Talon Expands Alliance With NetApp, Offers Cloud Data Centralization For High-Speed Collaboration

Talon is bringing its data centralization and collaboration software closer to the cloud with NetApp, both with that vendor's Cloud Volumes Ontap and Cloud Volumes Services technologies, and plans to expand into object storage by year-end.


Talon, which provides centralized access to data to make it available for multiple users for consolidation and collaboration, is expanding its cloud-based data relationship with NetApp this month.

Talon also expects to enhance its centralized data access services with the addition of object storage capabilities by year-end, said Charles Foley, senior vice president of the Mount Laurel, N.J.-based vendor.

Talon provides technology that helps consolidate data into a single view regardless of how many different locations that data resides, Foley told CRN.

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"A company with 100 remote offices has 100 points of storage instances and management," he said. "If we can bring all 100 points into centralized management, it's great for users."

Talon is not really a storage company, and doesn't combine data from multiple users, as that would lead to users having different latencies depending on how far they were from the centralized data repository, Foley said.

Instead, the company uses its software in local on-premises access points together with local caching appliances to give every user both the ability to access and collaborate on the data with the same performance as any user on the network, he said.

"Everybody sees the global name space," he said. "If you go to a folder, you get the same access to the files as anyone. Everybody gets the same view. But if a user in Tel Aviv [Israel] opens a file, that file is locked at the central office."

Talon's software also works with on-premises appliances to do intelligent caching, Foley said.

"Our software provides 80-percent locality," he said. "While a file may be locked in New York, its bits are located in a local cache. So a guy in Tel Aviv can get access to the same file, but locally. Any changes in either location, and the changes are sent to the central file. By combining layers of global name space, local caching and distributed network files, we allow people in separate locations to get access to a file."

If a file has never been opened locally, opening that file triggers another layer of Talon's software optimized for large-footprint data over the network, Foley said.

"This is multiple times faster than just opening a file," he said. "We also allow pre-population of data into intelligent caches in multiple locations."

The Talon technology is optimized to work with unstructured data, Foley said.

Talon, which has been working with several cloud providers to standardize and collaborate on data in the cloud for some time, has been expanding its cloud partnerships, particularly with NetApp, Foley said.

"We're seeing a pretty significant shift from collaboration activities to consolidation activities," he said. "Larger enterprises with a lot more offices are more concerned with consolidation of data footprint to reduce the number of servers and licenses they have to purchase. So we provide standardization and collaboration in the cloud."

Talon last year started working with NetApp's Cloud Volumes Ontap, which is NetApp's Ontap storage operating system running in a virtual instance on the cloud and is purchased on a capacity basis via Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The Talon FAST intelligent file caching software with NetApp Cloud Volumes Ontap centralizes and consolidates distributed file servers including those on AWS or Azure.

Starting this month, Talon has finished integration with NetApp Cloud Volumes Services, Foley said. NetApp Cloud Volumes Services is a speed-optimized storage platform that provides high-performance NFS for enterprises as a service.

The company this year is also adding fine-grained support for larger numbers of remote locations in order to better present information to users from multiple locations, Foley said.

Also, by year-end, Talon expects to embrace object storage in the cloud for customers who need that capability, Foley said.

"Some customers say object storage is cheaper than block or file storage," he said. "So in the fourth quarter, we will put in an object storage gateway so users at local offices can see the data in their global file system. The difference is, that storage can be stored on object storage like Azure Blob. That will allow most users and applications to access object storage as if it was a file or block infrastructure."

Talon understands branch management and cloud storage, said Todd Shaffer, cloud solution specialist at Vandis, an Albertson, N.Y.-based solution provider and channel partner to both Talon and NetApp.

Vandis has a large networking, security, and cloud practice with a lot of clients deploying wide-area networks, Shaffer told CRN.

"If a client has 30 offices, it will have people administrating 30 file services and employees trying to collaborate from 30 locations," he said. "Talon is able to run the data globally and have one source of truth in AWS or Azure."

With Talon, clients' on-premises file access is not impacted based on from where data is accessed, Shaffer said.

"Talon really speeds file access up," he said. "It's intelligent at the edge. Clients are not waiting a day to access a large file. If you try to access a file via Window DSS, you can download the file in real time by clicking on it, but you have to wait. With Talon, you get near-instantaneous access."

Vandis has used Talon for customers with multiple regional offices, including engineering firms, doctors' offices, graphics designers and video producers, Shaffer said. "You need those types of customers to take advantage of the technology," he said.

Talon has a strong channel program with great discounts and channel incentives and no way for its sales reps to take business direct, Shaffer said.

Its partnership with NetApp is also an important advantage, he said. "It's a really great way to tap into the enterprise. It helps to have someone in the integration besides the cloud provider and Talon. In terms of brand recognition, it helps when customers know the vendors they are working with."