an enabler for us to provide a smarter document driven enterprise.”
For more information, please contact Mariado Martinez at www.storagemadeeasy.com