Solutions such as Microsoft OneDrive for Business and SharePoint have changed the way users access files, but most organisations still have a requirement for traditional Windows SMB file shares. For anything but the simplest of file collaboration solutions locking is required to avoid conflicts and multiple versions – it’s very easy to end up in a complete mess if you cannot guarantee that only one person can update a file at a time.
Unlike OneDrive, which provides global access to files, the SMB file share was designed for local LAN environments. NetApp Global File Cache (GFC) solves this problem by enabling organisations to centralise their file stores in the cloud and provide high performance global file sharing and collaboration with real-time distributed file locking.
Key features include:
- Central cloud file storage – NetApp Cloud Volumes Service or Cloud Volumes ONTAP
- Core instance – deployed in the cloud to access the file storage
- Edge instance – streams data directly from the Core instance which negates the need for local backups
- Virtual File Share – transparently presents centralised file storage to users at the local site
- Intelligent File Cache – keeps active datasets close to users and purges inactive data when it’s no longer needed
- Global File Locking – ensures that only one user at a time can make changes to the authoritative file copy in the cloud
- Optimised performance – streams compressed changes to/from the cloud to overcome latency and bandwidth issues
- DFS Namespace support – transparently access data through the nearest cache and allow for fail-over to the central target
- ONTAP advanced data services – snapshots for backup/recovery, replication for DR and archiving for cost savings
The net result is that unmanageable numbers of file versions, performance bottlenecks and corrupt files become a thing of the past.
If you utilise a Cloud Volumes Service then GFC is free, Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA customers will be eligible for 10 free site licenses and there is an annual subscription for any additional sites. It’s important to note that on-premises storage is not supported, but some customers may prefer to utilise their existing NetApp FAS platforms – hopefully this will be available in a future release.
To learn more you can download the solution brief here.