Global Data Access With A Global NAS – Panzura Amazon re:Invent Briefing Note

One of the challenges facing global companies is gaining access to the same data at the same time so that projects can be collaborated on in real-time. These organizations need local high performance access to data but need to make sure that the other offices remain in sync with that data. Panzura solves this problem with their Cloud Integrated NAS solution while also reducing the cost of storage management in the enterprise.

The Panzura Architecture

The typical Panzura architecture places a cloud connected appliance in each of an organization’s offices. Then, based on policy or workflow, data is synced between the various offices so that the entire organization is operating on the same set of data with the same view into the storage hierarchy. This is all managed by Panzura’s truly global file system which executes the data placement based on the above polices. It also handles capabilities such as file locking so that if a user in New York opens a file the other offices are restricted to a read-only copy.

The Cloud Backend

The key to this is Panzura’s Cloud Controller which bridges the gap between traditional enterprise NAS storage solutions and Amazon S3. The use of enterprise-class, multi-user file system locking protocols, along with FIPS 140-2 validated military-grade encryption, ensures users can reliably and securely access a single cloud-based storage location. In addition, Panzura provides global deduplication to make sure that only unique data blocks are stored in the cloud.

All data is constantly replicated to a cloud storage facility like Amazon’s S3 for both disaster recovery and long-term data retention. Again, based on policy or workflows, data can be removed from some or all the appliances in the offices and stored only in the cloud.

Cloud Integration

At Amazon re:Invent Panzura announced that their Global NAS Appliances are now available on AWS Marketplace as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). With the Panzura AMIs, IT planners can create virtual, cloud-based compute environments that seamlessly tie directly into their global physical and virtual infrastructure, and into Panzura’s global file system described above. The solutions allow for access to S3 data in EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) or on-premises through CIFS and NFS.

The AEC Angle

Panzura has had specific success in the architecture engineering and construction (AEC) marketplace because these organizations need to share vast amounts of data between multiple locations seamlessly. But AEC projects are becoming more complex and file counts have grown exponentially. New regulations and compliance requirements have presented AEC companies with additional challenges requiring highly evolved solutions.

A major hurdle facing the AEC community is the time-consuming task of transferring and sharing Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Bentley MicroStation, or CAD modeling types of files between global locations. The time it takes to open, transfer, close and save widely used project files – the ‘File Open’ problem – reduces productivity and increases project costs. And the main culprit in all this is latency. Panzura claims to solve these with a single solution that eliminates latency, handles file distribution and fulfills compliance requirements.

Storage Swiss Take

AEC seems to be an ideal market for Panzura, but is certainly not limited to that use case. Any organization that needs to globally share and distribute file based data should consider the Panzura solution. The ability to collaborate, protect and retain information, while at the same time reducing the on-premise storage investment, should be a top priority for most organizations.


George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer at VergeIO, the leader in Ultraconverged Infrastructure. Prior to VergeIO he was Chief Product Strategist at StorONE. Before assuming roles with innovative technology vendors, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, SAN, Virtualization, Cloud, and Enterprise Flash. Before founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators, where he was in charge of technology testing, integration, and product selection.

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