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Nasuni Customer Webcast: Saint Michael’s College Simplified File Storage with On-demand Scale

The rising cost of higher education is putting pressure on IT to do more with less. In this webcast, find out how St. Michael’s College:

  • Upgraded to unlimited, cost-effective file storage to avoid hardware refreshes
  • Traded expensive backup – and the contractors needed to manage it – for built-in protection with simple restores
  • Cut the time needed to manage storage to hours per year

View this webcast and find out how this university switched to the only file growth solution that satisfies professors, students, IT and the accounting department.

Video Transcript

AISHA: Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us today for the St. Michael’s and Nasuni webcast. If you have a question at any time, please submit it, using the Ask a Question button located on the top left-hand side of the viewer. Your question will be addressed during the Q&A session, at the end of the presentation. Now, I would like to introduce to you your speakers, Fred Pinkett, Senior Director of Product Management here at Nasuni. Fred brings over 25 years of product marketing and management experience, in the storage and information security spaces. Alongside Fred, we have Shawn Umansky, Network Engineer from St. Michael’s College, and current Nasuni superuser. We are excited to have them both here today. With that, let’s get started.

FRED PINKETT:  Great, thanks Aisha, and thanks, everybody, for being here, and thank you, especially, to Shawn, for joining us today, to help us talk a little bit about Nasuni, in a real world application at St. Michael’s. Just a little bit about how the webinar’s going to go: I’m going to talk a little bit about — give a little introduction into the kind of issues that are facing people, in general. That’s going to lead into a discussion of St. Michael’s situation, and what was facing them, and then, how they solved it. And then, once we’ve known a little bit more about how Nasuni’s working at St. Michael’s, I’ll talk a little bit about the product, and then, we all should be finished before the hour is up. As Aisha said, we look forward to your questions, so feel free to use that question, and we may interrupt for questions, but we’ll probably hold the question and answer until the end. So, without further ado, let me jump into the presentation. So, just a little bit about Nasuni first, and this data is actually slightly out of date. We’ve been growing pretty quickly, as you’ll see. We have over eight Petabytes of client data stored with Nasuni, at this point, of which, you know, St. Michael’s data is a part. There’s over 17 billion files stored, 200 clients, that’s 200 customers, 200 organizations, like St. Michael’s, who are part of the Nasuni family. We have, at this point, probably closer to 1,500 filers, in at least 46 different countries across all the continents where business is being done, we don’t have one in Antarctica yet, but we’re working on that. We also have a close partnership with Microsoft, we’re one of a very few, a handful of companies that have attained the status of Managed ISV with them.

