Jim Liddle, CEOAn athlete who has competed in a variety of sports, Jim Liddle, CEO, Storage Made Easy (SME) believes that there is a lot of similarities in participating in a sport and running a startup. “Even though you follow the principles of discipline, stamina, team ethos, morale building, focus and staying the course, the main attribute is the ‘never say die’ attitude that you need more than any other discipline, to succeed as a startup. The essence lies in striving to overcome the obstacles and embracing the qualities that would help you succeed,” Liddle explains. Incorporated in 2009, SME is a cloud data fabric for data that federates access to files stored in private, public or SaaS clouds, but that has a particular focus on OpenStack object storage.
SME provides an EFSS Fabric, optimized for OpenStack Swift that allows IT to regain control of ‘cloud sprawl.’ This includes unifying private and public file sharing into a single, converged infrastructure that can easily be managed and be used to set governance, audit and access controls in addition to providing deep content search of indexed data from integration with the Apache SOLR open source search solution. This approach provides a solution to the ‘Shadow IT’ data conundrum and makes it possible for companies deploying Swift, or other clouds, to find a balance between the protection of corporate data and employee data by allowing businesses to monitor, secure, and audit data silos.
SME’s Cloud platform provides integration with OpenStack Swift that enables internet service providers (ISP’s) and enterprises to rapidly leverage Swift Object Storage. “Once OpenStack is installed, companies most often want to understand how their end users can interact with the Swift Object Storage,” says Liddle. The flat structure in which the objects are stored is not intuitive to users. SME addresses this mismatch by making the object storage system look like a more traditional file system to the end user and provides familiar ways to interact with the storage that is more akin to a corporate file server.
“Our solution also provides protocol adapters to enable Swift, or other data clouds, to be accessed over more traditional protocols that maybe in use within the enterprise.
The whole SME can be up and running within an hour providing companies a rapid way to quickly embrace take advantage of their Open Stack Swift storage
The whole SME solution can be up and running within an hour providing companies a rapid way to quickly embrace and take advantage of their OpenStack swift storage,” Liddle reckons. The SME platform has several features that are an enabler for quicker and easier adoption for companies who embrace OpenStack. SME solution was built to not be proprietary and any files uploaded to the SME Swift storage are easily understood and accessible even if the SME solution is removed.
By working with customers in product deployments SME stays ahead of the competition and this results in efficiency improvements and new features for all clients. For instance, a noteworthy OpenStack customer, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Organization worked with SME to enable easy access to research data for their end users from the SME desktop drive integration.
“We never customize the product in a bespoke way for a client; instead it is supported in a single product build,” says Liddle. For the road ahead, SME is focused on continually strengthening their OpenStack integration by feedback from customer requests, with a continued focus on governance and security from a company data perspective. The company plans to prioritize interoperability with other private/public clouds that are not only in use with the enterprise environment but can also be added and controlled from the SME solution.