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Tiger’s hybrid cloud storage targets medical imaging

Tiger Bridge targets vertical sectors that find it hard to migrate to the cloud by allowing data storage in the cloud while using files locally as if stored on-premise

Bulgarian startup Tiger, which specialises in sharing cloud files via Windows as if stored locally, aims to set a new drive for growth in motion by targeting medical imaging.

“We approached medical scanner manufacturers, including Philips, about implementing a module in their products that talks to our API,” said Alexander Lefterov, CEO of Tiger Technology.

“And with that, these suppliers have been able to offer a cloud dimension to their customers,” he said. “In other words, doctors that use these scanners in their hospitals can share imagery with specialists anywhere in the world.

“Another benefit is that these images comprise millions of pixels and need to be retained for many years, each taking up 2GB of storage. But in backing them up to the cloud in a cost-effective archiving service, you avoid investment in costly local storage.”

In fact, Tiger currently invoices for cloud storage itself at €5 a month per TB.

Tiger Technology offers software-defined products that centre on file system-related functionality. It offers Tiger Store, which layers a single file system across multiple storage and clients; Tiger Bridge, for hybrid cloud and cloud workloads; Tiger Pool, to combine multiple storage volumes into one pool; and a number of industry-specific solutions such as for media and entertainment, surveillance, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Tiger Bridge presents file icons in Windows as if they were stored locally. In fact, the icons are symbolic pointers to documents hosted in the cloud. The key benefit is that the files don’t consume local disk space but they can be found and accessed easily.

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By contrast, the likes of Box and DropBox synchronise local files with copies resident in the cloud, and so do not save space on the user’s local machine. Meanwhile, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive don’t keep anything locally and require use of a web interface to access or download files. These actions bring an overhead for the user and don’t allow for direct use of documents with local applications.

Tiger Bridge makes the online document directly useable by Windows and its applications. The interesting technical point is that it can manage a kind of dynamic cache to provide rapid access to the contents of a file. When a document is created then closed, Tiger Bridge moves file components to the cloud in the background.

When the document is reopened, Tiger Bridge recovers it in small chunks. In the case of video, it doesn’t download the whole movie before opening it but only the parts the user sees, and that accelerates availability to the screen. For very large medical image scans, it only downloads displayable pixels then those necessary to effect a zoom.

Founded in 2005, Tiger claims 10,000 users today globally. After having successfully sold its product to several organisations in Bulgaria, including the army, and in its navy’s submarines, the company achieved international success with video production studios. Its ambition is to become a specialist in rapid access remote storage in a large number of vertical sectors.

“Vertical sectors are by definition very specialised and experience the most difficulty migrating to the cloud – even though they recognise online storage can bring savings,” said Lefterov. “We want to bring down the barriers in their way, namely the loss of speed and simplicity of access to their data.”

But Tiger’s solution has one limit: it only works with Windows. “We have mastered this technology, upon which our product is very efficient,” he said. “But we are regularly asked about deployments on Linux and MacOS. We’re working on it.”

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