If you want to look at some of the stats, in terms of the growth, as much as 100 terabytes are added weekly to Nasuni. So, that eight petabytes will be nine petabytes in about 10 weeks, or so. We have something, like, 30 million files added every week. Our global file locking system, which we’ll talk a little bit about, handles over 25 million locks, every day. And, UniFS, which is our cloud-based file system, is a world system, so it’s never suffered a data corruption event in the lifetime of the company. Really, what was driving the issues, and we’ll talk more in depth as we go through it, but really, what is driving the issues is, at St. Michael’s, and what are driving the issues for a lot of companies, is really, just the growth in files. Depending on what your business is, you might be experiencing the type of growth where it’s larger numbers of files, where it’s larger sizes of files, because the applications are going from, you know, 2-D, to 3-D, to video, or whatever it might be. And so, that growth, in terms of the total amounts of data, the numbers of files, and even the sprawl across an organization, St. Michael’s is less of a multi-location scenario, but a lot of our customers have locations spread out, throughout the world, so they have to view the files across multiple locations, and that creates — that kind of file sprawl creates a major problem for people. Data protection, the backup of those large numbers of files, the large amounts of data, that file sprawl across organization is a huge problem. And often, backup, in and of itself, the pain associated with backup is one of the main drivers for moving to a cloud-based solution, like Nasuni, and the DR capabilities that it provides as well. So, you have backup and DR, you know, are really two separate things, even though they’re often thought of in the same bucket. And then, the access, the ability to access those files, no matter where you are, locally, within — major office, locally, within a regional, or a branch office, across a campus, on mobile devices, to what level of performance that needs, also creates a problem, because, as you get to more and more of these files, that puts more and more of a drag on systems, which creates these performance problems. And, just putting the files in the cloud by itself, really don’t solve that problem, because it puts it at the other end of a internet connection, and that causes — that provides too much latency for people. So, you need some kind of way to be able to deal with the accessibility involved. Now, because of these problems, we built up, you know, in our industry, in our organizations, a kind of messy, what we’re referring to as a traditional infrastructure. And, this isn’t this, exactly. It’s meant to be a little bit messy, because it really reflects the real world, this is just a diagram specific to St. Mike’s, or St. Mike’s, specifically, their diagram. But, it just gives you an idea of all the things that we’re dealing with, and all the things that Nasuni can help with. There’s the primary storage itself, and as that data grows, typically, what happens is, you know, you might — you might buy some kind of storage system, what it — it has expansion shelves, but it — it grows to a limit, and then, at some point, you have to think about, “OK, we have to buy the next generation of storage, migrate all our data over to that new storage, and deal with that kind of cycle every two to three years.” And so, just the primary storage itself has that main problem with capacity. Then, you have to start backing it up, and so, you have to do that migration, and that increase in capacity in your backup servers, but you have to have all the separate backup technology to do it. So, you have backup servers, and some kind of backup target, and then, of course, you can’t have your backup vehicle live right next to the primary storage, in case of, you know, there’s some kind of natural disaster, so then, you’ve got to get that offsite, and whether it’s some kind of vis-à-vis application, or good old taste in trucks, that’s still, you know, a problem for people. And backup is great, when you need to get a folder, or, a file back. But, it doesn’t really solve the problem of a disaster, because if you ever tried to get it paid from offsite, get a server stood up, get your backup software stood up, and then, restore everything to a server, that — and, get a server up and running, that whole process, even if it’s a virtual server, can be ugly, and time-consuming. And even with, you know, virtual-specific backup, that can still take a pretty long time. So, most people have to have some kind of separate disaster recovery scenario, so that they’re up and running, and ready to go in a disaster, if they don’t have to go through a whole restore process to get — get things up and running. So now that you’re at, you know, we’ve talked about a copy of your data in primary storage, copies of your history, and backup — another copy of your data, in some kind of disaster recovery data center. And, we haven’t even talked about the users yet. Remember them? The users, that are the purpose of serving all this? And so, if you look down at the bottom of this diagram, you can see that (inaudible), you’ll have users, if they’re all sitting in the same office as the primary storage, that’s great, they can all just connect over the network. And, as long as the box can handle the load, you’re all right. But, more often, it’s — there are people spread out across a campus, or across many offices. And now, you’ve got to deal with the fact that you’ve got to get the data out to where they are. And, there’s really two approaches to it: You can either bring the people to the data, or the data to the people. And, we prefer to bring the people to the data, because we’ve built all this other backup in DR infrastructure, and so, often, that takes the form of some kind of planned optimization, the little cloud speedometery things, and this — this diagram are meant to represent that. But, when optimization doesn’t always work, because, while they could help with bandwidth, they really hurt — it hurt latency, you know, when optimization boxes are bumping the wire. And so, if your application is less data-intensive, and more transaction-intensive, you really have to have the data in the same office as the user. And so, that means in the — with more storage in a remote location, and now, replication out to the remote location, and then, you’re talking about another copy of the data, the potential replication conflicts, it’s different people on different sides of the connection, work on that same data. And then, finally, we need to get the data out to mobile users, whether it’s, you know, synchronization for people that are going to be, you know, off internet, or just be able to — people be able to get access in their data, and mobile devices. So, we’ve often, and a lot of people, either on purpose, or companies may even disallow us, the people, you work around them, you end up with copies of your data in some kind of consumer-grade sharing solution that has some enterprise features, but now you have yet another copy of your data in yet another location. It really — this problem just grows, and grows, and grows, the more sites that you have. This is the kind of thing that people are facing, the kind of problem that Nasuni is here to help with. And really, similar to a lot of the problems that St. Michael’s is facing, and we’re going to talk a little bit about that. So, with that little introduction, I’d like to introduce you, as — as Aisha said, to Shawn, who’s going to talk us through a little bit about what was going on there, and really, what was going on at St. Michael’s, is the focus of this, rather than us just talking about our product. So, Shawn, welcome, welcome to the webcast, and thank you very much for joining us today. Could you tell us a little bit about St. Michael’s?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Absolutely. Fred, Aisha, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. Again, my name is Shawn Umansky, I am a Network Administrator, located at St. Michael’s College, in — just outside of Burlington, Vermont. I’ve been with the company for about 10 years now, and it’s a wonderful place. We’ve got about 2,000 students. So, we’re, you know, a little on the small side, but we’re a good size. We’re a highly-ranked liberal arts college. We’ve got about 1,200 employees, most — some of which are part-time, some are full-time. So, a mix of about 3,200 people, all together, across about 15 — 50 different buildings, and roughly, about 15 terabytes of data. Now, one thing that’s kind of unique about our college is pretty much 99.9% percent of the students live on campus. So, that means that — that they’re here all the time. So, our — we’ve — while we don’t — we’re not a huge college, everybody that is here is always here. So, it’s important that all of our network resources are up all the time.

FRED PINKETT:  Do you have, kind of, a 24 by 7 challenge there, as opposed to just a business hours situation?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Absolutely, absolutely. And, it seems like every summer that — we used to have a nice window, where we could, you know, get a lot of project work done, and that window is shrinking every year.

FRED PINKETT:  (laughter). I bet. All right, well, let’s talk a little bit about the situation, and some of the things that happened. As we talked about, we have some questions for you, that hopefully, can guide the discussion. But, you know, feel free to talk about anything that you think is going to be relevant, as we go through this. So, the first question we had is, you know, I talked about cloud data growth, in the first part of this — this webinar. Talk more specifically about how that was affecting you at St. Michael’s.

