US-based architects the Jerde Partnership has saved around 20% on storage and backup costs by ditching its in-house storage hardware and replacing it with a hybrid cloud storage Nasuni NAS gateway setup.
The move to hybrid cloud NAS gateways allows Jerde’s architects to work seamlessly across time zones by giving remote access to collaborative project files.
The company is based in Los Angeles and has 100 staff in offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, and its works include a number of landmark Las Vegas buildings including the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, the Bellagio, and the Wynn Las Vegas.
Joe Marando, CIO, said the way the company works now is very different from when he joined 16 years ago.
“When I arrived we were working on the Palms,” he said. “We’d fly to Vegas on a Thursday, come back with the changes and make them in Autocad. The next Thursday we’d fly out again.”
“Workflows have really changed,” said Marando. “The amount of data has grown immensely because of the complexity of the architectural software, which is mostly a lot of unstructured data with some links between some of it.
“Also, we now have people working together globally on projects. They’re not in the same building anymore.”
As the way the company worked changed the biggest issue, said Marando, was the time taken to move data around.
“We saw a need to have all staff working on the same file structure and the same data. The ability to leverage the time zones was critical to us to work seamlessly between the offices,” said Marando.
Jerde has about 15TB of capacity in its Nasuni filers. Data is replicated to Microsoft Azure cloud storage. Staff can access data remotely from all types of devices, including iPads and mobile phones via the Nasuni app.
“It means we can be working on something at 5pm in LA and make saves, then someone in China at a client site in the morning their time can pull up a walkthrough and make changes from there.”
The bulk of Jerde’s data resides on Microsoft Azure cloud, but the most recently used data is also held locally in cache.
There is some lag, said Marando, which depends on user latency and bandwidth and the time of day. “If there are a lot of people writing at the end of the day the sync time can be longer.”
The big benefit is that where previously the organisation had to manage all its own on-premise storage and backup, it now largely doesn’t. And according to Marando, that brought total savings of about 20% on storage and backup costs.
What could Nasuni improve in future versions? “The app for remote access works really well with certain types of files but it could be more efficient in some cases too,” he said. “For example, if you go to a folder and there are 50 jpegs but you only want one, it downloads all of them. It efficiency in that regard could be improved on.”