Nasuni & Google Cloud Part 1: Enterprise File Collaboration, Storage Consolidation

Nasuni’s Russ Kennedy has a conversation with Google Cloud’s Brian Schwarz about enterprise file collaboration and storage, part one.

February 17, 2021

As part of the announcement of our new partnership, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Director of Product Management Brian Schwarz of Google Cloud Storage. We used it as a chance to discuss our two technologies and the infrastructure and cloud modernization challenges that large companies face today (such as the need for enterprise file collaboration, protection, and more). So much more, in fact, that I’m reluctant to distill all the details into a single blog post. Instead, I’m planning to separate our talk into three parts.

The first will focus on what Brian calls NAS sprawl, the second theme will be technology and scale, and the third will center on file data backup and recovery.

First, a word about Nasuni for those of you who might be new to this space. We help enterprises move file storage and backup to the cloud with a simpler, lower cost, cloud-based platform. Combined with an object store like Google Cloud, Nasuni resides in, and scales with that cloud storage, giving companies essentially unlimited on-demand capacity, built-in backup and DR, and file sharing across all of their locations. It’s all built on a unique cloud-native architecture that has helped win us lasting partnerships with some of the biggest companies and organizations in the world. You can find out more here.

A Conversation with Google Cloud

I hope you enjoy these edited excerpts as much as I enjoyed speaking with Brian about Google Cloud, Nasuni, and what we are poised to do for organizations in the years to come.

Brian: I’m Brian Schwarz, director of product management here at Google in the cloud team. I work on all the storage, third-party services, and a lot of our partnerships, so it’s great to be talking with you today.

Russ: It’s great to talk to you as well. I’m the Chief Product Officer here at Nasuni, so I’m responsible for product direction and the technical roadmap. We’re very excited to launch this partnership with Google. First, I’d like to dig into where we’re going jointly, and why it’s going to be great for our customers.

Brian: Absolutely. I think it starts with the problems customers are experiencing today, and why it’s so important for them to modernize their NAS and file server infrastructure. Helping them get a little more “cloudy” with Google and Nasuni is going to be a good thing for these enterprises. So many of them are struggling with what I call NAS sprawl. They have so many small little filers that have grown and expanded over time. Managing, securing, and keeping track of them all is very complex.

Russ: his ends up becoming a huge headache for a company with dozens or hundreds of sites. Here at Nasuni we help large enterprises modernize by moving their file data and their workloads to the cloud. We focus on delivering the performance that customers and their applications need while allowing them to take advantage of all the great things that cloud object storage can bring to the table, including scalability, durability, cost-effectiveness. But to make that work, we need great cloud partners. Helping organizations consolidate in Google Cloud with Nasuni is really going to change the game relative to their file storage and enterprise file collaboration needs.

Brian: Exactly. The way I see it, if you can help these companies by reducing that sprawl into a smaller number of larger, scalable solutions that are easier to manage, then that’s going to be very valuable.

Russ: At Nasuni we call those locations silos, and the complexity is staggering. Say there’s a remote site that needs a file storage solution. So the employees there go out and get their own. Then they get a backup application to take care of it. They may have to do some disaster recovery or sync back to a central location to make the data usable. And all that adds cost and complexity. Especially when you spread this out across hundreds of locations.

Brian: Everyone wants more simplicity. I work on data center infrastructure, and I’ve done it my whole career. I absolutely love it. I’m a total geek at heart. But I also appreciate that for most enterprise IT people, the less of this kind of work they do, the better. They actually want to do as little infrastructure work as possible. They need to do some of it, sure. But they want to save more time for strategic or transformative work.

Russ: Our founder, Andres, is keen on that point as well. He talks about how IT is shifting away from that keeping-the-lights-on focus and becoming more of a strategic role.

Brian: And this silo-busting and unification of the NAS environment with Google and Nasuni is going to provide a really big savings to people in terms of time and simplicity.

Russ: One of the things that we did early on when we architected the Nasuni solution is that we built a lot of the management infrastructure in the cloud itself versus on-premises. Everything that flows through the system, all of the management information, all the metadata, everything is based on the cloud. That allows you to scale in a very efficient way. Many of our multi-petabyte customers have hundreds of locations, and the information gathering, the alerting, the sizing and capacity planning associated with all of that, that’s all done through a very simple, easy to deploy and use management infrastructure. So what you’re saying absolutely resonates.

Backing up a bit, you mentioned that you’re a data center geek. We’re hearing from more companies that don’t want to manage data centers anymore. If they can move a workload to the cloud, they will. Are you seeing the same trends?

Brian: We have a lot of large traditional enterprises who’ve basically said, “Over the long term, I want to exit my data centers. I’m all-in on cloud. I’m going to get out of the physical real estate business and colos. I just want to leave that to somebody else at this point.” But when they want to come to the cloud, they’ve got 10, 20 years of stuff that’s been building up in the data center over time. As a result of that, we’re seeing a high demand for more file and unstructured data use cases. It just makes sense when you think about what’s on-premises today. All of it needs to eventually get into the cloud. It’s really engendered a big push around unstructured data.

Russ: One of the real benefits of our partnership coming together is the whole cost-saving benefit, right? I mean, you think about it, you can reduce the on-prem infrastructure cost, the management cost of having all of that gear and everything else associated with your file data. You can eliminate the need for external backup in other technologies. You’ve got the built-in durability of the cloud. But you can get all of that and still lower your costs significantly.

Brian: Yes, and we can dive deeper into this later, but this is where we touch on one of the other things that makes Google Cloud unique. Customers can leverage our lowest-cost tier of storage without sacrificing fast access to their data.

Russ: There are so many advantages, not only technologically, but also business-wise, to pairing our solutions together. Especially if you have, like we talked about earlier, this sprawl of different technologies and different vendors and use cases across your enterprise. Being able to consolidate that under one footprint in the cloud, and then be able to provide access where you need it, I think, is really going to be appealing to large enterprises.

Brian: We’re going to make it easier for them to initiate that, too. This is one of the reasons we’re excited to welcome Nasuni into the Google Cloud Marketplace. You and I focused on the technical aspects of simplicity, about making things easier to manage, but there’s a business aspect to simplicity that also matters. Anyone who has been in the IT industry knows how complex procuring large amounts of IT gear from many, many different vendors can be. With Nasuni in our Marketplace, customers can reduce all that to a single bill. You can get your charges for Google Cloud Storage and the Nasuni software license in one place. It makes life easier.

Indeed it does, and we’re excited to engage with more organizations through our partnership with Google. Yet this relationship is also exciting in terms of how it leverages the technology of two unique and cloud-focused solution providers. That’s what Brian and I talked about next in our conversation, and it’s what we’ll cover in Part 2 of our Q&A series.

Check back soon for the next installment. In the meantime, to learn more about enhancing your enterprise file collaboration, visit our Google partnership pagw and register for our upcoming Nasuni and Google Cloud webinar on March 30th!

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