Top 10 Storage Headaches in the Distributed Enterprise

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1 White Paper: Top 10 Storage Headaches Top 10 Storage Headaches And What YOU Can Do To Manage Them!

2 Summary IT directors at growing, distributed enterprises face a number of unique challenges, particularly when it comes to storage. Nasuni has worked with hundreds of customers to alleviate the pain that today s enterprise IT departments face in trying to manage storage remotely. We drew upon the insights and experiences of IT directors at enterprises that range from five to fifty locations and often cross multiple continents. In every case, IT has to ensure that all remote locations have the file access, capacity, performance, and protection to allow them to function effectively as part of the larger enterprise. Often, this functionality has to be established and managed remotely, with little or no local IT presence. A number of headaches can arise as a result. In working with these organizations, we identified the top ten headaches caused by remote office storage and what IT can do to manage them. They can be grouped into two main categories: Storage and Infrastructure Management 1. Managing Storage from Afar 2. The Cost and Complexity of Traditional Storage 3. Unpredictable Storage Growth 4. Personnel Limitations 5. IT Silos 6. Security Critical Data Access 7. Global File Access 8. Gold Copies vs. Old Copies 9. Performance for End Users 10. Underground File Sharing 2

3 Storage and Infrastructure Management Headache 1: Managing Storage from Afar Staying on top of the various hardware and software solutions associated with backup and disaster recovery often requires dedicated specialists for each particular piece. Even then, managing and maintaining these systems remotely can lead to problems. One of our clients, a company based in London, discovered recently that the backups in its Moscow office were actually two years out of date. Other clients insist that there is basically no such thing as a fast, effective, and reliable DR plan for remote offices when you resort to traditional solutions. We have 32 offices around the world and many of them have tape drives and tapes. It s too cumbersome. As we go global and open new offices, we don t want to replicate that scenario. Prescription: IT should strive to centralize data storage and protection. This will enable reliable backup and offsite protection. However, IT must balance centralized control with distributed access and appropriate performance at each location. Headache 2: The Cost and Complexity of Traditional Storage Typically, enterprises resort to setting up remote offices with more traditional storage and protection solutions. Even for small offices, providing the expected functionality might require multiple appliances, numerous software solutions, tape drives, and more. The hardware is expensive, difficult to configure and maintain, and usually has a short life cycle. Overall, this increases the office s footprint and makes establishing and eventually expanding a remote office that much harder. It gets to be very expensive when you have to deploy servers for the hardware, for the software, for the backup. From a small office perspective, we want to try to reduce our footprint, reduce the services required, and reduce complexity at the same time. Prescription: When possible, enterprises should choose as-a-service solutions for remote and branch offices. These types of offerings allow companies to purchase on-demand, and overcome remote lifecycle headaches and the rip-and-replace problem caused by the impact of data growth on traditional hardware solutions. 3

4 Headache 3: Unpredictable Storage Growth File growth is difficult to predict, yet IT still must ensure that remote offices are provisioned with enough capacity. In some cases, charting the storage growth rates of the existing staff in a remote office is not enough. With one of our clients, a business unit might ask IT to set up an office for 25, then inform them six months later that the number of end users will soon grow to 100. Expanding capacity on the fly via traditional storage is overly expensive and almost impossible. What we anticipated in terms of a hardware storage device for three years may end up supporting us for only a year. Then we have to go back and redeploy something. Prescription: IT should provision for growth and constantly monitor storage usage to ensure that growth rates are in line with original projections. IT should also leverage storage-on-demand options so that IT can quickly and effectively respond to changing business directions. Headache 4: Personnel Limitations One of our clients has 35 offices around the world, but only six IT people outside its headquarters to manage all those locations. Another of our customers often has to fly IT personnel to solve problems at remote offices. With such personnel limitations, traditional storage solutions either demand all of their time or, more often, go neglected. The biggest headache for us is having control globally when we don t have an IT presence on every single site. Prescription: IT should strive to manage remote offices in lights-out mode, with no need for personnel onsite, and a single point of control. When evaluating solutions, IT teams must consider the full cost of a technology, including the on-going effort and management required. Solutions that can be managed remotely will greatly reduce this headache. 4

5 Headache 5: IT Silos Everyone in IT has their own opinions about best practices and techniques. In global organizations, this can result in silos that operate differently and inconsistently. Prescription: Central IT should define a clear set of standards and practices for remote infrastructure setup and maintenance. If enforcement presents an ongoing challenge, the most challenging functions should be centralized rather than federated. The more decisions can be templatized, the less time IT will spend managing infrastructure at remote locations. We were creating stovepipes or silos in different countries. We don t want five IT organizations around the world. We re trying to promote the idea that we re one company. Headache 6: Security In global enterprises, workers are constantly coming and going, moving between offices around the world and taking data with them. Monitoring this movement, and ensuring that this data remains secure, can be a major challenge. Enterprises must be certain that both internal data and customer data is always safe and secure, regardless of location. We re losing control of our data as users move data to Dropbox and other consumer services. We both want to stop them but also support the productivity. Rock and a hard place... Prescription: IT should be prepared for the increasing demands of users to support Bring your own Device (BYOD) and non-traditional access methods. If they don t, users will work around corporate IT. Enterprisegrade solutions exist today that deliver both the access users demand along with the control and integration IT needs. 5