SHAWN UMANSKY: Absolutely. So, we — we had a — a SAN a few years ago, that we outgrew a bit early. I’d say we outgrew it around 2012, which was about two years ahead of schedule, when we were due to replace it. So, we spent a lot of time playing the shell game, as we called it, trying to move large chunks of data around, between runs, to try to free up enough space to — to just manage, kind of, standard growth for the organization. And — and, that was pretty challenging, and it took a fair amount of time to do that. So — so, that — that’s, kind of, where we were at, for — for a while, it was really — it was, you know, someone’s part-time job, it actually wasn’t mine at the time. We actually contracted out a lot of that work, because of the complexity of the SAN at the time, it just wasn’t something that we could feasibly do in-house, we’re — we’re relatively thinly staffed, which, I think, is probably pretty common in higher ed. We’ve got about 18 to 20 full-time employees, but only four on our — on the network team. One is management, and then, we’ve got a telehound guy who does phones. We’ve got a — a network guy who does just like, switches, like, the hardware. And then, there’s me. So, I’m kind of this, just, admin. I kind of do everything. And so, because of that challenge in staffing, what we ended up doing, for a long period of time, was to contract a lot of services out to support, to our local vendor partner, which — they did a great job, but there’s a cost associated with that. So — so — so, we — (break in audio) we used Symantec NetBackup as our disk backup solution. And, it was OK. We had a lot of — lot of challenges, lot of hurdles to overcome, with stability, reliability, and — and again, it was complex enough that we weren’t managing it ourselves. We were paying an outside vendor to do that for us, so —

FRED PINKETT:  Right. So, for both the — dealing with the capacity, and the configuration of the SAN, as well as the backup situation that you were dealing with, you were paying extra money out of your budget, for outside consultants, just to deal with those basic issues?

SHAWN UMANSKY: That’s right. That’s exactly correct. Yeah, we just — we couldn’t — we couldn’t handle it in house, at the time. So, let’s see what else, in terms of file restoration, it’s kind of the same story. We — we had, kind of, a — so, we had a vendor partner, and they, basically, provided us with a consistent person, who was at our — at — basically, at our location for probably half the week. And so, they were really an extension of our team. They knew the ins and outs of our systems, and it worked really well. But, the — the bombshell came when, in the end of 2013, this person took a new job. And so, all the — all the knowledge that they had, kind of, amassed about our — our internal system, over the years, went with them.


SHAWN UMANSKY: And — and suddenly, here I was, you know, just — just ramping up to be responsible for all these systems, and really not knowing a damn thing, and it was — it was really scary.

FRED PINKETT:  Wow. And so — so, you were paying that person, and had trained that person, and then, that person was gone, and that was all the — all that responsibility was dumped on you, before you had the ability to get fully prepared for that?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Yeah, that’s a — that’s a nice way of putting it, so — (laughter) it was — it was a little bit of a challenging time period, where, you know, I walked in one day, and found out that this particular person had given two weeks’ notice. And, that was for all their, you know, clients. So, and they — you know, to be fair, they tried to be available for a little while afterward, but they had moved on. So, what are you going to do?

FRED PINKETT:  Right. Yep.

SHAWN UMANSKY: And, it just so happened that I had just started transitioning over about six months prior, from our desktop team. So, I was really just coming up to speed on a lot of the infrastructure that we — that we support here. So, I was really leveraging that person’s expertise, for all they were worth, and when they just dried up, you know, that was — that was kind of scary. So anyway, that really — my — I guess my point is that that really was an eye-opener for us, and gosh, you know, if this happened, how — how are we supposed to handle this? What can we do, moving forward, that’s going to put us in a — in a safer position, so we’re not vulnerable like this again?

FRED PINKETT:  Right, right, that’s the key thing.


FRED PINKETT:  And would that disaster recovery — so you guys, as well, how are you handling that?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Right. So, we have — we had a duplicate SAN, both onsite, and at a co-location, about five miles away, in Williston, Vermont. And so, everything was duplicated, including the configuration, so that doubled the cost of the hardware footprint. And, in addition, there was a cost to having that set up, again, by our vendor partner, to sail over, in the event of — of some kind of catastrophic failure. And then, of course, we had to test that.


SHAWN UMANSKY: So, there was a, you know, a good-sized cost associated with that. And, what I really liked about the move to Nasuni, was the simplicity that that brought — brought to the table.

FRED PINKETT:  OK, so that really — really saved you some stuff. So, as you were going through all these issues, in terms of the — the personnel transition, from your vendor, dealing with all this vendor complexity, dealing with the capacity growth, you started looking for a new storage solution, as you talked about there. What — what did you set as your requirements? What were the kinds of the things that you were looking for, in that new storage solution?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Yeah. So, as I mentioned, simplicity was probably the biggest one. I’m a pretty smart guy, but I — there — I manage a lot of things. So, I could only focus a little bit on any — any one of them. I’m — so, I’m kind of a jack of all trades, or a generalist. So, I really need something that’s going to do most of the work for me, and remove the complexity. So, simplicity was huge. We basically needed to get something up and running relatively quickly, and not have to spend, you know, weeks, or months, training me, or, you know, sending me to get certified in something. So, that was huge.

