IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why
Buyer's Guide
Nasuni vs. Oracle ZFS
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Nasuni vs. Oracle ZFS and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
621,703 professionals have used our research since 2012.

Read reviews of Panzura alternatives and competitors

Managing Director of IT at a construction company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Eliminates a lot of work that was previously done when managing backing up and restoring data files
Pros and Cons
  • "Nasuni offers us a single platform with a 360-degree view of our file data, which is definitely important to us. It simplifies IT operations tremendously. Because it is taking continuous snapshots, it eliminates a lot of work that was done previously when trying to manage backing up and restoring data files."
  • "I would like to see Nasuni provide the ability to mirror a Nasuni appliance from one site to another. They could maybe have a standby appliance that is mirrored in a different location for disaster recovery purposes. We can recover if data and a Filer are lost because of a possible ransomware event, but even that takes time to recover. If we had the ability to have a mirrored appliance, we could flip over to that mirrored device and resume instantly rather than repopulate the local appliance with data from the snapshot history in the cloud. This is another feature that we would really like to see, if possible."

What is our primary use case?

The use case specifically is to allow our engineering staff in different offices to be able to work collaboratively on the same projects at the same time. Also, another important feature for us is the ability to recover or restore data from any point in time in its history.

We have Nasuni Filers deployed at each of our offices in the US and another location in India. Nasuni is used by our engineering staff and where production engineering data is stored.

The cloud is used for synchronization from site to site as well as for backup and storing all our snapshot historical data.

We use different cloud providers for different things. Currently, hard Nasuni data is in AWS.

How has it helped my organization?

We use it for VDI. VDI is the direction that we are going throughout the company for consistency and user experience for DR and DC capabilities. Having the Nasuni Filers be a central element supporting the VDI solution has enabled us to have all our engineers work collaboratively in a very tightly integrated total solution.

It is very rare that we need to make significant changes to the Nasuni infrastructure to support organizational changes. On a day-to-day basis, there are new projects added across various design teams in the company. Those can be set up in seconds in Nasuni. It is just very easy to work with it. In essence, setting up the basic file structures just looks like another volume that has been shared on the network. Through the console, we can configure Global File Lock permissions for how those files can be accessed from site to site.

What is most valuable?

One of its most valuable features would be the Global File Lock capability, which is what enables our engineers to be able to work on projects collaboratively from site to site.

Nasuni offers us a single platform with a 360-degree view of our file data, which is definitely important to us. It simplifies IT operations tremendously. Because it is taking continuous snapshots, it eliminates a lot of work that was previously done when trying to manage backing up and restoring data files.

It is far less labor intensive than our previous processes. There is a console interface that is used for managing all the data repositories, what is in the cache of each appliance, the Global File Lock parameters and settings, the ability to recover files, etc. The single pane of glass interface manages all those capabilities. Things can be done in minutes through the Nasuni Management Console, which previously would have been a more labor-intensive effort with more manual processes.

Nasuni enables us to provide file storage capacity anywhere it is needed, on-demand, and without limits. We have it deployed on Nasuni appliances at our offices, but we also have the ability to create virtual Nasuni Filers that potentially could be deployed anywhere in our infrastructure.

Nasuni provides Continuous File Versioning down to the granularity of the snapshots, which occur about every 15 minutes. If there was a ransomware or other disaster type of event, only the data in the cache on the local appliance would be affected. The entire snapshot history of every file is backed up in the cloud. We can, on a file-by-file, directory-by-directory, or volume basis, recover any or all files from that snapshot history back into the local appliance. The only impact would be the time to copy the data back from the cloud snapshot back into the local appliance.

Because these snapshots occur so frequently, we can recover data to a point very shortly before the time a person wants to recover that data, e.g., within 15 minutes of when whatever happened. If somebody deletes a file or accidentally moves/loses it, then we are able to recover it within 15 minutes of that point in time. Very little data, if any, is lost with this type of operation. This has greatly relieved any concerns about IT backups and restores to the point where it is a very minimal concern. 

It frees up IT staff to work on other initiatives, because these are automated processes that occur in the background and require minimal attention, if any at all, from IT staff.

What needs improvement?

One area where Nasuni has made huge strides over the last year and a half is the time required to synchronize data from site to site. This has gone down quite a lot, but we always would like it to occur faster. 

I would like to see Nasuni provide the ability to mirror a Nasuni appliance from one site to another. They could maybe have a standby appliance that is mirrored in a different location for disaster recovery purposes. We can recover if data and a Filer are lost because of a possible ransomware event, but even that takes time to recover. If we had the ability to have a mirrored appliance, we could flip over to that mirrored device and resume instantly rather than repopulate the local appliance with data from the snapshot history in the cloud. This is another feature that we would really like to see, if possible.

I would like the ability to roll back to a prior version of the firmware, e.g., if you had a problem when you were upgrading to a newer version. They do not have this capability. This is less of a concern than it used to be. It is a much more mature product, but this would always be a very nice feature to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it longer than I have been in the IT management role here. I can estimate it at eight or nine years in total.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the last several years, it has been very stable. There have been no issues.

