Distributed File System

Archive for the ‘WAN Optimization’ Category

Sonicwall and Distributed File Systems

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Sonicwall and Distributed File Systems?

This is a question we often hear,  and the answer to the question is more or less, YES.  Sonicwall, more commonly known for firewall sales, has jumped into the distributed file system space.  The cool part is that the Sonicwall solution is 40% of the typical distributed file system price and about 80% of the speed.  This means you can get your work done while staying in compliance to federal laws and statutes.

Distributed File Systems help remote office used understand what the sales team does better and makes it so that the next Christmas is not filled with Emails cursing this machine as he probably doesn’t know how to fully fix thdistributed file system in Las Vegas.

Please call our firm to get great technical support!  We can show you how Sonicwall has built solutions that are much better than the typical offering in the technology marketplace.

WAN Optimization or DFS Technology?

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If you are wondering what technology is best for your business, you should give our technicians a call as each location will vary in terms of what is the right fit for you! 

First of all, the bigger questions exist as to whether you have multiple people working on the same files at the same time OR are the people just needing to transfer large files in an efficient manner, or both?

We find that most people think they want WAN Optimization, but then when they are pressed as to their document workflow, they start to realize a well integrated distributed file system might actually be a better fit.  So, this is variable, and you are not going to find the answer ina quick online questionairre.

If you would like to talk about which is best for you, just give us a call and we’ll walk you through the pros and the cons of both!

Sharing is Caring – Even With Files

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Do Your Offices Know How to Share?

If you have a bunch of branch offices that have to share large files, no doubt you have looked at WAN Optimization and probably other file share systems.  Some people tend to shy away from Distributed File Systems or DFS because of some common concerns regarding distributed file system technology. 

  • File Locking — What hapens if client using server A is accessing a file and a client at server B is also accessing this file, when both save, what revision will “win”… Is one person’s work nullified?
  • Remote Site Connections — If a engineer for your company does their work on a laptop, do their files sync automatically, or do they have to remember to push out updates?
  • Overwriting by Unauthorized Personnel —  Sales rep looks at work engineer has spent time on and changes a few details because their account requests it, engineer is not aware and when the bid comes in, a PR nightmare comes with it.  Is your intermediate files at risk if a change is made, or are they saved?

Any distributed file system that does not answer some of these simple questions should not even be considered. Give us a call if you’d like to know how we address these issues.

How Many Files Before Considering a DFS solution?

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How do I decide when to consider a DFS Solution?

If you are considering a Distributed File System, you might have questions.  The most common questions we hear come along these lines:

  • How many files should be transferred across the WAN before we consider a DFS solution?
  • How many MB (or TB) generally go across offices before IT staff implements a DFS solution?
  • What types of files work best transferring data across the WAN?

These kind of questions are natural and logical.  If you have 5 offices and all of them are sharing files, at what point is it more cost effective to have a DFS solution than a FTP or WAN acceleration product?  The basic answer to this question is essentially when the speed of the connection starts to inhibit the productivity of the office.  If your WAN accelerator is working fine, why change.  However, if people are routinely grabbing cups of coffee while their files are transferred and loaded, it may be time for you to look into a Distributed File System!

Comparing Alternatives

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Peer Software vs Riverbed's Steelhead Suite

If you are trying to figure out when to look at different file sharing technologies, it can get a bit confusing, especially as you deal with large file collaboration.  Today, we want to deal with the idea of a WAN Acceleration product like Riverbed’s Steelhead product and compare it with a distributed file system using third party software and helping you know when it’s better to consider WAN Optimization and when it’s better to look at buying a distributed file system package.

When is Riverbed’s  Steelhead a good idea?

  • When you have issues getting all of your data through the pipe currently, apart from your file sharing needs
  • When you share files, but don’t really collaborate on them (i.e. Marketing sends tons of pdf’s across the country, but they don’t get concurrent attention.)
  • When your people are consistently complaining about access speeds.

When to consider a distributed file system (with Peer Software suite)

  • When there are multiple offices sharing and editing files and you are not sure exactly when each group does this
  • The files go back and forth multiple times
  • You want local access speeds at remote locations

If you would like to chat about your situation and how a distributed file system might work for you, please call our sales tech, Tom, and he can go over these details with you.