FRED PINKETT:  Right. Anything else that was important to you?

SHAWN UMANSKY: And it — yeah, so, I mentioned earlier that it took a significant amount of time, and expertise, to manage our previous storage environment. And so, again, like I said, that was, kind of, a — a risk for us. So, we wanted to address that, by being able to bring that management in-house.


SHAWN UMANSKY: And, in order to do that, again, because I’m — I’m only focusing a little bit of time on any given thing, it really needed to be easy.

FRED PINKETT:  Right. OK, makes sense. So, you looked around, and you — I’m sure you looked at multiple solutions, in terms of the — the need for simplicity, and the need to deal with the issues of capacity, that we were talking about, and make your backup, and restore, and DR process more simple, as well. How does Nasuni fit those needs?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Well, they — they fit them very well. I — essentially, I spend, you know, hours a year, at this point, managing the system. We’ve had an amazing response, saying that, you know, things are very stable, and, yeah, it’s worked really, really well.

FRED PINKETT:  OK, cool. The — in terms of the basic needs of storage we talked about, and, you know, you said Nasuni met your needs, in terms of being able to deal with your capacity, being able to help you with your backup, restore, and DR issues, being simple, did you find any other benefits to Nasuni, that maybe you didn’t expect, or were above and beyond the basics that you were looking for?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Well, certainly — so, I mean, scalability was — was huge, because, as I said, we had outgrown our capacity much earlier than — than we had anticipated. And so, that — that’s something that we don’t worry about anymore. It just — it just works. And, whenever we need to grow beyond what we’ve currently got, we just pick up the phone, and, you know, ask for more. And — and because it’s all cloud-based, that’s not a problem.

FRED PINKETT:  So, that — that cloud-based capacity was — were you going to just be able to grow in the cloud, without having to do any more migrations? That was an important aspect of it for you?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Oh, absolutely. That was a game changer, because in the absence of that, we’re — we really have to right size whatever purchase we make, to ensure that we’re not going to outgrow it. And, the fact is, these days, data growth is exponential. So, I think that’s trickier thing to calculate, when you go out, you know, two years, to five years, to seven years. Really, you know, it’s hard to say. So, this really takes the guesswork out of that.

FRED PINKETT:  Right, yeah, you had mentioned earlier that you — you outgrew your current — your previous SAN, before you expected to, and you didn’t want to get into that situation again.


FRED PINKETT:  OK. So, talk a little bit about the implementation. You know, you had this SAN that was almost at capacity, and you were dealing with all these problems that required you to have extra people on staff, just to be able to manage them. And then, you know, you acquired Nasuni, and you — you implemented it. Talk a little bit about the implementation process.

SHAWN UMANSKY: Sure. So, it was pretty straightforward. We — so, we heard about it, I think online. We — we had done some searching, basically, trying to find something that was simple. And, Nasuni came up, and we attended a couple online webinars. We really liked what we heard. And so, we followed up with some reference calls. And, after, you know, what everyone said, we — we basically, you know, it was — it was between Nasuni, and, there was one other — one other product we were considering, which was StorSimple, from Microsoft. And, while, you know, that may have met our needs, the fact is, we are a Microsoft shop, we do like Microsoft. But, there are some challenges, in terms of support, that we really — really weren’t in — in the position to face. So, we really needed something where — where we wouldn’t spend a lot of time on the phone getting it up and running, and then, more time on the phone, fixing problems, or, just getting it escalated. So — so, we ended up going with — with Nasuni, and — so, after we made the choice, we set up a one-day consultation, where a senior Nasuni consultant came on-site, and we spent that first half of the day in our conference room, with a whiteboard, basically just discussing our network, and — and how this was going to integrate into it. And then, we spent that — that engineer spent some time configuring the appliance, which — we went with the hardware appliance, and, getting it installed. And then, he and I spent maybe two hours, at the end of the day, just kind of going over the — the ins and outs of the management console, and showing me all the features, and, you know, how to set quotas, and all the — all the little things. And — and, that was pretty much it.

FRED PINKETT:  Great, glad to hear that that — that that went well. That’s good feedback for us. The — you know, we’re — we’re close with Microsoft, as well, and we — we work with them closely. As you know, the data store, for most of our customers, the backend data store for Nasuni is Azure. And so, yeah, those — the two products are — are different than — it’s just different models that work for different people, so it’s — it’s good to hear that you saw it — found a Nasuni model was good for you, and that the implementation went well. So, talk a little bit about now that Nasuni’s been in place, you know, how long has it been in place, and — and how is it continuing to work? You know, what’s the — you know, now that the honeymoon is over, if you will, or maybe it’s over a while ago, talk a little bit about how it’s been since, and what Nasuni’s been doing for you. And maybe, it would help the — the listeners on the webinar, to tell a couple stories that are about, you know, kind of illustrate the changes in your environment, because of Nasuni.

