Business challenge

CTERA aimed to help enterprises modernize file storage, collaboration, and backup infrastructure with a unified platform that could meet their data security and performance requirements.

Transformation

CTERA uses highly scalable IBM Storage solutions to support its centralized file services and help companies manage and back up growing amounts of unstructured data.

Results

Boosts

client productivity, enabling users across hundreds of locations to share files

Enhances

data security, protecting enterprises against financial and reputational damage

70%

cost savings for some clients by consolidating point solutions to a single platform

Business challenge story

Planning unified enterprise file services

In their search for new markets and competitive advantage, enterprises today are spreading operations across remote and branch offices. For the IT teams at the center of these large organizations, this presents a huge challenge: how to ensure continuous user access to business-critical data, while also maintaining data security?

Jim Crook, Director of Marketing at CTERA, explains: “Many organizations are running into what we call the ‘beyond the data center’ problem. Remote and branch offices are storing more and more unstructured data locally, which must be kept for longer and longer for compliance reasons.

“Managing that data can be a huge headache – processes such as remote backups can be extremely tricky to implement and typically utilize expensive point solutions. The end-result is data becomes siloed at remote locations, rather than being available to share on an enterprise-wide level.”

He continues: “At the same time, workers now expect to be able to use their own mobile devices – laptops, tablets, and cellphones – to access files. In many cases, these roaming users rely on services from external file service providers to store, share and access data while on the go. This places sensitive data beyond the control of the central IT team—putting the enterprise at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements and of major security breaches. The financial and reputational damage caused by a hack could be enormous for an enterprise.”

In response, CTERA decided to use its expertise in cloud computing to build a new, comprehensive data storage solution, delivering secure file services and enabling enterprise-wide collaboration. To underpin the solution, the company knew it needed the most secure, scalable infrastructure available.

Some of our clients have reported TCO savings of up to 70 percent, compared to their previous storage solutions – an excellent result.

—Jim Crook, Director of Marketing, CTERA

Transformation story

Deploying best-of-breed storage

To turn its vision into reality, CTERA teamed up with IBM to create the CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform. To support the joint solution, CTERA deployed IBM® Cloud Object Storage and IBM Spectrum Scale™. Enterprise clients can deploy the platform on-premise within their own data center, or via public cloud on IBM Cloud Platform.

Jim Crook comments: “It was a natural move for us to work with IBM. We are a long-term IBM Business Partner, so we know the expertise they bring to the table, and the superior performance of their storage solutions. What’s more, we knew that many of the enterprises we were planning to market the platform to hold the IBM brand in particularly high regard.”

The CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform provides integrated capabilities for file storage, collaboration, synchronization, backups, and data governance. Users deploy CTERA Edge Filers, which act as local storage pools, before backing up data via the cloud to a large-scale centralized file system, with real-time synchronization and replication. Hundreds of remote locations can therefore access business-critical files securely, with the entire network protected by multiple levels of encryption to safeguard against breaches.

The massive scalability of IBM Cloud Object Storage allows users to store and manage huge volumes of unstructured data. Built-in always-on availability enables fast, reliable access to data, and all-or-nothing transform encryption adds an extra layer of security. The solution combines with IBM Spectrum Scale software-defined storage and automatically tiers files and objects to make the most efficient use of available capacity.

Crook adds: “Working with IBM Storage solutions means we get the best of the best, and the ideal infrastructure to support our Enterprise File Services Platform. IBM Cloud Object Storage, for example, combines high-performance storage with exceptionally low costs on a per-terabyte basis – the perfect combination for us.”

CTERA is also utilizing IBM Cloud™ to offer the platform as a cloud service, as Crook elaborates: “IBM Cloud enables us to provide flexibility to our clients on how they deploy the platform. Many of our users prefer to deploy the Enterprise File Services Platform via IBM Cloud, helping them achieve significant data center cost savings.”

He continues: “Our partnership with IBM is proving to be highly valuable. IBM provides excellent support; we also enjoy access to an extensive partner community and many other IBM sellers who are all keen to spread the word about our platform. Thanks to IBM, we’re identifying even more opportunities in the marketplace and reaching out to potential customers.”

With IBM’s support, we are enabling world-leading customers to deploy modern file collaboration and data protection solutions that transform their data management and storage strategies. Already, we’re looking forward to the next steps in a highly effective alliance.

—Jim Crook, Director of Marketing, CTERA

Results story

Boosting enterprise-wide collaboration

Supported by IBM, CTERA is bringing its highly scalable file services platform to major global enterprises, helping to promote business-wide collaboration, boost data security and slash IT costs. Organizations ranging from leading financial services groups to consumer goods retailers and US government departments are taking advantage of the CTERA file system.

Crook elaborates: “Our centralized file system breaks down local data siloes, and is enabling enterprises to share business-critical data across hundreds and even thousands of remote locations. Thousands of workers can access data securely anytime, anywhere, using their preferred device, helping them to collaborate more effectively and boosting productivity.

“Clients are also seeing much improved availability and 90 percent faster recovery times on average. Our zero-minute recovery function ensures that if a local user loses a laptop, for example, or a remote office suffers a disaster, they can simply log on to the central file store via the cloud and keep on working with minimal disruption.”

The CTERA platform also enables clients to significantly ramp up security by storing data within the heavily encrypted file system. Crook adds: “We believe we are reducing the risk of our clients suffering a data breach by a tremendous degree. We estimate that most companies where users store data on external file services beyond their control will encounter a security breach within the next three years. That will mean direct financial loss for the business, and lasting reputational damage to the brand that may be impossible to recover from. With IBM, we’re providing a platform that closes those security gaps and mitigates the risk of data breaches.”

The comprehensive functionality of the CTERA platform is helping enterprises achieve considerable cost savings. The combined file share, sync, store and backup capabilities remove the need for enterprises to purchase multiple point solutions to manage data.

Crook elaborates: “Our platform does the job of four or five separate solutions, and when deployed in the IBM Cloud, offers even greater cost savings for users. Some of our clients have reported TCO savings of up to 70 percent, compared to their previous storage solutions – an excellent result. And when they factor in the increase in productivity, we believe clients will achieve a return on investment in the CTERA platform of between 200 and 300 percent over the next three years.”

He concludes: “With IBM’s support, we are offering world-leading, ultra-secure file services that help our clients transform their data management and storage strategy. Already, we’re looking forward to the next steps in a highly profitable alliance.”

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About CTERA

Founded in 2008 by experts in cloud computing and data security, CTERA provides enterprises with solutions for file storage, access, sharing, backup, and governance. Trusted by Global 1000 companies including leading banks, telecoms, and healthcare providers, CTERA supports millions of users across 40,000 global businesses with its file services platform. Based in New York and Israel, the company is an IBM Business Partner, as well as working with many other leading enterprise technology providers.

Solution components

  • Cloud Object Storage
  • IBM Bluemix
  • IBM Spectrum Scale

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