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6 Reasons Your Creative Team Should Use a Cloud File System for Mac File Sharing

If you’re part of a large, distributed creative design team, you’re probably looking for a new way to share files between Macs. Whether you’re using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or other creative apps, your mac file sharing needs have likely outgrown those old Mac file servers.

Here are 6 reasons top media, advertising, and consumer brand firms, as well as in-house design departments, are turning to cloud storage platforms like Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud Object Storage and cloud file system solutions like Nasuni as the new way to share and transfer large Mac files.

mac file sharing creative team

1. Your Files Are Big … and Getting Bigger

It used to be a 100-200 MB InDesign file was big. A top U.S. beauty retailer tells us its InDesign planograms describing store shelving layouts now average over 30 GBs. Some of its creative print designs in Illustrator have over 800 graphics. Imagine trying to share these Mac files across multiple locations for internal review and collaboration. And then make them available to outside vendors for approval.

New cloud file systems have no limits on the number or size of files. Unlike the file system in your traditional Mac file server, they aren’t limited by the size of the underlying disk array. That’s because they’re designed to live inside cloud storage, which has virtually infinite capacity. Don’t worry, you won’t have to go out to the cloud every time you want to access your files. Cloud file systems use small virtual or physical appliances installed locally in each office to store just the active files, so your performance will be the same as your current Mac file server. Probably better, since the appliance storage is likely faster than what you’re using today.

mac file sharing large file types

2. You’re Constantly Running Out of Space

Are you forever asking IT to expand your Mac file servers to make room for new Illustrator files? Purging old Photoshop images and moving InDesign files from one file server to another to free up space for the next project? This is common with the traditional approach of buying and installing disk arrays in all your offices.

You won’t have this problem with cloud file systems. Need more space? Just increase your AWS, Azure, or IBM Cloud subscription. File systems like Nasuni automatically grow with your cloud capacity, giving you as much space as you need for your project directories and group shares. Your on-premises edge appliances won’t need to change at all. Remember, they only store the active data, which stays pretty constant no matter how much total storage capacity you have in the cloud.

mac file sharing space

3. You Need to Share Mac Files Across Many Locations

Mac file sharing gets really tricky the more locations you have. Creative content is much too big for file sync and share products like Box, Dropbox, or OneDrive. FTP sites don’t integrate with your internal directories so they’re harder to use and configure for automated drive mapping. Plus, they require everyone to keep track of all the different versions that get created. You could install a full-sized Mac file server in every location and buy network bandwidth to replicate files between them, but that’s extremely expensive. And none of these approaches can lock files to prevent team members in different locations from making simultaneous edits and creating version conflict.

Cloud file systems like Nasuni provide a single authoritative source for all your creative content, no matter how many locations you have. The “gold copy” of every file lives in the cloud, and is propagated to edge appliances in each location, so users are always working on the same version. By using the cloud as the infrastructure for propagating file changes, you won’t have to pay for expensive private network bandwidth to replicate the Mac file servers in every location. And global file locking prevents multiple authors from creating conflicting copies of files in different locations.

4. You Need a Good File Backup and Recovery Plan

When you install a Mac file server in an office, you need to protect the data that’s stored on it. Which usually means buying backup software and backing up the file server to tape drives, other disk drives, or the cloud. This isn’t cheap or easy. IT administrators are needed to babysit the process. Capital investments are needed to purchase the backup infrastructure. And recovering files usually takes too much time for your creative team’s liking, since IT or the Service Desk has to be involved.

Cloud storage together with cloud file systems take care of backup automatically. Every time an Adobe file is changed, the edge appliance in the office writes just the changed part of the file to the cloud, where it is stored as a new “version” by the file system. Because the cloud has unlimited capacity and because storing just the small parts of the file that changed is so efficient, the file system can keep infinite versions of every file. Your creative team can restore any version of any file from any point in time through self-service – no IT involvement needed. And accidental deletions, overwrites, or even Ransomware can all be resolved in minutes.

5. You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Files

Backing up your Mac file servers regularly gives you one copy of your data. But that’s not enough to protect your business from a disaster. Standard disaster recovery (DR) plans require multiple copies of your data to be stored in multiple locations. Of course, that’s expensive. You must buy or lease space far enough away from your file server location so a disaster won’t affect both sites. You must duplicate your Mac file servers and your backup environment in each DR location. You need private network bandwidth to keep all locations in sync. And your IT team needs to make sure it’s all working with periodic tests.

You’ve guessed it – cloud file systems overcome this Mac file sharing challenge, too. That’s because they’re based on cloud storage platforms like Azure GRS (Globally Redundant Storage) and Amazon S3, which automatically store multiple copies of data in separate physical facilities geographically situated up to hundreds of miles from each other. Whenever your creative team changes a file in any office, the edge appliance writes the change to the cloud where it is automatically copied to the different locations. Recovering from a disaster is just as easy, and doesn’t even require a dedicated DR site. With Nasuni’s global file system, you can have a brand new edge appliance up and running in any location in 15 minutes as long as there’s a connection to the cloud.

6. You Need to Reference Older File Versions

What about the old versions of those mailers, signs, advertisements, postcards, and digital media? Many creative teams store these completed projects in an “OLD” folder, with subfolders specifying the dates of the various versions. That way they can be retrieved quickly if a design needs to be rolled back or updated, or referenced for a similar piece. The problem is, this uses a ton of space on your Mac file servers, and more if they’re backed up and copied to other locations. Archiving them off to tape is much cheaper, but good luck if you ever really need them. You’ll be waiting a long time to get them back.

Again, cloud file systems are the better answer. All versions of every file are automatically captured and time stamped. Plus, the cloud storage providers offer cheaper tiers of storage for data that is rarely accessed. Configuring a global file system like Nasuni to work with Amazon S3 Infrequent Access or Azure Cool Storage is easy and saves you a lot or money. But you can still get the files back fast if you need them. Remember, Nasuni edge appliances are designed to store only active data. Clicking on an older file version from your Mac file share tells Nasuni to get the file back from the cloud. On a cheaper class of cloud storage, this may take a few more minutes the first time the file is requested. But after that it will be instantly available since it’s now stored locally on the appliance.

Modern Mac File Sharing with the Cloud

Cloud storage is the “new disk” and the long-awaited alternative to buying and installing storage systems on-premises. Add a cloud file system like Nasuni, and you have a modern scalable solution for Mac file sharing in data centers, branch offices, and remote sites. You’ll never run out of space again. You’ll be able to collaborate like never before to accelerate creative content delivery. And the headaches of upgrading, replacing, configuring, backing up, recovering, and replicating Mac file servers will be gone forever.

Ready to see how a cloud file system like Nasuni can help your creative teams thrive? Request a Demo today!