6 Critical Data Access Headache 7: Global File Access Today s distributed enterprise is expected to function as a single, seamless organization. End users in remote offices deserve (and, in many cases, expect) fast access to the same files as end users in headquarters. Unfortunately, creating a global file share or distributed access to a shared file system is costly, complex, and difficult to manage. There was no common place where the entire company could go to find one file. Everybody was struggling just to share information. Prescription: IT should leverage technologies that deliver equal access to files without hindering performance. With the help of knowledgeable partners, enterprises should search out systems that are offthe-shelf or have been integrated together previously. Stitching together homegrown solutions typically leads to headaches and finger pointing. Headache 8: Gold Copies vs. Old Copies One of our clients has its headquarters in North America and another critical office in Beijing. Previously, the company replicated data from North America to China every 24 hours. Due to the 12-hour time difference between the two offices, users were often working on old copies of files. A user editing a file in the morning in China might return from lunch and discover that a colleague in North America had already altered that file the previous evening. Yet this copy was not replicated to the Beijing office in time. On several occasions, documents were published without critical changes because end users were working on outdated copies of a file. No one was working off the one golden copy. We ve had a number of instances where documents have been released that were missing corrections. People would come back and say, How did this happen? Prescription: End users should only have access to the latest copy of a file. To reduce potential conflicts while balancing WAN demands, IT should implement a solution with built-in WAN acceleration and deduplication. 6

7 Headache 9: Performance for End Users Companies often resort to stretching the network from remote locations back to headquarters to deliver shared file access. Using a WAN in this way is not only expensive, but ineffective, as end users in remote locations often experience terrible performance. One of our customers complained that someone trying to pull a 1 MB file over the WAN from US headquarters to his remote office in Australia might have to wait several minutes. My biggest challenge right now is being able to offer global file access with local performance. Prescription: In a global organization, end users deserve to be able to work at the same pace as employees in headquarters. In order to deliver performance, critical files must be stored local to the users, ideally in each remote and branch office. Headache 10: Underground File Sharing When there is no global file share (or the existing one offers poor performance and no gold copy), end users often go underground and critical files. The system starts to grow at a substantial rate and the unanticipated data burden taxes the network. In some cases, it can lead to glitches in other critical services delivered over the WAN, such as video conferencing and VoIP. It s costing us more money to manage our WAN because we don t have a solution available for people to share files. To solve this problem, and ensure that critical business functions proceeded uninterrupted, one of our customers was forced to resort to expensive caching solutions that prioritize traffic on the WAN. Prescription: Network Operations should keep a close eye on network performance and systems. Root cause analysis is a critical tool that allows network teams to identify sources of congestion and eliminate them. Should poor storage systems drive spikes in network usage, the storage team can help support the root cause analysis. 7

8 Nasuni Overview Nasuni is the first storage vendor to deliver Storage Infrastructure as a Service (SIaaS), a complete storage solution leveraging the cloud as a primary storage component builtin to a unified storage system. With SIaaS, the resource drain of managing hardware infrastructure is eliminated and IT resources are free to focus on managing your company s most important asset, the data. Employing Nasuni, organizations transform resource constrained IT departments into valuable assets delivering uniform, efficient access to data wherever and whenever it is needed. SIaaS is the perfect solution for distributed organizations with remote and branch offices as companies can now deliver uniform and consistent storage infrastructure across all locations and reduce costs by as much as 60%. Nasuni customers can provide local access to a team s most critical information in every office while reducing the amount of infrastructure required. Whether managing 3 offices or 300, Nasuni s scalable solution makes organizations more agile by eliminating the challenges of growing locations or terabtyes. Key aspects of the Nasuni system include: Integrated system: Nasuni provides storage for NAS and SAN workloads in remote and branch offices that consolidates primary storage, backup, and offsite protection in a single solution. Centralized control: Unlike other distributed systems, every aspect of the Nasuni solution can be managed from headquarters. Nasuni eliminates the need for local staff. On-demand scalability: With storage delivered as a service, Nasuni customers can grow capacity one terabyte at a time. Rather than over-provision, remote offices can scale cost-effectively, as IT can easily add storage in response to personnel growth or unanticipated file growth. Lights-out management: Nasuni appliances need almost no day-to-day management. Most functions, like file restores, can be transitioned away from storage specialists to the help desk. Anywhere access: Nasuni makes file access available anywhere you operate a local Nasuni appliance. IT can give end-users the files they need, when and where they need them. Local performance: Each Nasuni appliance (physical or virtual) caches the most frequently accessed data in its local storage. No matter how vast the total storage system in the cloud, users will experience the local performance they expect. Rapid and efficient synchronization: With technologies like compression and deduplication, Nasuni can synchronize data between offices as frequently as every minute, keeping the gold copy gold, not old. Strong security: All data stored with Nasuni is completely encrypted using customer-controlled keys, ensuring true data security across a range of systems and applications. 8

9 About Nasuni Nasuni offers a powerful Storage Infrastructure as a Service: a uniform, complete storage solution delivered as a service, enabling distributed organizations to offload the management of the storage infrastructure (including backup, replication and offsite protection) and consume storage on-demand, without any change to the way users access information. With Nasuni, corporate data is uniformly available in all locations, enabling organizations to increase user productivity, streamline costs and improve business agility. Our team is made up of enterprise storage, security and networking industry veterans with a shared vision of transforming the way enterprise organizations view data storage. We believe that storage should be as easy to purchase, consume and manage as the electricity that keeps the lights on. Nasuni Corporation 2014, All Rights Reserved 313 Speen Street, Natick, MA WP_2.15

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