Distributed File System

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.

Distributed File System for Nursing Homes?

 

A distributed file system is a way for people to collaborate on large files over vast geographic area of the country.  For example, the head marketing group may be working on a project at corporate, and the field people can need access to these files.  One group that would be less likely to need a distributed file system would be a nursing home or series of nursing homes.   Nursing homes will generally do the marketing and planning in one central office.  The director of nursing or the admin is very unlikely to need access to large files for collaboration.

So, if a group that has a ton of employees, but little need for file sharing is a bad fit, who would be a good fit for a distributed file system?

The best fit is marketing firms, engineers, architects and attorneys.  People who have lots of highly skilled and highly paid employees looking at large files.

If you need a distributed file system for your company, give us a call.

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!

Working from a Coffeeshop… A Brave New World

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A Great Way to Work

I am actually writing this blog post inside a Starbucks and just needing to get some work done before I head down to Colorado Springs.  It is getting more and more common for workers to be working in a distributed (non central) environment.  Maybe you have some of your field engineers in Calgary and others in Houston if you are in the oil industry.  If this is the case, there are times where your Calgary people will need the ability to quickly access files in the Houston office and vice versa without ending up with revision conflicts.  (The guys in Calgary and Houston working on the same files at the same time.)

If you have a company which depends on data and you have files going between a lot of different people, you really should look at a quality distributed file system before you start trying to use Sharepoint or some cloud service.  If you want to get into the the techie nitty gritties, give us a call and we’ll be happy to show you how a well set up distributed file system can save your company tens of thousands of dollars. 

I am done with this writing, but I am glad that I can work from anywhere without losing data!  ;)

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.

Distributed File Systems vs WAN Optimization

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Network Map

So, you have a server in New York City, another in Los Angeles and another one in Las Vegas.  Your company is growing and you are the head of IT.  You are seeing that your New York and LA offices are having to share a lot of files and it is putting a severe burden on your precious network.  So, you are having to make a decision, do you go ahead and go with WAN Optimization or do you come up with an alternative like a Distributed File System?

What are some of the advantages of a DFS over WAN Optimization?

  • You don’t transfer the whole file every time something is opened, thus reducing your network bandwidth.
  • You have live copies at both sites, so if server A goes down, a working copy is on server B.
  • The price point can be much much less than traditional WAN Optimization products

If you are struggling with network performance and want to chat about a Distributed File System, give our sales reps a call.  We can work with you no matter where you work in the country or the world!

Linux

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Distributed File Systems and Linux

We often get asked the question of whether our distributed file system works with Linux, and the short answer is no it does not.  We realize that people are here searching for solutions, so we will at least list some of the possible solutions that could work, but we haven’t personally used any of these systems, so we can’t say how they do with redundency or maintainability.  They will also vary in complexity.  If you would like to speak with our technical expert, feel free to give us a call and ask to speak with Tom.

http://wiki.lustre.org

http://datafarm.apgrid.org/

http://www.redhat.com/gfs

http://lefthandnetworks.com

http://www.TwinPeakSoft.com/

Again, it should be noted the distributed file systems we set up are done with Windows servers and not Linux.  Nevertheless, we want to provide answers for those looking!

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!

Peer Sync Overview

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Peer Sync Screenshot

If you need to sync your servers so that they contain the same data and are locally accessible at two different office locations, then Peer Sync may be for you!  Peer Sync by Peer Sofware is a product designed to make the servers at multiple office locations all contain the same file revisons without having to manually manage the process.  If a file is changed on a server, the replication carries across to the other servers so that when another office opens the document, the changes which happened at location A can be carried over to location B without having to call or manually sync location B’s file.

The more automated this process, the less file revision conflicts will happen.

If your company has been researching how to sync servers, give us a call and we can go over the details with you!

Remote Laptop and PC Data Backup

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How Our Data Backup System Works

If you have remote employees, they work on laptops or PC’s at their home offices.  If you think about files, all files represent labor.  Someone had to do work for a file to be created.  So, if the laptop of the engineer in LA dies, what happened to all their data?  Is it protected?  Is it backed up?  Does your process require the user to synch or does it happen automatically?  If it is automatically, is it a system hog so they try and figure out how to shut it down?

Utilizing a distributed file system along with a desktop/laptop backup system is often just the solution.  The whole laptop hard drive does not need to be backed up, just the changes, making this process much faster for the user.  Having an archive is important so you can return to previous revisions if necessary.  Maybe there was a rework done on a project and you can show the client the work that was done and how that changed compared to the final file for billing reasons.  If you are an engineering company or just a regular company with a lot of important remote employees, you should give us a call so we can speak with you on how to get all the remote workers plugged into a system with continuous and reliable updates!