by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

IBM acquisition Aspera announces accelerated cloud-based data transfer

Published April 23, 2014


Companies today struggle to share the increasing volumes of big data files within their enterprises and around the world. Aspera recently announced new products that enhance the way organizations move data to and from the cloud at maximum speeds.

The California-based company was acquired by IBM earlier this year after 10 years of building data transfer technology. Now, the company is teaming up with several leading cloud providers and platforms to accelerate its offerings.

“We have a very strong cloud focus that started three years ago with a partnership with Netflix and Amazon,” says Richard Heitmann, Aspera Vice President of Marketing.

The Aspera On Demand product was launched to help Netflix get its content up and running in the cloud. Aspera announced it will expand the platform to include additional cloud providers, such as IBM SoftLayer, Google Cloud, Windows Azure, and Akamai NetStorage.

“We take a different approach to cloud support,” explains Heitmann. Aspera’s platform is tightly integrated with the underlying storage layer, which gives the end user several benefits. The first, he says, “is a true high-speed throughput, all the way from where they are transferring their data from, all the way to the storage. Lion speed throughput all the way to the storage.”

Heitmann adds that it’s much more secure and simple. “Because we’ve tightly integrated, we can do things like ‘Resume’,” he explains of the platform’s ease of use. If an extremely large file is interrupted, Aspera can track how much of the transfer is completed and can then resume right there and finish it. “It’s just an extra level of detail that engineers have done that translates to a much more secure and seamless user experience.”

In addition to the On Demand support expansion, Aspera also announced a new joint solution with Akamai NetStorage called Aspera Upload Acceleration. This capability leverages Aspera high-speed transfer software running in the Akamai Intelligent Platform, which speeds up file transfers directly into NetStorage.

Aspera also announced Aspera Drive, a new product that allows customers to share documents with large file sizes on their desktops.

“[Aspera Drive] really breaks all of the enterprise barriers to this type of desktop sharing and synchronization,” says Heitmann. “It includes all of the capabilities [Aspera offers], but all of that capability is now accessible directly inside your Windows or Mac desktop.”

Although Aspera works closely with many media and entertainment organizations, Heitmann explains that many companies outside these industries also need to quickly move extremely large files across long distances. From the oil and gas industry to life sciences, engineering, electronics, and financial services, the need to move ever-growing amounts of data is increasing.

“Media and entertainment companies are not only looking for innovation, but there are also very high expectations around the technology,” explains Heitmann. “It needs to work, it needs to be robust, and it needs to be secure. Other industries are experiencing the same trends.”

An additional storage layer for increased security
Companies like VHX and FilmTrack provide their customers the ability to move content into the cloud, but since VHX and FilmTrack actually own the back end storage in the cloud, they also need to ensure they don’t expose their own storage credentials, explains Heitmann. Aspera provides an additional storage layer that allows for multi-tenancy and application level security.

The On Demand platform includes Aspera’s flagship patented technology, Aspera Fast and Secure Protocol (FASP), which allows data to move quickly and securely using Aspera’s clients' existing infrastructure and commodity hardware.

“It’s not subject to the same bottlenecks that other transport protocols have,” says Heitmann. “At the foundational level, you have this Aspera FASP technology that can move the very, very big data over very long distances, very, very quickly.”

FASP’s characteristics include built-in security. “Aspera FASP itself has secure authentication. It has encryption over the wire, so as the data is moving over the network, it is encrypted,” says Heitmann. “We inspect every data packet to make sure there hasn’t been any tampering. Then the data can be encrypted at rest when it lands on the physical storage. Only when you have the pass key can you decrypt it.”



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