Enterprise File Service Solution Frequently Asked Questions | Nasuni


1. Why is Nasuni needed?

Files are the fastest growing type of data in the world. Traditional tools and processes used to store, protect, access, and manage unstructured file data cannot keep pace. IT cost and complexity are increasing. Digital transformation, efficiency, growth, M&A, compliance, mobility, and globalization objectives are not being met. Nasuni enables customers to solve the enterprise file growth challenge, reduce IT cost and complexity, and meet strategic business and digital transformation objectives.

2. What is Nasuni?

Nasuni is a cloud-scale enterprise file services platform that integrates and surpasses the capabilities of traditional Network Attached Storage (NAS), backup, archive, remote office replication, disaster recovery, and mobile file access tools with one hybrid cloud solution. Nasuni – short for “NAS Unified” – is the modern, infinitely scalable way to store, protect, access, and manage file data.

3. How does Nasuni work?

Nasuni built the world’s first cloud-native file system, UniFS®, which lives and scales inside Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and other leading private and public clouds. The Nasuni platform extends UniFS® on-premises with edge appliances that appear like ordinary NAS to provide secure, high-performance access to frequently accessed files.

4. What are the main benefits?

Nasuni’s hybrid cloud architecture delivers:
  • Unlimited home directory and group share capacity leveraging the limitless scale of the cloud
  • Secure, high performance file access via standard CIFS and NFS protocols and local AD/LDAP integration
  • Continuous versioning that stores every change to every file, eliminating the need for traditional backup
  • Built-in disaster recovery leveraging the geo-redundancy of the cloud
  • Anywhere, anytime access to files from Windows, Mac, Android and iOS device support and Web browser access
  • Global file locking to enable worldwide collaboration without conflict
  • Central management of all enterprise files and edge appliances from a single management console

5. What kinds of customers and industries are choosing Nasuni?

Nasuni is ideally suited for global or distributed enterprises with multiple offices and significant unstructured data growth. In combination with object storage, our cloud-native file system, UniFS®, is designed to store, protect and extend access to an unlimited number of files of any size, type or complexity. As a result, Nasuni has proven successful across multiple industries. Our clients include leaders in Advertising, Architecture, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Real Estate, Heavy Equipment, Music Publishing and more.

Technical FAQs

1. What technical challenges does Nasuni address?

  • Unstructured Data Growth: Storage hardware refreshes, forklift upgrades and repeated data migrations consume too much IT time and effort. With Nasuni, storage scales on-demand, and there is no practical limit to the volume of data stored securely in the cloud. The size of the file system is decoupled from the capacity of local hardware.
  • Multi-Site Access: To extend access to remote users, many companies today are forced to rely on added solutions such as VPNs, replication or WAN optimization/acceleration. Nasuni Edge Appliances cache frequently accessed files at every location across the enterprise. That means designers, engineers, creatives and other end users in remote offices enjoy the same fast access to critical files as their colleagues in headquarters.
  • Cross-site Collaboration: End users in multiple locations can efficiently collaborate on the same project files through Nasuni’s global namespace. IT can establish new collaborative shares in minutes, and Nasuni reduces reliance on replication, WAN optimization, VPN and related technologies.
  • IT Complexity: By delivering storage, protection and multi-site access in a single platform, Nasuni reduces the number of point solutions in the IT environment. This cuts costs and complexity, and massively simplifies management.
  • IT Silos: Regardless of your present infrastructure, Nasuni unifies the entire storage environment across all locations under a single platform. Nasuni puts an end to storage silos and empowers IT with a single-pane-of-glass management console that allows lean IT teams to oversee remote infrastructure as if they’re on site.