SHAWN UMANSKY: Oh, absolutely. So, I — so, yeah, we’ve — we’ve had Nasuni in production since the summer, I guess it was July of 2014. So, just under two years now, and really, I mean, it — it was primarily all done, and the data migration was done in about two weeks, about 12 terabytes of data was moved over. And, most of that time was spent just fixing — fixing, like, permissions problems, than active directory. But — but, on the Nasuni end, it went really, really smoothly. And, so yeah, the — it’s really been very quiet. It just, kind of, it runs. I occasionally will get an alert, in regards to the built-in antivirus feature, where if somebody — if somebody happens to say something to the — to the storage, that is somehow a vulnerability, or malicious, it’ll — it’ll flag that, and send me an email. And so, it was actually kind of funny, when I was doing the migration, from our old SAN, I came in one day, and my inbox was just full of alerts, because apparently, what I learned was that our — the AV on our old SAN was not — not as good as we thought it was, we really, I guess, probably didn’t know. But, the — the fact was that Nasuni AV was catching a lot of things that had been probably sitting out there for years. And so, it was nice to, kind of — it was refreshing, and encouraging to know, that, hey, you know, this product is actually working, and catching these things. And so, I spent, you know, a couple days going through, I don’t know, a few hundred files, and — and, you know, dealing with them, and cleaning that all up. But now, we really don’t get a lot of that at all. It just kind of works. And, in terms of you — you asked about stories. So, I can give you a few. Let me see — so, this happened pretty recently. We had an exchange student, from another country, who — who did not speak English as their primary language. And, they were enrolled here at the college, and had been doing a lot of work in, I don’t remember what department it was, but it was right around the time of, like, finals. They had put a significant amount of time into a particular project, and — and they were freaking out, because they couldn’t find their work anymore. Something had happened, they — they had — their home directory had basically gotten wiped out. And, we — it’s hard to say why that happened, but chances are, it was somewhat self-inflicted, that’s usually what we see. So, the — the good news was that I knew instantly that this was not a problem, because we have our — our fireware configured to take snapshots, pretty much hourly. So, there was no worry about being able to get their data back. And in about 15 minutes, I was able to not only restore their data, but also identify, within a couple hours of when it was deleted. So, then I just — most of the time was spent reaching out to them, trying to find a phone number, and — and getting in touch with them, and — and letting them know that their data was fine. And, they were very happy, and everything was good. So, we don’t get a lot of restores like that, but — but when we do, they’re not a pain point anymore, whereas it used to be really, kind of, touch and go, as to whether or not — how long it would take, you know, whether we still had the — the data somewhere, things like that. So, we just — we rest easy on that now.

FRED PINKETT:  Oh, well that — that’s good to hear. Yeah, it’s definitely a change from having a — having to have a whole separate vendor person there, just to — to deal with that, versus being able to take care it yourself, within 15 minutes. So, do you have any other stories for us?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Sure. So, here’s another example. So, we have a department here called the MJDA, or Media Studies/Journalism/Digital Arts department. And, one day, they came in, because they had — their department had an idea. So, John comes into the office, and he says, “Guys, I don’t know if this possible or not, but, you know, here’s what I’d like to do. I need some space on the network, and historically, when we’ve had requests like this, chances are, if we could fulfill them, then it would probably take a while, because like I said, we had to, kind of, find space on — on the SAN, and then move things around, that just takes time, it’s kind of complicated. So, in this case, it was — it was kind of the opposite. He was in our office for maybe 20 minutes. And by the time he left, I — I just looked up, and I said, “John, it’s done. I — you know, I’ve — I’ve allocated the space, you’ve got, you know, I think it was, like, 100 gigabytes, permissions are all set. The next time you log in, you’re going to see this particular folder there, and it’s all yours. Do what you want.” And, he was just amazed. He’s like, “Yo, that — that was way too easy.” So — so, the things that used to really take, you know, potentially, weeks, now they’re — now they’re down to minutes. And — and, instead of having somebody else have to do it, and escalate that, we can take care of it first in.

FRED PINKETT:  Wow, that’s — that’s pretty good. Weeks to minutes is a pretty good improvement.


FRED PINKETT:  And not have to have those extra people to do it is pretty good. All right, well, this — it’s — you know, really appreciate you taking the time to talk about some of these things, and to talk to the audience about the experiences that you had with Nasuni. I’m actually going to talk a little bit, now, about the product, so people actually know a little something about the product we’ve just been talking about. And then, also, going to probably take about, you know, five or 10 minutes, or so, and then, we’ll be done. So, before I move on, is there anything else you’d like to say, Shawn?

SHAWN UMANSKY: No, just that if anyone’s have questions, I’m happy to answer them.