How Engineers Share Large Files

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How to Make File Collaboration easier!

We work with engineers, and engineers have many large files to collaborate on.  For example, the last engineer we worked with was using a massive FTP file share, and spending tons and tons of time waiting for files to go from the remote server to the users and they finally realized how expensive this kludgy method was for their organization.  Using a distributed file system allows them to have the same file on multiple servers and using the FolderMaestro product, they are able to avoid the common file locking issues associated with traditional distributed file systems.

Another firm we worked with we FEDEXing Thumb drives back and forth and killing themselves on cost.  Maybe this would work (kind of) for a 2 man operation, but when you have 5 or 10 members of a project team, this methodology is impossible.

Another option is to utilize WAN Optimization as this will speed up the file uploads and downloads tremendously. 

For most engineers, we do recommend the distributed file system with a 3rd party file locking program like Folder Maestro.

Distributed File System Integrations

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How to Use DFS Namespace with 3rd Party Software

As custmers like architecture firms or engineering companies strive to improve their efficiencies and make sure their employees are working at full capacity, there is often a need to integrate a Distributed File System with a 3rd party software or hardware solution to take advantage of the DFS stability and the 3rd party efficiency.  We focus primarily on integrating FolderMaestro with a Distributed File System so that companies can share large files over multiple servers in multiple geographic areas.  Doing a simple distributed file system and then having everyone pointing to the root and having to transmit these large packets of data over the WAN is not cost effective in relation to bandwidth of the network or the individual who is trying to pull this data.

FolderMaestro allows there to be a “live copy” of the file on each individual server which “talks” to the other servers in a “check-in/check-out” fashion.  There isn’t the 10 to 20 minute lag time for the huge files and there aren’t revision issues.  A distributed file system with it’s caching mechanism works ok for some companies, but for companies who have real peer to peer file fharing needs, a 3rd party software needs to be added.  There are many that work in different ways which we can discuss with you.  The iShaper, Riverbed, FolderMaestro, etc…  There are probably 20 different companies who have some distributed file system solution, they all vary widely in price and we’d be happy to give you side by side explanations of why we focus on the solution (FolderMaestro) that we do! 

If you are considering a distributed file system for peer to peer file collaboration, please give us a call!

How the iShaper Replacement Increases Network Performance

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Save System Resources

As you are looking to replace your iShaper, you may wonder how the iShaper can help with common network admin issues such as WAN optimization and DFS integration.  This is a valid question to be asking, and we just wanted to let you know a couple of key features as it relates to the iShaper by Bluecoat (or Packeteer…)

The iShaper is not simply a WAN Optimization product.  It seeks to integrate the benefits of DFS with WAN Optimization while also addressing data flow over a network and keeping the file architecture as close to the user as possible.

So what were some of the benefits of the iShaper?

  • Improved application response
  • Improved network traffic shaping (hence the name iShaper)
  • Single access point to address WAN Optimization
  • Policy for traffic based out of different applications

These benefits were pretty awesome with the iShaper, but there were the caching issues we already have discussed some and the price point made the iShaper almost impossible for many firms to afford.

Our system utilizes the same benefit set, improved WAN optimization, etc…  but at a highly competitive price point.  The other great thing about our iShaper replacement is that Peer Software’s Folder Maestro is still sold and fully supported with no current plans of discontinuation.

If you have specific issues you want to discuss regarding iShaper replacement strategies, WAN Optimization in general or DFS system integration using Windows based architecture, please give us a call today!

Why WAN Optimization is Gaining Interest

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How Long Do Files Take to Share?

Maybe you are an IT professional or a decision maker…  You may have a Wide Area Network (WAN) and want to improve speed.  What makes someone more interested in looking at WAN acceleration?  There are a few factors that seem to cause interest more than anything.

  • More and more home workers in multiple locations all needing to share larger and larger files.  This puts a strain on the network.
  • The increasing cost of bandwidth.  As costs climb with more and more data being transmitted, the interest in making the WAN as efficient as possible increases, especially if it means 2 T1 lines can now be 1 T1 line!!
  • Government Regulations — As more and more government regulations continue to increase the need to pass data across networks, people are looking for cost effective ways to get this done!

If you have questions on how we can make your WAN more efficient, please give us a call and talk to our WAN expert, Tom.