Signiant Unveils Unified Cloud Architecture Based on SDN Concepts
Next-Generation SaaS Platform Functionality Continues to Expand, Enabling Cloud Adoption
BURLINGTON, MA – September 10, 2014 – Signiant, the market leader in intelligent file movement, today announced extensions to the company’s cloud platform and offered insight into the underlying technical innovations that led to its development. At the International Broadcast Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam September 11-16, 2014, the company will be demonstrating two award-winning products based on this platform: Media Shuttle and Signiant Flight.
An early adopter of cloud technology, Signiant’s newest products have transformed the way enterprises move large, high-value digital assets. Media Shuttle provides a super-simple “Dropbox-like” experience for sending and sharing large files, and Signiant Flight is the only commercially available Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that accelerates the movement of large files into and out of cloud storage.
An important early innovation in the development of Signiant’s new architecture was to separate the software that controls file transfers (the control plane) from the software that performs file transfers (the data plane). This key concept is borrowed from the Software Defined Networking (SDN) trends that are sweeping the broader technology world. In the networking case, the objective is to separate tasks that are best done in hardware (such as fast packet switching) from tasks that are better done in software (like routing control and quality of service management), and create a well-defined interface between the two.
Although Signiant’s file movement solutions are entirely software-based, the same basic idea can be applied: cleanly separate the system into two distinct components that can be separately optimized.
Separating the two software layers was not meaningful when all software was deployed on premises, but there is a huge benefit in the cloud era. This approach has allowed Signiant to judiciously move system components into the cloud, rather than making the cloud an all-or-nothing proposition. Within a single customer deployment, some tasks can run on multi-tenant cloud infrastructure while others run on single tenant on-premises infrastructure. Media Shuttle users, for example, benefit from a cloud-delivered user experience (control plane) while still having control over where cache storage is located (data plane) – either utilizing on-premises or cloud infrastructure. This hybrid SaaS model, which enables storage control and independence, has been a key factor in Media Shuttle’s runaway market success.
With the new SDN-like architecture, Signiant has been able to take an incremental approach to SaaS implementation. Media Shuttle’s SaaS control layer led the way, followed by the unique managed server tier that makes Signiant Flight so much simpler to deploy and manage than other solutions on the market.
“As the only file transfer technology company to embrace true SaaS concepts, we encountered some initial resistance,” said Rick Clarkson, VP of product management at Signiant. “Media Shuttle’s hybrid SaaS architecture allowed customers to ease into new technology paradigms – and as with many things related to the cloud, the mindset shift has been incredibly fast. Customers now understand and fully embrace Signiant’s cloud direction.”
With Media Shuttle and Signiant Flight now established in the market, Signiant is continuing to add capabilities to the platform. Recent additions include enhanced mobile applications and SDKs. The company is also extending its commitment to storage independence by supporting multiple cloud platforms and enabling the movement of content between clouds with zero switching costs.
“Media Shuttle and Flight harness the power of the cloud in different, but converging ways,” said Ian Hamilton, chief technology officer at Signiant. “The control plane component of Signiant Flight is becoming more powerful as we build out management console capabilities, while the data plane of Media Shuttle is being extended, allowing our customers to use their preferred cloud storage provider or on-premises storage for file sharing or FTP replacement. ”
Signiant has three patents pending on the next-generation cloud architecture, relating to the separation of the data plane from the control plane, cloud-based validation against a delivery spec, and load-balanced cloud servers.