FRED PINKETT:  OK, great. Yeah, there’ll be — there’ll be questions in the question panel at the end, and — and, if we don’t get to everybody’s questions, you know, we’ll work with you to get people’s questions answered after the webcast. So, a little bit about Nasuni itself. This is a — kind of a conceptual diagram of what the product is. UniFS is our file system that lives in the cloud, and in the Nasuni filers that Shawn was talking about, the way Nasuni actually works is you have a — a local filer, and it could be virtual, or physical. If you remember Shawn saying, he opted for the appliance, and that’s the point of user interaction. The users connect to that via standard mass protocols, you know, system SMB, and Windows case, we support NFS as well. We actually support FTP, and we support an HTTPS protocol for our mobile clients, which I’ll — I’ll talk about, as well. And these Nasuni filers act as a local access point into data that’s in the cloud. So, what’s actually happening is the active data is cached locally, in the appliance. So, instead of having to have a big box, or a stack of boxes, or a rack of equipment, for storing all of your data onsite, what you actually only have to have is a virtual machine, or appliance that has the active data that people are actually working on onsite. And then, as the data grows, for example, you know, in a place like St. Michael’s, there might be a new set of students every year, and — or, there might be some research projects, and, you know, the research projects can’t be deleted. But yet, you know, they’ve been worked on, they’re done, and they have to be kept, but they’re not necessarily something that people access on a regular basis. You know, we find that out in the general world, anywhere from 5 to 20% of people’s data is active. So, the rest of all that data lives in the cloud. In fact, all the data lives in the cloud. In our case, it’s usually Azure, although we work with some other things as well. And so, what will happen is, as people are interacting with the Nasuni filers, and Shawn talked about this as well, they’ll take snapshots, they can be as frequently as once a minute, people typically do anywhere from, you know, 15 minutes, to an hour, like they’re doing at St. Michael’s, to even less frequently, depending on the scenario. And those snapshots are only the — the changes in the data, and those changes get sent up to the cloud, and UniFS store the — stores those. So, the result is, you have unlimited capacity, because your data’s stored in the cloud, and as we know, the cloud can just — data storage can just grow, and grow, and grow. You don’t have to worry about your box filling up, and doing the migration. The data just lives in the cloud, and as Shawn talked about in that example, when you need more space, you can just, you know, increase your license, if — if you’re not licensed for it, but if you are licensed for it, you can just allocate it very simply with our management console. So, it’s really easy to deal with the capacity issue, and you’ll never, ever, have to do another migration again, because once your data is in Nasuni, it’s in the cloud, and it just grows in place. And, as people use it, it just gets cached into the local appliance. So, instead of, you know, people think about, “Well, the data’s in the cloud, so, you know, it — I need bandwidth to get to it.” Actually, you’re interacting with the data locally in — through the Nasuni appliance, so to cache data actively, it’s been — the data in the cloud just — it generally, you know, all that data that people are not accessing all the time. The other thing people worry about, in terms of data in the cloud, is, “Well, what about security?” And, of course, in a university, you have security, and privacy concerns, as well. Well, the other thing is, because there’s this local point presence in the Nasuni filer, you — you have the ability to upload in an encryption key, and this is encryption key of the organization. So, it’s not a — an encryption key that Nasuni gives you or assigned, and it’s not an encryption key that the cloud then drops. It’s an encryption key that’s — that’s personal and private to your organization. And, you load that key into the filer, and then, as that data is sent to the cloud, it’s actually — all your files, they’re chunked. Then, they’re deduplicated, so again, we’re sending only the changed. And they’re compressed, so we’re very efficient on the bandwidth. And then, they’re encrypted. And the — the encrypted chunks are what’s sent to the cloud. So, it’s encrypted as it travels over the network, and it’s encrypted as it’s stored in the cloud. So, neither Nasuni, nor the cloud vendor, again, it’s usually Microsoft Azure, have the ability to get access to the data. So, even if you have privacy concerns, or even if you’re worried about the fact that, you know, it’s a cloud data center, and being run by somebody else, even if that were to be breached, the only thing that they could get is — is your encrypted data. The only way to access your data is — is through your filer, on your site, that has your encryption key. So, it deals with the security issue, as well. So, as a result, to end up with a system that has virtually unlimited scalability, the capacity scales in the cloud, on demand. Because UniFS is — is our proprietary file system, we like to say it was born in the cloud. We designed Nasuni, from the beginning, to be a cloud-based system, to be able to handle the scalability of cloud. So, there’s no — no limits on the number of files, or directories. You know, UniFS, you have people who think about file systems, and they — and — and, if you’re technical, you think about things like iNotes, and limited structures, and limited numbers of snapshots. UniFS doesn’t work that way, so there’s no limits on the number of files, and no limits on the number of directories. And, even though your data’s in the cloud, you still have that high-performance access to the data, at the edge. So, people get the performance, because the — they’re being able to access their data off the local network, even though the bulk of all of your data’s stored in the cloud. And also, in terms of simplicity, not only is it simple to run, it’s, as Shawn was talking about, it’s simple to buy. There’s only two things on a Nasuni quote: Your hardware, if you’re buying hardware, if you’re buying the VMs, they’re free, and the capacity. You know, it’s an annual license, like the — getting cloud service, so — and we only charge you for your actual capacity. So, if you have, like, you know, St. Michael’s, they have 12 terabytes of data, as we talked about. If it’s a 12 terabyte license, you might have a little bit more deposit advance. And, that’s all — all you need. They — we don’t charge you for the extra capacity that’s associated with your backups, that’s associated with anything. All that’s included in — in the license. No extra charges for management, no extra charges for protocols, no extra charges for anything. There’s also built-in data protection, and really, that’s what made the — the backup and restore thing so easy for St. Michael’s, as compared to, you know, the old way of