2. What are the common use cases for Nasuni?

  • Cloud-first initiatives: Nasuni eases the transition to the cloud, allowing companies to transform storage and other IT infrastructure costs from CAPEX into OPEX. On-demand scalability lets companies expand capacity only when needed, and the entire provisioning process is streamlined.
  • Primary NAS: By switching to Nasuni, companies avoid costly SAN and NAS infrastructure upgrades. While home directories, group shares, and frequently accessed files are cached locally, UniFS® ensures that all files and metadata scale in the cloud. This way, storage can never outgrow local infrastructure.
  • Storage Consolidation: Through the combination of edge appliances and a global namespace, Nasuni unifies all enterprise locations, regardless of local infrastructure. Enterprises leverage the benefits of centralized storage without sacrificing performance and security at each location.
  • Backup: Continuous versioning to georedundant cloud volumes eliminates the need for traditional backup technologies. Data protection is automatic, and both end users and IT can easily restore lost or deleted files and directories, roll back to previous versions in the event of a ransomware attack and more. This approach to data protection results in industry-leading recovery points and recovery times.
  • Disaster Recovery (DR): The most recent versions of all files and metadata are securely stored in multiple georedundant locations. As a result, instead of being down for hours or days following power outages or major disasters, IT can restore access to files and directories within 15 minutes.
  • Active Archive (Cool Storage Edition): Some enterprises generate files they will not need for years or even decades, but may need to locate and restore quickly at some point in the future. Nasuni’s Active Archive offering allows enterprises to store unstructured data at a reduced cost per GB, but still retrieve these files when needed.
  • Cross-Site Collaboration: Enterprises have to support collaboration across locations, allowing multiple users to work on the same project files, to get the most out of their distributed teams or leverage expertise in different regions. Nasuni’s cloud-native architecture provides a global namespace built for multi-site access and collaboration – one that handles all files, from office documents to complex engineering project data.
  • IoT Platform Storage: The rapidly expanding Internet of Things is driving tremendous data growth on factory floors, in manufacturing facilities and across entire ecosystems of devices. Nasuni allows companies to get more out of this data by centralizing it in the cloud.

3. What file types does Nasuni work with?

UniFS® stores, protects and extends access to unstructured data of all types – Office files, CAD/CAM, Adobe creative content, medical images, high-resolution video, LIDAR imagery, GIS data and more.

4. Is there any limit to the number of files that can be stored in Nasuni?

No. UniFS® was designed to leverage the unlimited scale of the cloud, so there is no limit to the number of files. Still, all data is chunked, compressed and deduplicated before being sent to the cloud to ensure that enterprises aren’t paying for unnecessary storage or bandwidth.

5. Can I still access my data if I can’t connect to the cloud?

Yes. Because of UniFS®’s intelligent caching algorithms, frequently accessed files almost always remain in local edge appliances. Our cache has a success rate of 98.5%.

6. Do end users see any difference after the switch to Nasuni?

Since Nasuni caches files locally and preserves familiar drives, directory structures and shares, end users often fail to notice when IT completes the cutover. The exceptions are employees in small offices and remote locations, who typically find that file access accelerates.

7. Which clouds does Nasuni support?

Nasuni supports Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud Object Storage, and other leading private and public clouds.

Security and Privacy FAQs

1. Is Nasuni and the cloud as secure as storing files on-premises?

Yes, and in some ways more so. UniFS® chunks, deduplicates, compresses and encrypts all unstructured data and metadata. Data is encrypted with customer-controlled keys, which means neither Nasuni nor the cloud provider can read those files. Nasuni Edge Appliances join Active Directory, so all existing access controls and users are maintained.

2. Does Nasuni work with my existing authentication and access solutions?

Nasuni integrates with Active Directory and LDAP for authentication, and provides access via SMB/CIFS, NFS, FTP and other standard protocols. End users access their files, directories and shares the same way they always have. That familiar “N” or “Z” drive appears unchanged, but on the backend, it syncs with the unlimited cloud.

3. Does Nasuni help mitigate Ransomware?

Because of continuous versioning, in which changes to files are constantly streamed to a secure cloud volume, Nasuni allows enterprises impacted by Ransomware to roll back to and restore previous versions of files and directories. There is no limit here, either. One of our clients recovered from a Ransomware attack that infected 62,000 files.

4. Is Nasuni HIPAA compliant?

There is no seal or stamp of approval that certifies HIPAA compliance for technology products, but Nasuni and its cloud storage partners provide file storage and file services that satisfy the needs of organizations operating under the strict standards laid forth by HIPAA and other applicable regulations.

