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Customer Stories | Case Study: Sound United

Enhancing Storage, Protection, Access and Management with a Unified Global File System

Industry: Manufacturing

Global File System: Nasuni

Cloud Storage: Amazon S3

Sites: 60    Users: 1,000

Sound United, the maker of high-end audio equipment brands such as Marantz, Denon and Polk Audio, is a global company providing innovative, high quality sound solutions. With nearly 1,000 employees spread across Asia, North America and Europe, Sound United was facing rising storage and backup costs, struggling with data protection and failing to meet the file sharing and access demands of users. Once IT began looking for alternatives, Nasuni was the only platform that exceeded their requirements, and at a fraction of the cost.

Sound United has expanded through acquisitions, which created many IT challenges. At one point, they had 62 offices with 62 different storage solutions. Over time, the IT group consolidated to three major data centers serving 30 different offices. While this approach, boosted by WAN acceleration, improved performance, it did not scale. The steady growth of unstructured data was driving up storage and backup costs, and the company was struggling to provide adequate data protection and access.

Scale, Protection and Access with Simplified Management

The IT group at Sound United had a very specific set of requirements once they began examining their alternatives. They wanted a cloud-based solution that would scale cost effectively, improve data protection and DR, extend fast access to users at all locations and reduce IT workloads. This last piece was critical. Only six IT professionals support the entire global user base at Sound United, so they needed a platform that was as hands-off as possible. “We looked at all the other competitors out there and we found that Nasuni satisfied all of the requirements in a way that no one else did,” says Tony Scrimenti, Director, Global Infrastructure and Vendor Management.

After pilot-testing three other solutions, the company rolled out Nasuni at one of its Japanese offices. To give themselves remote and mobile access to files, the engineers at this location had been relying on USB drives and other methods. As a result, files were often lost or deleted, and the engineers were forced to spend precious time trying to restore this data. IT tested the solution with this group first, and after the initial migration, Nasuni exceeded the team’s requirements. “At the end of the day they wanted secure file storage they didn’t have to think about,” says Sound United Global CIO Scott Strickland, “and we were able to provide that.”

The Nasuni Solution

With Nasuni, Sound United now has one infinitely scalable solution for storing, protecting and accessing all of its unstructured data. On-site appliances cache active data locally, providing fast access to files for all users, but the master copy of all data is securely maintained in the cloud. Nasuni allowed Sound United to leverage its previous investments in WAN acceleration technology, but now every user enjoys fast, secure access to files from any location or device.

“I never have to get involved in storage at all. It’s a black box and it just works.”

Scott Strickland, Global CIO

Sound United’s files are automatically protected thanks to frequent, unlimited snapshots to the cloud. This approach eliminates the need for separate backup systems and enables fast DR. In the event of a disaster, the IT group does not want to waste time finding and loading tapes. They want to be able to get their systems up and running as quickly as possible, and Nasuni’s built-in data protection and 15-minute DR capabilities have eased their concerns. Furthermore, the frequent, unlimited snapshots allow for simple self-restores, which has reduced the support burden for IT. With a right-click, end users can easily restore previous versions of lost or deleted files.

Overall, Nasuni has reduced IT’s storage-related work, since Sound United’s global storage infrastructure has been unified into a single platform that is easy to manage. Through the Nasuni Management Console, IT can remotely manage storage and control access at any location through a single pane of glass. “I never have to get involved in storage at all,” says Strickland. “It’s a black box and it just works.”

Defending Against Ransomware

As a bonus, Sound United has already defended against several ransomware attacks thanks to Nasuni’s snapshot- based approach to data protection. In this kind of attack, made famous by the Cryptolocker trojan, hackers encrypt company files, then demand a payment to unlock that unstructured data. Since switching to Nasuni, Sound United has been hit by ransomware on a few occasions, but they have not had to pay a ransom. They simply restore to previous versions of the infected files, before the attack took place. Given the frequency of the snapshots with Nasuni, minutes of work might have been lost, but no more. “We can restore whole trees of directories if necessary, and with ransomware that’s often the case,” says Scrimenti.

A Painless Transition

So far, the company has moved 45 TB to Nasuni and is continuing to grow, in part because of the cost savings. “The more we use, the more money we save,” says Scrimenti. In addition to the IT benefits, end users have found the transition to be seamless. In fact, most of them did not even know they had been moved to a new system. “People get a little nervous when we tell them it’s cloud,” Scrimenti admits. “Then we tell them they’ve been on it for the last six months and they say, ‘Oh, we have?’”

“We looked at all the other competitors out there and we found that Nasuni satisfied all of the requirements in a way that no one else did.”
Tony Scrimenti, Director, Global Infrastructure and Vendor Management