Transitioning to cloud file services minimizes downtime and more
The spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard includes some of the biggest names in the liquor business. Absolut Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Havana Club are just a few of its internationally known brands. The company has 85 affiliates, or locations, worldwide, including 55 in the EMEA region, and 18,000 global employees.
So many companies today are struggling to manage growth in the size, volume, and complexity of their business files, and Pernod Ricard Deutschland is no exception. But the spirits company didn’t immediately set out to find a solution to its file growth problem. A more pressing need centered around file data protection and business continuity.
The business was unsatisfied with Pernod Ricard Deutschland’s recovery times. “The expectation from the business was to improve our RPO times. They wanted to have the file server available within 24 hours of a data loss event,” says Infrastructure Manager Western Europe Holger Marks of Pernod Ricard. “We were going near 10 TBs on some of these file servers, and it was not possible to get them back within 24 hours with traditional backup.”
The company had already moved most of its data and applications to the cloud, but files had proven more challenging. “The file server was the last piece we had on-premises,” says Marks. “We needed to find a solution for bringing this to the cloud.”
Cloud-Native File Services
Pernod Ricard Deutschland had tried moving its traditional file server into the cloud, but the solution did not work properly. Performance suffered when the file server tried to access files in the cloud for local end users. “We were searching for something with the speed of a file server running locally, but hosted more or less in the cloud,” Marks explains.
“With traditional backup, if a file is lost or crashed or destroyed by a user we could only go back in time to the last night. Now we can go back one hour. We can beat the 24-hour recovery and get it down to half an hour or a max of one hour without any user impact.” Holger Marks, Infrastructure Manager – Western Europe
Once he began evaluating Nasuni, Marks recognized a platform designed to satisfy these exact demands. Nasuni combines the scale and resilience of the cloud with the performance of local appliances. The authoritative gold copy of each file resides in Azure, but actively used files are cached locally on physical or virtual Nasuni Edge Appliances to maintain the high-performance file access of traditional NAS devices or file servers. This eradicates the need for full-sized file servers or NAS arrays at all locations and reduces traditional file storage footprint by up to 80%.
Marks was further encouraged by Nasuni’s partnership with Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage – Pernod Ricard’s cloud of choice. Ultimately, though, it was Nasuni’s file recovery capabilities that persuaded Pernod Ricard Deutschland to move forward. “In the end it all comes down to the recovery times, to meeting the business needs,” says Marks.
Results: Powered by Nasuni and Azure
Global Infrastructure Consolidation
Nasuni has allowed Pernod Ricard Deutschland to consolidate their file storage and data protection infrastructure, initially in Western Europe and now expanding to EMEA, into one platform. Appliances are sized to the needs of each location, ensuring efficiency and eliminating unnecessary costs. Plus, Nasuni is built to scale, so Pernod Ricard can expand its reach over time.
“We are now in the position that we can easily deploy file servers around the world at small affiliates,” Marks explains.
No More Capacity Planning
One of the challenges with the growth in the size and volume of files has been projecting storage needs at the local level, and reacting when storage grows beyond those projections. With Nasuni, this problem is eliminated.
“We had been working for five or six years to bring all of Western Europe into the Azure cloud. The challenge was bringing the file server also to the cloud. Finally we solved it with Nasuni.” Holger Marks, Infrastructure Manager – Western Europe
“Planning capacity is very easy,” adds Marks. “We have a defined cache, and all the other data goes to the cloud and we have unlimited space there. So going forward it’s not necessary to inform people, ‘Hey, come on, hard disk space is getting low.’ We just have the cloud storage.”
Fast File Recovery Without Backup
Nasuni Continuous File Versioning® is a revolutionary approach to file data protection that leverages the scale and resilience of the cloud to replace traditional backup and disaster recovery solutions with an automatic, hands-off system. A complete history of every file is stored in the cloud with georedundant protection. This allows for fast file recovery, ransomware protection, 15-minute disaster recovery, and more.
“With traditional backup, if a file is lost or crashed or destroyed by a user we could only go back in time to the last night,” Marks says. “Now we can go back one hour. We can beat the 24-hour recovery and get it down to half an hour or a max of one hour without any user impact.” The system is refreshingly reliable, too: “We don’t have to worry about failed backups.”
The advantage of fast, reliable, simple recoveries is that the business and its end users no longer suffer from extended downtime or lost productivity. “We can say to the user if your file crashes you get it back in one hour,” Marks says. “The user has not lost one day of work. He has only lost one hour of work.”
The Final Step in Data Center Consolidation
Many large enterprises have reduced their data center footprint by shifting structured data and applications to the cloud, but files and group shares are often the final piece keeping them anchored to expensive infrastructure. Nasuni allows companies to complete their cloud journey by shifting file growth to the cloud, and off local hardware.
“We are following a cloud-first strategy, so getting the file server out of the data center and into the cloud was key for us,” says Marks. “We had been working for five or six years to bring all of Western Europe into the Azure cloud. The challenge was bringing the file server also to the cloud. Finally we solved it with Nasuni.”
Maintaining the End User Experience
“It was important for us that there was no change in the user experience with regards to accessing the shares,” notes Marks. “Our network share, the I:drive, was the share before and after the migration. This was a big criteria, not to change the user expectations and experience.”
Simple Expansion to New Sites and ROBO Locations
“When we roll out to new sites,” Marks adds, “there’s no need for capacity management. We don’t have Network-Attached Storage [NAS] on site…for example, in Western Europe, we are just using small virtual appliances with local storage inside, making it not necessary to host it on expensive infrastructure.”
Reducing Global Storage Infrastructure Costs
By allowing files and metadata to scale in Azure, Nasuni decouples the size of the file system from local infrastructure. This dramatically reduces the need for on-prem hardware, plus related software licenses and maintenance, and reduces overall storage infrastructure costs across the company.
“We’ve replaced the traditional file server,” Marks notes. “Switching to Nasuni also allowed us to replace the need for operating systems – as well as the need for traditional backup licenses – lowering infrastructure costs at all these affiliates to a minimum.”
Freeing up IT Time for High-Value Projects
Nasuni was designed to simplify global storage and data protection infrastructure for large enterprises, but it’s also tuned to reduce unnecessary and time-consuming storage and backup administration work.
“It’s not necessary for the backup operator to do extensive work,” Marks begins. “It’s a fire and forget solution. We installed Nasuni. We did the data migration, and there’s no need to take care of the file system anymore. We have less patching. We have less work than on the traditional Windows File System. It runs and you don’t have to worry about it.”
Simple Post-M&A Integration
Recently, Pernod Ricard acquired a Germany distillery, and Nasuni allowed Marks and his team to quickly integrate the local users into the global file system, accelerating the company’s ability to see a positive return on its investment.
“We moved them from the traditional system to the Nasuni system in a few days,” recounts Marks. “There was no need to buy additional infrastructure on site and we could still meet the recovery times.”
What’s Next for Pernod Ricard and Nasuni
Pernod Ricard plans to continue deploying Nasuni across more global offices in the next twelve to fifteen months as well as further into EMEA. The solution provided exactly what Marks and the business were looking for in a cloud-first approach to file storage and data protection. As Marks summarizes the deployment: “We can meet the recovery time of 24 hours. The solution is transparent for the user, who can use the solution the same way he’s been working for years, and we have unlimited storage. We don’t have to take care of any local storage, allowing us to have a smaller footprint in all our affiliate [offices].”