5. Can Nasuni or my cloud provider see my files?

No. All files and metadata are encrypted with customer-controlled keys before they leave the security perimeter of your company. Since neither Nasuni nor the cloud provider have access to these encryption keys, neither one of us can read your files. Nasuni also takes additional steps to protect your data, including only transmitting data over secure connections.

Licensing and Cost FAQs

1. How is Nasuni licensed?

Nasuni is licensed as a subscription based on total primary storage under management. There is no limit to the number of locations or the number of users accessing files. Virtual edge appliances are included, while hardware edge appliances can be purchased.

2. How does Nasuni shift CAPEX to OPEX?

Because Nasuni allows unstructured data to scale in the cloud, the total volume is independent of the size or capacity of local hardware. Storage is no longer a capital expense demanding cyclical hardware refreshes and forklift upgrades. Storage becomes a service, an operating expenditure that enterprises can dial up or down on demand, as storage needs change.

3. How much does Nasuni cost?

That depends on the total storage under management and the needs at each location, but generally our clients save 40-60% on their total file storage costs.

4. How does Nasuni reduce file storage costs?

Nasuni reduces file storage costs by eliminating expensive hardware refreshes, reducing the number of point solutions enterprises are forced to rely on today and getting rid of expensive, time-consuming solutions like separate backup, separate DR, WAN acceleration and replication.

5. Is Nasuni less expensive than what I’m doing today for file infrastructure?

Most of our customers end up saving 40-60% on their total file storage, protection and access costs. The savings comes from converting storage from a labor-intensive capital expense to an on-demand service, eliminating the need for backup and other solutions, reducing WAN optimization/acceleration costs and more.

6. Does the cost increase when I add new offices or users?

No. Nasuni was built to scale without limitations. Enterprises can extend file storage, protection and high-performance access to an unlimited number of users and locations at no added costs.

Competition FAQs

1. What are the legacy products Nasuni replaces?

Typically Nasuni replaces Dell EMC Isilon, NetApp and other on-premises storage solutions that are costly, complex and fail to scale at enterprise level.

2. How is Nasuni different from competitive solutions?

UniFS®. Because of UniFS®, the industry’s first cloud-native file system, Nasuni is the only solution that can truly deliver enterprise file services at cloud scale. While some competitive solutions appear to offer the same benefits, they fail to scale beyond a handful of office locations. Nasuni is designed to manage all file workloads across an unlimited number of locations and users. The cloud has no practical limits, and neither does our cloud-native file system.

3. Do I still need file sync and share products like Box or Dropbox if I have Nasuni?

If you have a large number of mobile workers who need to access a limited number of small files, or a limited number of end users who need to collaborate within relatively simple applications, file sync and share products like Dropbox and Box will do the job. But Nasuni is designed to replace these products when you have privacy and security concerns, longer data retention requirements, data provenance requirements, complex file workloads and extensive cross-site collaboration.

4. Is Nasuni a cloud gateway?

Generally, cloud gateways are one-to-one links between a specific location and the cloud. Nasuni is designed to unify an unlimited number of locations and users under one unlimited, cloud-scale file system. Not to mention that we enhance data protection, extend fast access to remote sites, boost cross-site collaboration, extend secure access to mobile users and simplify management of the entire global IT infrastructure. Gateways can’t do all that.

5. Does Nasuni eliminate the need for backup?

Yes. Our breakthrough approach to data protection continuously takes any new or changed data, then chunks, deduplicates, compresses and encrypts this data before pushing it to the cloud. The cloud effectively serves as a constantly-updated backup target. Nasuni allows for an unlimited version history in the cloud, and all data is stored in multiple georedundant locations. In short, Nasuni replaces backup with something much better.

6. Does Nasuni eliminate the need for DR?

DR is another built-in capability of Nasuni’s cloud-native architecture. In the event of a power outage, a major disaster or the failure of an edge appliance, a new appliance can be pointed to the cloud object store from any location with power and connectivity. IT can launch this new appliance and restore access to files within 15 minutes. Some of our clients also maintain stand-by appliances for warm fail-over in case of a DR event, which is much simpler than legacy solutions requiring an entire duplicate infrastructure.