Archive | July 2018

The Malware Meltdown

Yet again it has been some time since I’ve posted here… it has sat at the top of my todo list for some time, but other todo’s keep climbing over it. Anyway, enough with the poor excuses… where are we at? Well, in summary, we have made lots of progress on Drive Xtender and Drive Bender v3… let’s cover Drive Xtender to start!

First of all a big sorry to those users that have been waiting patiently for the first beta. That said, most of the features we were shooting for, have been completed… now I can hear the punters screaming, “where the hell is beta 1”? That is a good question and one that has much to do with the title of this post, and, I will get to that soon… but in short, we shifted focus from Drive Xtender to Drive Bender v3. So, where does that leave us with Drive Xtender? Well, for the moment, I don’t want to bang on about a product that is slow to be realized, but, as I said we are not far off. A major change is that we have thrown out the original web portal and are redeveloping this in a new framework. For those interested, we moving from Angular 1 (the prototype was started a number of years ago) to React. While this is now underway, it is going to add significant time to the project… so we have decided to release the first beta using the Cloud Xtender client interface to manage things. As for when… soon 😉

The revised Cloud Xtender interface

The revised Cloud Xtender interface

Next, on to Drive Bender, and to elaborate on what I said previously regarding the title of this post. Earlier this years we received a support request from a user that has been struck by some ransomware. This attack had encrypted a number of important files on his Drive Bender pool, that he was, sadly, unable to recover. As part of our Drive Bender v3 roadmap, we had ransomware protection atop of our feature list. Given that our Drive Bender user base is our largest, their file security is paramount, so the decision was made to switch focus and get Drive Bender v3 underway. As a result, the v3 development cycle is all but complete and is in final internal testing.

V3 bring a lot of new features and fixes, but there are a number of standouts that I want to discuss here today. The first we have termed, the “Pool Firewall”. This feature provides firewall like features to the pool’s file system. That is you can apply rules to which files can be modified, and what application can modify them. Like a network firewall, you specify cascading rules that are checked during file access, if a rule is found that meets the criteria, the rule’s access level is enforced. So for example, you may want all your word documents, to sit under a documents folder, to only be accessible by MS Word, this is possible (FYI – We may also include read access limiting, but this has not been decided as yet, if you have any thoughts, let us know). We’ll be posting a “how to” on this feature very soon.

Pool firewall management

Pool firewall management

The next feature is one we have called “Drive Idle”… over the years, a common concern with drive pooling is 1) power consumption and 2) drive wear and tear. Every time a pool is accessed, it can require many, if not all drives in the pool to spin up. In fact, this access is often a third-party app indexing the pool as a background task, again, often requiring the entire pool to spin up. Our Drive Idle technology is designed to prevent these spin ups, or, at the very least limit them. This feature should also improve pool performance and responsiveness.

Finally, the last feature we are going to briefly go over is “Sleep Mode”. This is a feature that will have many users rejoicing, and also help reduce the number of support requests we get with regards to users disconnecting drives arrays when not in use (as this causing other issues). Basically, Sleep Mode decouples the underlying drives from the mount points… while the mount point(s) still exists, all I/O is prevented from reaching the pooled drives.

As previously mention, all these features are complete and in final testing… all being well, the v3 beta is scheduled to be released before the end of July.

One final note, there is a change in pricing coming with the final v3 release, the details of which are still being finalized, but the cost of a Drive Bender lifetime license will be increasing, so if you’re after a license, get in now!