Case Study: Perkins+Will

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High-Performance Protected Storage Across the Enterprise

When world-class architecture and design firm Perkins+Will needed a high performance storage platform to support their global teams, they turned to Nasuni. With 24 locations around the world, traditional storage and data protection schemes were becoming expensive and difficult to manage. Teams in different locations wanted access to shared project data. Nasuni has allowed Perkins+Will to deploy a high performance storage platform that delivers data protection and synchronization at a fraction of the cost and complexity of any existing solution.

Drivers
  • Need for infrastructure to support teams worldwide
  • Rising storage costs due to growth of data and locations
  • Desire to improve collaboration across teams and projects
Requirements
  • Secure high performance storage in every location
  • Centrally controlled data protection and synchronization
  • Predictable, reasonable cost model to support business growth
Nasuni Solution
  • A Nasuni Filer in every office to deliver high performance storage
  • Integrated data protection and synchronization services
  • Clean, capacity-based cost model yielding savings of 65%

Perkins+Will’s Issues:

As Perkins+Will has increased in size and reach, the challenge of protecting, managing and accurately provisioning storage in all locations has also grown. The firm’s architects work with business-critical BIM files as large as 300 GB. These models represent 80% of Perkins+Will’s data, so strong protection and uninterrupted access are critical. The complexity of design and management applications such as Revit, Navisworks and Newforma place an added premium on performance.

Finally, effective collaboration has always been a key capability in the firm’s business. In the past few years, up to 25% of the firm’s projects have involved multiple offices. This distribution of teams is great for clients, but often results in lost productivity for design professionals as the far flung employees frequently wait for models to open or “sync to central.”

To meet its IT needs, Perkins+Will was relying on multiple traditional hardware storage solutions. These solutions had multiple drawbacks:

  • Management Headaches: Ensuring remote backup was a hassle; IT had to manage numerous storage systems in each location
  • Heavy MPLS/WAN Traffic: Snapshots and file synchronization were eating up bandwidth
  • Skyrocketing Costs: Data was growing so quickly that traditional three-year solutions were no longer sustainable

The Nasuni Solution

Perkins+Will has now deployed Nasuni at 24 locations across the globe, with high-performance hardware appliances matched to meet the storage needs of each office. The immediate advantages:

  • Performance: Designed for heavy workloads, the Nasuni Filer gives end users in all offices enterprise level access to files
  • Multisite Access: Files are accessible from every office with local performance
  • Simplified Management: Centralized control of a uniform, distributed storage environment
  • Reduced Complexity: A single solution takes the place of multiple systems
  • Unlimited Scalability: Capacity can grow on-demand without impacting local infrastructure
  • Strong Protection: Frequent versioning, unmatched RPO and fast DR
  • Superior Economics: The firm will save 50% over the next three years on backup alone; slashed MPLS traffic will generate added savings

“When we deployed Nasuni in one of our largest offices, with senior executives on-site, no one noticed. That’s the perfect scenario – better storage and no change to end-users.”

– Gerald van Benschop, Infrastructure Manager


Doing the Numbers

With 24 key locations and 100 TB of critical data, Perkins+Will was projecting to spend millions over the next three years in backup systems alone. The storage at those locations would have added more than a million dollars, bringing the total to an unacceptable level of cost.

Nasuni delivers additional functionality for under $1.5M over the same period, yielding 65% savings while improving the overall user experience and reducing risk to the organization.

Why Perkins+Will Chose Nasuni

Perkins+Will wanted an IT strategy that would bring them closer to clients as they expand their global reach. Nasuni delivered high performance storage with compelling economics and strong data protection. File synchronization services have made it possible for every location to share data with the rest of the organization. IT has freed up money to invest in other initiatives that help the firm. Rather than hindering expansion, IT is once again running on a strategy that supports the growth of the firm.

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Founded in Chicago in 1935, Perkins+Will is one of the leading architecture and design firms in the world. The company has grown steadily over the last two decades and now has 24 offices around the globe. The award-winning firm works with clients in corporate, civic, education and healthcare sectors, among others.

“A fairly significant portion of our [IT] budget was spent not just on internal storage, but the backup of that storage – and backup of that storage and then offsite backup. It was a no win situation.”

— Murali Selvaraj, CIO

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“In addition to meeting all of our technical requirements, the cost effectiveness and the ease of expansion made Nasuni the right solution for us.”

– Gregory Fait, Director of IT

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