Our products and services help our customers to simplify data protection and migration, eliminate regulatory risk and mitigate long term risk of data loss.
We take care.
Service is an essential part of our offerings. Customizable SLAs with 24/7 support, on-location part exchange and up to 10 years duration guarantee maximum safety for our customers.
We help being compliant.
Without proper software, storage hardware is just a bunch of disks (or SSDs). Our software ensures maximum flexibility, helps being compliant with legal requirements, and is certified to work seamlessly with leading backup and archiving applications.
We develop to protect.
Our storage systems are unlike any other solution. They have been designed and built from the ground to protect your data for decades. Custom controllers, disk model independence, removable zero-energy storage containers, and optional hardware WORM sealing are just some of our own developments.
For over a decade, we at FAST LTA have been passionate about protecting data. From the beginning, our goal was that our customers never lose any data. In thousands of installations in healthcare, government, industry, finance and broadcast, our solutions and services have been proven to provide highest security, lowest maintenance and full legal compliance.
Matthias Zahn (middle), Founder and President, is a serial entrepreneur and has founded a number of companies in the tech industry. Jörg "Ali" Adelstein (left), CTO, and Reiner Bielmeier (right), CEO, have been working with Matthias for decades in various companies.
Being a specialist means: we do one thing and we do it right. Since our secure storage solutions are known to be low-maintenance and long-lasting, industry leading application providers partner with us to deliver optimized solutions to the customers.
FAST Electronics GmbH
Matthias Zahn founded his first company: FAST Electronic GmbH. FAST would develop software copy protection modules (“dongles”) to prevent expensive software to be stolen. For the first “Hardlock”, as the product was called, Matthias and his team developed their own custom chip design with strong cryptography.
In 2007, Matthias Zahn and his team decided to shift the company’s focus away from TV timeshift devices towards long-term archiving. FAST TV Server AG became FAST LTA AG.
The LTA-1 was a super-redundant storage system built upon standard desktop disk drives. It was based on our own disk controller with Erasure Coding, Digital Audit and hardware WORM sealing. Through Erasure Coding, data was distributed over 3 locations in Switzerland, providing 9-fold redundancy. Digital Audit regularly scanned the complete content on the disks for bit-flips and disk errors and initiated the shutdown of that particular disk drive. Erasure Coding, Digital Audit and hardware WORM sealing are still the core technologies of our archiving products.
In 2007, FAST LTA launched a service called “fotobank”. The purpose was to protect all of your valuable pictures for decades. Although there was no “cloud” at that time, this was one of the first cloud services available. Basis was the LTA-1 storage system. The archive could be accessed through a desktop app or via web browser. A thin “fotobank client” would scan certain folders for new images and upload them automatically to the fotobank – known today as CDP, continuous data protection. There even was a “snowball” service to ingest and retrieve large amounts of data: we would accept and ship out DVDs.
Based on the LTA technology, we launched our first local archiving product, initially targeted at hospitals that would not want or were not allowed to store their data outside of their own country. It was claimed to be the storage for all data that must not get lost, featuring 8/12 Erasure Coding (4 disks could fail without losing data), Digital Audit and hardware WORM sealing. It turned out to be a huge success.
Legally compliant archiving
With the need for an affordable archiving solution that complies with a variety of legal constrains, Silent Cubes went through certification by KPMG. Compliant archiving was then available, according GDPdU, GoBS, RöV in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Merely a year from introduction, we gathered 20+ application partners from healthcare, DMS/ECM and archiving and introduced new volume types to ensure seamless integration. The strong relationships with our partners is still one of the main building blocks of our strategy.
With the addition of more specialized volume types and software features, the number of “Approved Solutions” that have been certified to work with Silent Cubes more than doubled. Companies like AGFA Healthcare or d.velop began to sell Silent Cubes as the accompanying storage solution to their own applications.
Silent Cube Compact
While Silent Cubes originally targeted hospitals and other applications with demand for large amounts of storage, governmental applications and smaller businesses also required a compliant archiving solution. With the introduction of the Silent Cube Compact, we offered an all-in-one device for WORM archiving – for a very attractive price.
Unfortunately, we had to discontinue our Gigabank product. Dropbox was well funded and taking over the consumer cloud storage market. We had to focus on secure B2B storage solutions. We never lost any data stored on our Swiss servers. Customers could retrieve all data for 5 more years, but uploading was not longer possible.
Reseller and partner network
Most major application providers have now been certified to work seamlessly with Silent Cubes. Smaller ones with specialized market access followed along. In addition, our Certified Reseller program grew rapidly within Europe.
10 years SLA
Usually, SLAs in the IT business run for 3 years. After that, one would either have to re-invest in new hardware, or extend the existing SLA, in most cases at higher rates. We had already increased the standard SLA runtime to 5 years, and now doubled that to 10 – at the very same conditions. Lots of happy customers extended their SLA. Most cited customer feedback: it just works.
Apart from archiving, backup had became a huge market. Most backups, however, were still on tape. The new concept of COLD STORAGE – Cost Optimized Linear Disk Storage – was developed with the aim to combine the benefits of tape (offline, inexpensive) and disk-based storage systems (random access, redundancy, replication). Erasure Coding and was the key technology, again.
With the advent of Silent Bricks, we felt the need to freshen up our presence in the competitive battlefield. The new color was 100% CYAN, bold and confident.
With the introduction of Silent Bricks, we expanded our target markets towards tape archives and backup storage. Initially only available as VTL – virtual tape library – Silent Bricks could replace existing tape installations 1:1. Users could keep the benefits of tape (offline, relatively inexpensive) and gain the benefits of disks (random access, redundancy). Silent Bricks were based on the very same technologies that have been proven successful in thousands of Silent Cubes installations – 8/12 ECR, Digital Audit and the use of desktop disk drives.
Acknowledging the requirement of NAS capabilities, we added SecureNAS to the Silent Brick System. Depending on the security and performance requirements, the user can chose between Erasure Coding with 4 redundancies and linear write mode, and ZFS-based dual or triple parity which particularly makes sense in random write/read scenarios, such as incremental backups.
Silent Brick Drive
Adding a smaller version to the Silent Brick product portfolio was the plan from the beginning. The Silent Brick Drive features 2 slots and works perfectly as small backup appliance, file server or archiving storage. It could also network to a Silent Brick System for replication.
Silent Brick Flash
The need for faster file access led to a logical product line expansion: The Silent Brick Flash features SSDs instead of disk drives and is especially suited for applications with lots of random access, such as incremental backups or DMS archiving for millions of small files. It is available in 3, 6 and 12 TB gross.
Silent Brick WORM
And of course, there is also a version of the Silent Brick with hardware WORM sealing, enabling legally compliant archiving within the Silent Brick System. Based on the very same technologies that have been developed back in 2007, the Silent Brick WORM uses Erasure Coding, Digital Audit and hardware sealing to protect the data. Like the Silent Cubes, it has been certified by KPMG for legal compliance, including the new GDPR. The beauty, of course, is that can reside within the very same Silent Brick System the customer already uses as backup storage or file server, lowering the TCO significantly.