How to consolidate data for small branches globally and work together with few investment..(I)

Do you remember some time ago?…but not too many years ago, to consolidate a file share platform for many small branches it was a headache. Not simple, not cheap and with some operational effort not feasible for lots of S&M companies.

You had a file server per branch which should be replicated, using asymmetric replication usually, with others in regular basis. To do that there where several solutions in the market. Some IT departments tried it with Microsoft DFS (Distributed File System) technology, others with Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) which provides a simple NFS file system for use with the AWS Cloud or on-premises but limited to Linux or Unix world.

Even someone tried it with more budget using Talon CORE and Talon EDGE which works well but means as the other approaches an infrastructure with specific needs to take care of.

No better, no perfect approach but at least a way to share files through many cities, even countries and no IT experts on those locations, with very narrow band communications and poor budget. Do we want to cry?….no, no… 😉

So how to solve the GAP? we are:

  1. Use Microsoft Sharepoint Online + One drive– But only if you want to pay Office365 licences and also want to pay a good money for storage as it´s not raw but within a Content Data Base for Office or PDF documents to mention some files (first TERA is included on the SPO Tenant). In the case, you need extra features as Taxonomy search, Fast Search or index content, to put some examples on the table, it a candidate for you. When two employees want to work the same proposal or presentation, they can do it. That´s called coauthoring. Perfect for editing documents at the same time. It is more focus on regions but also Microsoft provide a global solution. If suits your needs and you want it globally you have a new feature called Multi-Geo in SharePoint which enables global businesses control.
  2. Use Microsoft Azure File Sync – If you want the cheapest approach and don´t want to pay for complex maintenance, you don´t need Fast Search or any Content Data base as you are just replicating some files on file on disk storage with any more complex outcome than replicate the changes and facilitate the data for all the employees all over the World. This approach it´s very attractive as brings also the option of using Data Tearing which provides 2 layers for the data in this case, one your “working set”, what you use daily, and the rest of files an folders which will be move to the cloud (depending on policies or volume limits) and only bring back to your local file server if someone needs them. All the local file servers consolidate their data to a file share on the cloud, on Azure, and it is available for employees even with the new changes because any change happens first locally and Azure File Sync will decide which one is the last version on a document to be updated on the cloud file share. On the other hand, you have snapshot if someone did a mistake. You can create as much sync groups as you want with a cloud endpoint, your cloud file share and a Server endpoint or several of them, all the servers that are consolidating folders and files together in the cloud and visible for the employees where ever they are. So perfect solution for concurrence even if you modify the docs locally.
  3. AWS solutions are also a good option. Amazon FSx for Windows File Server resources provides file Systems, backups, and file Shares. It also support DFS as we´ve said before (in the first traditional solutions some years ago) to be integrated with Amazon FSx. If you want also to make it simple you can use S3 (the global storage AWS service) with a private or a public bucket depending on your needs working together with Edge Locations which are facilities present in many countries and accelerate with cache the data access for the users. But keep in mind the collaborative approach in this last case is not so optimal as the Amazon FSx + DFS in terms of concurrence.
  4. Azure also offers Azure Files or NET APP Files. Those solutions can also bring some value to offer flexible storage and consolidated files share with more or less performance and SMB or NFS flavours depending what you choose. But as the AWS S3, they are not focus on concurrence and simplify a consolidated photo for users all over the world.
  5. Google Suit + Google Drive. It is another content collaboration platform as Sharepoint Online + One Drive. It´s not exactly the same but both embrace sharing and collaborative work for the users documents all over the region.
Azure file sync scenario
Azure file sync scenario

Shapoint Online + One drive and Gsuite + GDrive are productivity cloud products while Azure File sync or Amazon Fsx + DFS are more infrastructure approaches. For those with a very limited budget and needs to reduce operational complexity, to increase productivity and improve UX (user experience), we are going in depth with them in the next post.

See you them…

1 thought on “How to consolidate data for small branches globally and work together with few investment..(I)

  1. Pingback: How to consolidate data for Headquarter and Branches in a smart way: Windows Admin Center and Azure File Sync

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