What Nasuni Really Does Part 2: Working with Cloud File Data at a Massive Scale

June 07, 2023 | Jim Liddle What Nasuni Really Does Part 2: Working with Cloud File Data at a Massive Scale

When I first brought up the idea of writing for Nasuni, I had a very clear goal in mind. There was strong interest among my circle of IT friends to better understand Nasuni, so I thought it would be useful to write simple pieces about how the technology works and the value it delivers for companies. One of the challenges is that Nasuni does a lot — the platform provides unlimited file capacity on a cloud of choice, makes cloud file data available anywhere, them from anything, including ransomware, whilst providing performance, cost benefits and ease of use.

Yet once I started focusing on why our largest customers choose Nasuni, I realized that Nasuni’s traction and recent success are due to its core architecture. It’s rather simple, really. Here is how I see it:

Nasuni Makes it Easy for Companies to Work with Cloud File Data

This is the company’s superpower. All your file data everywhere in the world moves into the cloud, but Nasuni intelligently caches frequently accessed files, at the edge, close to applications. Companies maintain fast access for their end users over what they and their applications are used to — NFS or SMB. High-speed synchronization works in the background to update the cloud-based gold copy of each file as required whilst simultaneously handling the locking aspects that are required for similar data sets that are being worked on in multiple geographies.

With Nasuni, companies can enjoy the economics and efficiency of the cloud and end users are able to use their data with apps at LAN speeds. This is the real difference: cloud scale, across geographies, plus local performance. No other technology does this so efficiently at scale.

Cloud-First & Hardware Light

How is Nasuni different from other solutions that manage and store cloud file data? Let’s go back in time. The original network-attached storage (NAS) and storage-area network (SAN) giants were successful because everyone wanted and needed their file data to be close to their applications. Companies purchased arrays for each location, bought more capacity when needed, and watched their distributed hardware footprints grow larger and larger.

Then the cloud established itself as an unlimited storage medium with much better economics. Today, companies don’t want to manage on-premises infrastructure anymore. Everyone wants to be cloud-first and hardware light. But many large organizations with massive, distributed file storage footprints seem to be operating under the assumption that this isn’t achievable for them, and that they need some kind of cloud-backed variation of the old NAS and SAN systems.

I promised not to get too technical here, but what operates between end users and applications on one side and the storage medium on the other is what we call a unified file system. The NAS and SAN giants pioneered brilliant file systems that were perfectly suited to their era. That era has now passed. The cloud requires a different kind of file system and this is where Nasuni differentiates itself with what it calls UniFS.

Migrating to the Cloud at Scale

Normally the problem of migrating cloud file data becomes more difficult to solve as datasets or volumes grow. Yet this is when Nasuni’s technology really shines:

  • Western Digital moved 3PB to Nasuni and reduced infrastructure by 80% at 140+ worldwide sites
  • Ramboll moved 300+ offices and 4PB of file data to Nasuni
  • TBWA traded infrastructure at 305 global offices for 90 virtual Nasuni appliances accessing 13PB in the cloud

This new model for storing file data in the cloud is being embraced by the companies above and many others I am not at liberty to name in a public post. One of our manufacturing customers moved 8PB of file data to the cloud with Nasuni. A global construction giant has shifted 7.5PB off hardware and into the cloud with Nasuni. The list goes on. Thanks in large part to our growing roster of large customers, Nasuni passed $100M in ARR this year. Our customers are adding 6PB per month into Azure alone!

Icing on the Cake

The irony here is that my contribution to Nasuni has little to do with this model or architectural design. My efforts are focused on Nasuni Access Anywhere, one of several add-on services to the core platform along with Ransomware Protection and multi-site collaboration. These and the many other built-in benefits of the Nasuni File Data Platform have proven tremendously valuable to our customers. Yet I regard Nasuni Access Anywhere as something akin to icing on the cake.

Ultimately, the real difference with Nasuni is its ability to enable customers to move massive volumes of file data off legacy hardware and into the cloud without sacrificing fast performance for users and applications.

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