doing backups to disk, and then, having to replicate that disk offsite. Because UniFS was designed from this from the beginning, you know, typically, there’s a snapshot limit of 64, or 1024, or 32,000, or 10,000. So, as people don’t think of snapshots as a way to replace backup, because there’s a limited history that you can keep, and it takes up space on the local disk. In our case, the snapshots can be unlimited, or infinite, and they don’t take up space on the local disk, because they’re sent to the cloud. So, you can truly replace backup, because, you know, Shawn’s been taking one hour snapshots, you know, since the beginning, for a couple years. So, he has all his data back — going back, all that time, and he has — every single one of those restore points are available to him, in Nasuni. Unless you have — you know, if you have — there’s a regulatory reason, where you have certain data that you can’t — are not allowed to keep, for a certain period of time, then we can prune that data, to make sure that you can meet those regulatory requirements. You get immediate resource, since it’s snapshots. It’s not a restore process, where you go to a backup software, and you go to a backup catalog, and you find the right backup. No, you — you do it, it’s a snapshot-based restore. You navigate a calendar, and to — to the time that you want, and to the directory that you want, and you press the restore button, and it comes back. Because the data is stored in Azure, and your history is stored in Azure, you end up with a — a geo-redundant store. So, your data is in multiple — has multiple copies in — in the data center, and it’s replicated to another data center that’s far enough away to survive a disaster, and has multiple copies in there. You end up with at least six copies, across at least two geo-redundant data centers. So, in that case, if there is a disaster, you have the capability, anytime, of standing up another Nasuni filer, pointing it at your data, and you can be up and running in 15 minutes, and some people keep a hot Nasuni filer, and Nasuni virtual machine, offsite in the data center, ready to go. And finally, it’s accessible anywhere. You know, if you remember that earlier diagram, multiple of those Nasuni filers can be pointed at the same data, so that they — you can actually share that data across locations. So, if you have multiple locations, with multiple Nasuni filers, each of those filers can access the same data, can have that same file cached. And, we have global locking, so that multiple people can — can share — share data without risk of conflict. So, instead of — this is, you know, caching, and locking, as opposed to replication, so you don’t end up with that scenario where two people can be working on the same file, and have conflicting changes. One can take a lock, and — across the whole organization, not just on that same file server, but across the whole organization, it will prevent anybody else from writing that same file, until that person is done with it. It also gives you any location, any device, access. So, you can put Nasuni filers in your office, and have mass protocol access. But we also — also have Nasuni mobile. So, there’s Android clients, there’s iPhone and iPad clients, there’s a synchronization clients for — for desktops and laptops, that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. So, you can have it — have a — a box-like experience, if you will. But, that’s going through your filer, through your access control, all part of one security domain. So, you don’t have your data in a separate solution, and have to have some kind of separate security to manage. It — the mobile solution comes through the same — it’s the same data that everybody’s sharing, it’s the same sort of data, and it respects your security. And so, through that central management console that — that Shawn was talking about, where you can do these restores, where you can, you know, create that ca– create a new — share and create capacity. You also manage the mobile. So, you have one centralized management console, no matter how distributed your organization, and your management is. And so, that gives you, really, absolute control. And, since this is — you know, we’re talking to people in the education environment, I want to talk a little bit more specifically about security, and I talked a little bit about it earlier, they’re organization controlled encryption keys. So, we can’t access your data on the cloud, vendor can’t access your data. It’s only available through your Nasuni filer. The way it works, is when you stand up Nasuni for the first time, you generate an encryption key. Now, we do have the capability of exporting those keys for you, depending on your environment. If that’s acceptable, that we would potentially have access to the key, we’ll do that for you. For most people, we recommend that you have some kind of extra copy of the key, so that it’s completely private, and there’s no way for us to access the data. But as the data is sent, so as you can see, from the Nasuni filer, data’s encrypted using that key that you generated, that you control, that we don’t have. It’s an encrypted, and compressed — and so, the MD — duplicated, by the way. And so, what gets sent offsite is, really, the bare minimum that needs to be sent. So, it’s as efficient as possible, in terms of sending the data to the cloud. You know, it’s — and so, you don’t really need separate WAN optimization, because what’s going to the cloud is only the changes in your data. Of (break in audio) (inaudible) on the line, it’s TSA — T — a TSL, not — not SSL, so it’s — it’s, you know, the — the modern version of the protocol, up to date. And then, finally, the data’s stored, encrypted in the cloud. By the way, it’s AS56 encryption, so it’s — it’s strong encryption. So, you have that as well. The other thing is that Nasuni filers can join your active directory. So, as you’re migrating that data in, you know, Shawn mentioned permissions a couple of times. We use your existing user and group security, and so, your existing permissions can be, you know, sometimes, they need to be cleaned up a little bit, when you do a migration, but they can be migrated right in with your data, because we actually are part of your active directory. So, when users are connecting the assist, they’re just being — username and password, and their existing identity is what’s used, it’s just like they were — were connecting to another Windows file server. And the same thing, if they connect via mobile. It’s the same username and password, that they’re using as well. And, as Shawn mentioned, there’s built-in antivirus as well. So, without — with — and so, that’s pretty much it. That’s all we wanted to talk to you, I hope I gave you a quick overview of the product, and so, you know a little bit about the — what it is that Shawn’s using, and how it — it solved his problems over there at St. Michael’s. So, I think we’re — we’re pretty much at the end, I just wanted to thank Shawn again, and it’s — we have a little bit of time, we ran a little bit over, but we have a little bit of time, if there’s any questions. Maybe one? Actually, is there any questions?

