Nowadays, organizations with multiple locations face unique challenges when configuring and maintaining a storage solution. In addition to the absence of proper technical expertise at your remote locations and the lack of centralized IT control, each of which can put your business-critical data at risk, the size, physical configuration, and data needs of each remote or branch office site (ROBO) are often vastly different from one another. As a result, configuring and managing a distributed storage solution using a network attached storage (NAS) device that encompasses all of your geographically dispersed locations can be a daunting task for even the best storage administrator.
Consider the complexity of these challenges to a legacy NAS-based storage system:
Disparate Storage Needs
Each office location can have vastly different storage requirements from one another; while a regional office may need several terabytes, 500 gigabytes may be plenty for a satellite sales office. A physical NAS must match the storage needs of each site, plus the anticipated growth in storage needs in the foreseeable future. At a minimum, this adds complexity to the planning and deployment of the storage solution across sites; but in many cases, it also leads to over purchase, since most NAS devices are limited in their ability to scale down to smaller capacities. This can lead to a tremendous waste of the company’s limited resources.
Physical Limitations of the Office
Most enterprise-class storage systems are in a rackmount footprint and designed for performance. They’re also typically extremely loud. This isn’t a problem, assuming they’ll be isolated in a data center; but in a small sales office with only four walls and a bunch of desks, it can quickly become a major issue.
Technical Affinity of the Personnel
Since it’s nearly impossible to have a qualified IT resource at each location, it may be necessary to assign a local employee with some degree of computer expertise as the NAS administrator. But even if that person is extraordinarily responsible, they likely have a ‘day job’ that takes priority, not to mention the fact that they likely lack the true expertise necessary for such an essential responsibility. As a result, there’s no guarantee that the job will be done correctly or consistently, which can put your business-critical data at risk.
The mobility of the Workforce
Employees who work remotely or who travel are frequently disconnected from the network; as a result, they typically store their files locally on their laptop, rather than on a corporate drive. This creates challenges for NAS administrators since the business-critical data on those laptops will be left out of the nightly backup. Those laptops can go weeks before they’re attached to the network again, so the loss, damage, or theft of that laptop – or even just a simple failure of the hard drive – can cause permanent data loss.
As mentioned in a prior blog, without centralized control over the entire storage solution, any problems or inconsistencies in the backup requires the NAS administrator to physically travel to the site to investigate and remediate the issue, causing the organization to potentially go days with a portion of their business-critical data at risk.
Replication and File Sharing Between Sites
NAS devices work on a hub-and-spoke model with third-party sync software installed on the file system in the company’s HQ that communicates with all of the remote offices to keep all files updated. So when a file is modified at any branch location, it must first sync with the HQ file system before being distributed to the other offices. In addition to the potential for serious performance issues, sync software is often unreliable and stops running without warning. When this happens, file syncing simply ceases, with no warning or indication of any type.
Morro Data CloudNAS solves all of these issues by centralizing storage, services, and management in the cloud. With the hybrid cloud file system, all data is saved directly to the cloud, regardless of physical location. CloudNAS benefits include: