File Servers Across North America?



  • I have a client that has offices in US, Canada and Mexico. There is a VPN tunnel for all the locations.

    How is the best way to handle file servers? Everyone needs access all locations.

    All locations have riverbed device, but it still very slow. Thoughts?



  • There are not interested in a cloud option.



  • Well, you shot down my first suggestion.

    What type of internet pipes do you have (type and speed)?

    What size files? What is the fileserver?



  • WAN links will always be the limiting factor here. Your files can only move as fast as the slowest ISP link. If one of the locations has significantly faster pipes, that's where your files should live.


  • Banned

    @anonymous said:

    I have a client that has offices in US, Canada and Mexico. There is a VPN tunnel for all the locations.

    How is the best way to handle file servers? Everyone needs access all locations.

    All locations have riverbed device, but it still very slow. Thoughts?

    Depends on what they want to pay. We have locations all across the US & Mexico and have 100Mbps connections from the datacenter to each of them. Not cheap.

    Otherwise how much data needs to be shared between locations? If not much just give each one their own otherwise DFS is going to be your friend (and you can mix and match, some can be site only, and some folder/shares synced)



  • @anonymous said:

    There are not interested in a cloud option.

    Why the hell not?

    Putting it on any cloud provider would eliminate the whole ISP slow link issue, be centralized in a managed environment, and bring forth DFS pretty easy.

    You are shooting yourself in the foot if you don't consider it.



  • @PSX_Defector said:

    @anonymous said:

    There are not interested in a cloud option.

    Why the hell not?

    Putting it on any cloud provider would eliminate the whole ISP slow link issue, be centralized in a managed environment, and bring forth DFS pretty easy.

    You are shooting yourself in the foot if you don't consider it.

    I believe @anonymous is a service provider. So likely the client is unable to be convinced.

    At this point I would remind the OP to pursue private cloud options like OwnCloud and DFS



  • @anonymous said:

    There are not interested in a cloud option.

    Do you mean this as...

    • They are not interested in hosted?
    • They are not interested in technologies like ownCloud that are in no way related to cloud but people often confuse with cloud?


  • @RojoLoco said:

    WAN links will always be the limiting factor here. Your files can only move as fast as the slowest ISP link. If one of the locations has significantly faster pipes, that's where your files should live.

    And latency plays a huge role. Even with massive WAN pipes, SMB and NFS are chatty and not meant to run over the WAN, SMB especially. Riverbeds, direct fiber and big bandwidth are all that you can do. Eventually distance takes its toll and speeds get bad. There is a reason why even in the "mapped drives was still okay" era, no one did this.



  • Something like ownCloud really seems like the right answer here. Windows shares over a WAN are not going to be fun.


  • Banned

    @scottalanmiller said:

    There is a reason why even in the "mapped drives was still okay" era, no one did this.

    Uh, mapped drives are still okay. This is one of those you're just crazy things.



  • Mapped drives are still "okay" is a subjective standard. Are lots of people still doing it? Of course, tons of stuff exists in situ and can't just be replaced overnight. Has the world of mapped drives changed? Heck yeah. Mapped drives have gone from "standard and no one questions it" to "the biggest risk in the organization." The game has changed, completely, in the last year. We can't just ignore it and wish it didn't happen. It did. This is where we are now.



  • Agreed, the biggest push away from mapped drives is Cryptolocker.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Agreed, the biggest push away from mapped drives is Cryptolocker.

    Yes. Cryptolocker has exposed just what a big security problem traditional file shares represent. Not that there are not ways to secure them, but currently there are not ways to secure them well and they lack so many features of other methodologies too. Mapped drives were in no danger of going anywhere from Sharepoint or Dropbox, but Cryptolocker has nearly everyone moving or reconsidering how they approach storage, especially storage for end users.



  • Sadly, it takes things like Cryptolocker to get the public to to newer better understandings sometimes.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Sadly, it takes things like Cryptolocker to get the public to to newer better understandings sometimes.

    This is a case where traditional shares were still pretty nice until this exposure was... exposed. Sure they had their downsides but decades of research and development had led to great speed and stability and end users have used them for so long that they "understand" them pretty much even when they are far more complex than necessary, they are well known.



  • Yeah, even as complex as they are, everything else in my thinking is considerable much harder to use. Things like SharePoint are definitely use when using with online versions of the Office apps, but local version, adds a challenge, maybe not a lot of one, but one non the less.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Yeah, even as complex as they are, everything else in my thinking is considerable much harder to use. Things like SharePoint are definitely use when using with online versions of the Office apps, but local version, adds a challenge, maybe not a lot of one, but one non the less.

    I agree with you but only insofar as we are talking about users for whom the process and tradition of using them is already well established. For users who are new to computers, users who have already made the transitions or users coming from a mobile background (iOS, Android or ChromeOS) I think that it is the opposite. File servers are actually rather complex when you remove the "but we are already used to it" factor.

    I think that it is a lot like Windows and Linux. Find someone who has never used a computer and let them try both and every time I've attempted this the answer has been that Linux was easier and more obvious. But it is nearly impossible to find someone who hasn't already been trained on Windows. Same thing here. The idea that you have to shift through a pile of files and that files might be hidden nearly anywhere within folders and folders within folders and you have a rather complicated solution requiring knowledge of filesystems and of the storage decisions being made. Pretty much all major alternatives from "cloud drives" like ownCloud to database style systems like Sharepoint make this far more natural, powerful and intuitive for end users. It's just very hard to find end users not already extremely versed in the old way.


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