Quaddra provides Storage Insight

File analytics software shines a light into the dark recesses of storage

Knowledge is power, and Quaddra Software aims to empower customers by giving them knowledge of their unstructured storage.

Quaddra was founded by storage and computer science experts Rupak Majumdar, Jeffrey Fischer, and John Howarth, and their first product, Storage Insight, breaks new ground in the storage management and analytics market.

So what is Storage Insight and how does it differ from other market offerings?

First and foremost Storage Insight isn’t a cloud storage solution or a cloud storage gateway. It is high performance, highly-scalable file analytics software designed to give storage and systems administrators the information they need to manage unstructured data files.

Fig 1: Content Category and Filetype Graphs

Fig 1: Content Category and Filetype Graphs

As you can see from figure 1 above, by providing your teams with the information they need, Storage Insight can reduce the time and money involved in making decisions about your storage assets.

One of the ways that Storage Insight does this is by providing a clear and concise breakdown of the files in your existing unstructured storage. Storage Insight can assist your team in eliminating cold files from your expensive ‘hot’ storage. The category and filetype breakdowns also help you quickly and easily identify inappropriate use of storage assets.

So how does Storage Insight work?

Unlike traditional storage management, analytics and archival products, Storage Insight doesn’t need to ingest your data to work with it. Instead it comes as a VMware + Ubuntu virtual appliance that integrates into your current environment. Storage Insight has pre-built modules that allow it to work with standard file storage architectures like NFS and CIFS, and has the ability to add plug-in modules for other types of storage if it isn’t one of the standard architectures.

Even better though, Storage Insight doesn’t just integrate with physical, hardware-based storage. In a first for storage management and analytics, Quaddra has pre-built modules that allow Storage Insight to work with Amazon S3 storage and soon – Openstack Swift.. Traditional storage management, analytical, and archival software is generally built to integrate only into the vendor’s chosen physical or cloud-based solution. This modular approach means that Storage Insight is able to provide you with analytics even if you are running a hybrid cloud storage solution.

After installation and configuration of the Storage Insight appliance is completed, it then scans your file systems. Using a combination of standard and big data storage analysis techniques, Storage Insight creates an index that can be searched and generate usage reports that are displayed visually. As an example, if you look at the figure below you will see that Storage Insight provides an age analysis that includes both last read and last modified distributions. It also shows a breakdown of the stored files in GB among both of those distributions.

Fig 2. Age Analysis For All Stores

Fig 2. Age Analysis For All Stores

As a storage engineer it enables me to see that 36.6% of files were read in the last 7 days and that these account for just over half of our total storage utilization. I can also see that 11.7% of our files haven’t been accessed in over a year. These cold files are currently taking up 16% of the space on our storage asset. We might be better off moving these to local or cloud-based archival storage.

At this point you can see a listing of files over a year old and then manually move them to the archival storage medium of your choice, but the time it takes to do this could be better spent doing other tasks. Depending on storage capacity, 11.7% could well turn out to be 50 million files stored across any number of storage servers.

Storage Insight provides a better way. Using a configurable rules-based engine it can automatically manage the archival process turning a menial (yet normally labor intensive task) into an automated process. It can even send notification emails confirming the process has completed successfully and advising about any problems it may have encountered.

Storage Insight software gives administrators the flexibility to quickly find files with specific characteristics and contents. With this detailed knowledge and summary reports, the IT team can make informed decisions about copying, moving, migrating and archiving data. Modular by design, it can be configured in hours, not days and can begin providing valuable insights into your unstructured storage in as little as a few hours.

About Aaron Milne

Aaron is a systems administrator from Australia. He specializes in SMB administration where he has become well known for his ability to find unorthodox but entirely workable solutions to problems. Aaron has a talent for building something out of nothing and has proven himself to be highly adaptable to new technologies.
Aaron is a regular contributor to WeBreakTech as well as an occasional writer for The Register.

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