Cloud file sharing services and other cloud file services address one of the most important needs for enterprise companies today: the ability to share files with users all over the world without disruption and at scale. Enterprises have learned, though, that file sharing in the cloud requires a lot more than affordable, scalable storage.
It must also be highly available, secure, and resilient. In this blog we’ll look at some of the success stories of companies that have solved their file storage challenges by turning to Cloud Volumes ONTAP as a file sharing service in the cloud.
Cloud File Sharing
What is File Sharing?
File sharing, whether public or private, means storing digital files – documents, multimedia, images, and so on – within a network and granting different levels of access privilege to these files. There are many types of file sharing and file sharing protocols. Cloud-based file sharing is often associated with host files for concurrent use within an organization.
The SMB, CIFS, and NFS Protocols
The CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocol is a Microsoft-developed protocol used to share, read, write, edit, and delete Windows-based files. CIFS has largely been superseded by the later versions of the more robust Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing protocols.
The Network File System (NFS) protocol is also a client-server application that facilitates file sharing among Linux-based devices—servers, laptops, desktops, and more. With NFS, users can store, view and update remote files as though they reside on their local disk drive.
The Challenges of a File Sharing Service
Despite all the compelling benefits, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed when implementing enterprise file sharing in the cloud. Ensuring that users all around the world don’t encounter issues concurrently accessing and sharing a large file system can be complex. The requirements include:
- High availability: Shared files have to be available. In case of a failure, minimal recovery times and no data loss are required.
- Accessibility: The ability to serve to both NFS, CIFS, and SMB to meet the demands of Unix/Linux and Windows-backed workloads.
- Data protection: Efficient snapshots for point-in-time recovery points to protect against data corruption or loss and robust backup and DR solutions.
- Cost containment: File sharing and storage footprints as well as data transfers must be efficiently managed in order to reduce costs.
- API and Automation: Workflow management such as managing volumes, snapshots, and clones, setting up replications, etc. via automation and orchestration tools.
- Data security: File protection with encryption, efficient key management, and role-based access restrictions.
- Data mobility: Enterprise files must be able to move seamlessly and be synchronized between on-prem data centers and clouds.
Customer Success Stories
NetApp’s Cloud Volumes ONTAP is a data storage management solution that runs on the AWS and Azure clouds, adding a rich layer of features and capabilities that address the challenges of enterprise-grade file sharing in the cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports all file-sharing protocols (CIFS, SMB and NFS) and is designed for high data mobility among on-premise data centers and multiple public clouds.
In this section we describe how three enterprises from diverse industries leverage Cloud Volumes ONTAP for robust, secure, and highly-available file sharing.
EidosMedia: Global Publishing Platform
EidosMedia provides a next-generation digital publishing platform to many of the world’s media giants such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, Le Monde, and Cox Media Group. EidosMedia’s customers need to be able to quickly publish new content at scale to a wide range of form factors—web, mobile, and print.
EidosMedia uses Cloud Volumes ONTAP to achieve the flexibility, low-latency and reliability required in highly dynamic content creation and publication environments:
- With SnapMirror®’s highly efficient incremental data replication technology, data is mirrored and synchronized across storage environments anywhere in the world, to satisfy latency and data sovereignty requirements.
- With FlexClone® new writable data volumes can be cloned instantly with zero capacity penalty so that content is easy to replicate for DevOps work with, cutting development time and TTM.
- Breaking news can’t wait. With Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA (high availability) dual-node configuration EidosMedia and its customers benefit from automatic and non-disruptive failover and failback across AWS Availability Zones, with an RPO of zero and RTO of less than 60 seconds.
Multinational Networking Supplier: Distributed Data Sharing
This company is a multinational supplier of networking products—adapters, switches, software, cables, silicon products, and more—for a wide range of markets, including high-performance computing. With multiple manufacturing sites around the world, they wanted a testing, research and design infrastructure designed for integration, easy data sharing, scalability and centralized support. Believing that data is a catalyst for innovation, they knew that this kind of infrastructure would support their business need to accelerate the development and launch of novel products.
The company’s storage team chose Cloud Volumes ONTAP because it provided a unified data management solution that was reliable, scalable, and cost-effective. They use Cloud Volumes ONTAP on Azure for their production workloads and file shares, as well as for DR and backup copies, gaining the following benefits:
- 69% reduction in their production data footprint by using Cloud Volume ONTAP built-in storage efficiencies such as thin provisioning, data compression and data deduplication.
- 90% of their cold DR data is automatically tiered to lower cost BLOB object storage, for additional savings.
- They can now easily share production log files across multiple sites, for better insights into manufacturing processes. They can also safely make relevant data accessible to their customers.
- Through OnCommand® Cloud Manager, a single-pane GUI for centralized data storage management and automation, they could set schedules and policies for unmatched data protection yet save compute and license costs because the DR instance is automatically turned on during replication updates only.
Monash University: Seamless Transition to the Cloud
With over 80,000 students, Monash University is Australia’s largest educational institution. Consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide, and with campuses spread out around the world, Monash seeks to set an example for its students by staying on the cutting edge of innovation.
Monash knew that, in order to meet the expectations of its users for real-time access to information through any web or mobile device, its IT environment would have to be shifted to the cloud. They also realized that eliminating their on-premises data center would save valuable space and resources that could be diverted to its core academic activities.
Monash, already a NetApp customer, adopted Cloud Volumes ONTAP to manage its file storage footprint on AWS. To date they have reaped the following benefits:
- Moved its last data center in just four months using SnapMirror technology and the Cloud Manager automation workflows to migrate data from its on-premises systems to AWS.
- Reduced its AWS storage spends by 25% by leveraging in-line data deduplication and compression.
- Frictionless spinning up and tearing down of environments to access petabytes of storage capacity as needed.
Read the full Monash University case study here.
Cloud file sharing is in and of itself more cost-effective, elastic, and scalable than on-premises solutions. Cloud Volumes ONTAP further enhances these advantages with a rich set of features, including built-in storage efficiencies, automated storage tiering, thin provisioning, incremental backups and reliable DR replications. And all of these capabilities are implemented and managed through a single-pane GUI interface. To find out more, watch this webinar on file sharing with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.