AISHA: Yes, thank you Fred and Shawn, both, for running today’s webcast. We are open up for questions. We are coming close to the end of the hour, so if we don’t get to your question, we will follow up with you directly. But, let’s squeeze in a couple. The first one is directed towards Fred. What size companies are using Nasuni, given that St. Michael’s has around 3,200 folks? Do you see the same benefits, regardless of the size of the company?

FRED PINKETT:  Yeah, pretty much. You know, St. Michael’s is down towards the — at 12 terabytes, down towards the smaller end, although at 3,200 users, they’re kind of in the middle, in terms of the number of users being — being a university. You know, there’s a high user population, relative to the — the amounts of data, and to the amount it uses. But we have, you know, customers down to that, you know, 10 terabyte range, with, you know, even hundreds of people in the organization, you know, right up to customers that — that are, you know, approaching a petabyte in data, and have, you know, tens of thousands of people in the organization, you know, name-brand companies that — that you may have heard of, as — as well, that you may interact with every day. And, pretty much everything in between, runs across organizations. We have other colleges and universities, we have people in manufacturing, architecture and engineering, while in their construction, we have finance, we have some non-profit organizations that — that are customers, and — and the broad range, oh, health care organizations, as well as life sciences organizations. So, a broad range of types of companies, and a broad range of size in companies. And, of course, that’s what you’d expect, because this, to me, is really general purpose file storage, just done more cost-effectively, because we use cloud, able to deal with the capacity, able to deal with backup issues, and able to deal with DR issues. So, pretty much anybody who has, you know, large numbers of files, have to deal with these issues, and Nasuni can help them.

AISHA: Great, thank you. Our next question is directed towards — to Shawn. Shawn, you mentioned that when you were making the decision to go with Nasuni, service and support were one of the important factors. Can you provide some insight on your experience with Nasuni support?

SHAWN UMANSKY: Oh, good question, absolutely. So, I promise Nasuni’s not paying me, (laughter), when I say this. But, it’s been phenomenal. Off the bat, we really didn’t have a lot of need. Like I said, we — we had that senior engineer, who was, kind of, dedicated to us, for the — the duration of the migration, which, you know, was maybe a month or so. And that just meant, you know, he would reach out weekly, and check in, and we’d have a, you know, a cadence call, to make sure things were going well. That was fine. And in terms of ongoing support, we had a couple — couple things where, you know, I didn’t know how to do something right off the bat, because I was still learning the platform, or, you know, a minor incident would come up. And, when that happened, I was amazed that I could pick up the phone, call 1-800-NASUNI, or whatever the number is, and I — within — within seconds, someone would answer the call, and that was the person that was helping me. I didn’t, you know, go through a phone tree, I didn’t have to wait on hold, I didn’t have to go through escalation. And honestly, it was a — it’s the best support I’ve ever seen. And, I — I would challenge other companies to — to come close. They set the bar really high, in that respect. And, you know, I’ve — I’ve spent years dealing with, you know, Symantec, and Microsoft, and some of the bigger players, Dell, and you’re not going to get that, with those guys. But here, you do. It’s — it’s really amazing.

FRED PINKETT:  Yeah, we definitely, you know, strive to be different from your typical large corporate experience. Here — here at Nasuni, it’s — because it’s a service that we provide, and we sell the storage as a service, if you will, because it’s a cloud-based system that — and, you know, you — the client is going to be sticking with us, presumably forever, or nearly forever, and — and growing with us. As — as we grow, it’s really in our best interest as a company. I mean, it’s — it’s nice to provide good support, and we do it based on pride, and it’s based on being a good thing, but it’s also good business practice for us, as well, because the happier the customer is, the more of their data they put in Nasuni, and — and the better it is for everybody. So, we really appreciate hearing that.

AISHA: Well, we’d like to thank our audience for attending today’s event, and thank you again, both Shawn and Fred, for hosting today’s webcast. If we were unable to get to your question, we will follow up with you directly. And, once again, thank you, and we hope you enjoyed the presentation.

FRED PINKETT:  Thank you, everybody.


AISHA: Thank you.