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LucidLink speeds up metadata downloads for faster file access

Metadata Streaming enables users of LucidLink's Filespaces to access petabytes of data faster without slowdowns, a new feature in the latest Filespaces update.

LucidLink's Filespaces 2.0 speeds up access to petabytes of data in the cloud for collaborative industries.

The latest update to the vendor's flagship SaaS product should bring faster access speeds to cloud storage with new features to improve collaboration with larger files, particularly video or computer-aided design files.

The update doubles down on the core functions and capabilities of the service 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 the product's speed and usability, according to LucidLink.

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

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

"Metadata Streaming is probably going to have the biggest impact," Palmer said. "[IT] business is becoming increasingly more global and distributed, while end users demand the same response time, scale and availability as before."

The update is free for Filespaces customers. The service is priced according to the number of terabytes stored, the amount of file egress and included features. The tiered service is available with storage from IBM or Wasabi. Users can also bring their own S3-compatible storage.

Future proofing

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

The product has evolved according to customer demand and use of the client, said Peter 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 saw very large corporations putting tens of thousands of users with petabytes of files [into the service]," Thompson said.

[The data center] is no longer the center of data as it is expanding towards the edge, and the public cloud and very few vendors have been focusing on this aspect of it.
Julia PalmerVice president of research, Gartner

Metadata Streaming allows users at the edge to browse and retrieve files more quickly, as Filespaces only collects and serves the metadata of requested files, not every possible piece of data in an accessed file space.

"We found a way [with the] metadata to stream what's required, as it's required, without having everything there," Thompson said. "This has allowed us to scale 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 starting to move away from centralized locations to a more distributed workforce, she added.

"[The data center] is no longer the center of data as it is expanding towards the edge, and the public cloud and very few vendors have been focusing on this aspect of it," she said.

Future growth

Media and entertainment companies have taken an eye to LucidLink's technology. Last year, the company completed a $12 million series A funding round with Adobe among the investors.

The funding has built out both the engineering staff and the customer service teams, Thompson said. Future updates include new services building on top of the LucidLink technology, as well as support for multiple object storage vendors within the same namespace.

"All of these different kinds of tools don't have to reinvent themselves overnight to become cloud-native," he said.

Easing data movement and making it cheaper to access this data is a strong selling point to media companies, said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting. Continued growth of LucidLink will come down to what other industries the company can build data services for, he said -- especially those without the need to move multiple-gigabyte files across the country.

"It simplifies collaboration to an extent," Staimer said. "We're not talking big files or a long wait [in most businesses]. It's going to depend on what market they're targeting."

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

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