Deployment and maintenance need a very tiny fraction of an FTE. With everything that we are doing with the appliance, it is probably a couple of hours a week.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is seemingly limitless in terms of the number of places where appliances could be deployed as well as the amount of data that can be handled. The only limitation is the amount of cache memory that is on the local appliance. So, if you needed to keep a very large amount of current data in the local cache memory, you might need to deploy multiple appliances at a site. However, it basically uses a first-in, first-out methodology for what data is kept in the cache. Any data that has been accessed or modified recently is in the cache. If it is not in the cache, it will pull it into the appliance from the snapshot history and replace the data that was accessed the longest time ago which is remaining in the local cache. However, any data can be brought into the local cache to the appliance. Therefore, we have been able to completely work within the bounds of an appliance at a given site.

All of our engineering staff are using it: designers, engineers, project managers, building information modeling (BIM) staff, and technicians. That is around 240 people in our firm.

It is being about as extensive used as it can get. It is used across all our engineering staff, covering all active project-related files. That is the extent to which we tend to deploy it. There are other file systems being used for other purposes, but we don't have the same kind of needs that would warrant using a Nasuni appliance for something like that, like we do for this. So, the Nasuni infrastructure is used really for the most business-critical applications.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, the company used traditional file storage systems and big tape backup systems.

Nasuni replaced multiple older file systems and manual tape backup solutions. This has been absolutely business-critical because of the type of data that is stored on there, e.g., all our engineering client project information is stored there. Also, it is extremely resilient. It allows us to recover files if there was ever either accidental or malicious loss of data. For loss of data of any type, we have the ability to recover that data from the entire snapshot history on any file. So, Nasuni is important for day-to-day activities as well as providing disaster recovery capability on any data stored on it.

Before having the solution, it just would not have been possible to have staff in multiple offices be able to work collaboratively in some of these design applications at the same time. So, Nasuni was critical to enabling that capability, which increased productivity, allowing us to share resources more effectively across offices. Also, prior to having the Nasuni solution, if engineers wished to restore data to a prior point in time, we were limited by the capabilities of our previous tape backup solutions. This means they were not as granular as Nasuni. Our granularity is down to about 15-minute increments in time, where it might have been daily with the old tape backup solution. Nasuni is quicker when recovering data from any point in time than was ever possible with prior tape backup solutions.

Nasuni has replaced other on-premise infrastructure. It has replaced traditional file storage and tape backup solutions with a simple 2U appliance that has storage integrated into it and is connected back to the cloud for all the snapshot data.

How was the initial setup?

We did have assistance from Nasuni to get the devices configured initially. It wasn't an enormously complex process. 

What about the implementation team?

We did have Nasuni Professional Services help with the initial setup.

What was our ROI?

Nasuni certainly has reduced labor costs associated with managing all the data and how we manage client project data. It has greatly reduced the labor efforts and costs associated with that. It has also turned out to be a very reliable solution. As site-to-site sync performances have improved, that has enhanced the productivity for all our engineers as well.

Before Nasuni, the time investment was critical and a daily activity. It took a fair bit of time to prepare, load tapes, catalogue items, and run backups every day. Now, with Nasuni, the only time spent is when we have to customize the Global File Lock permissions for certain folders (for the engineers) so the Global File Lock mechanisms work correctly. This is a one-time activity that occurs when a project is set up and completed in minutes.

Nasuni has decreased capital costs because you don’t need to buy as much excess capacity. The CapEx cost is definitely lower with Nasuni. It is only when we either need to upgrade an appliance in an office or if we need to purchase appliances for new offices that there are CapEx costs. The rest of it is an OpEx cost.

It has reduced capital costs by over 80%.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are annual costs that we pay for maintaining all of the snapshot history in the cloud. That is the primary cost that we pay. We occasionally buy newer Nasuni appliances or deploy them to new offices when the need occurs. That capital equipment expenses is less than the cost of buying new file storage systems. For the most part, you are trading a CapEx cost of storage equipment for an OpEx cost for management of all the snapshot data in the cloud. There are CapEx and OpEx elements to both solutions: 

  • With the old school solution, you have an OpEx expense for tapes, which is relatively small. With Nasuni, you have an OpEX cost for the data in the cloud, which is larger. 
  • With the old school solution, you have CapEx costs for storage equipment, which are large. With Nasuni, you have a CapEx expense when you need to purchase new appliances for offices, which is relatively small. 

It is kind of a trade off with similar costs either way.

The snapshot history backed up in the cloud is an annual OpEX expense. Occasionally we have to bump it up because the amount of storage required for all our snapshot history increases over time, but the infrastructure purchasing and support requirements are definitely simpler.

We do hardware refreshes on Nasuni appliances. So, that is not a buy it once and you're done forever kind of thing. The majority of the cost with the Nasuni is an OpEx cost for storage of all the snapshot history.

I think the pricing on the appliances is completely reasonable and fair. I have had no issues with it. 

Keep in mind that Nasuni allows their clients to choose what cloud platform all the snapchat history is saved on. Depending on the cloud platforms that your company uses, or if there are standards on such things, there may be some benefits to looking at alternative cloud providers for storing the snapshot history, because there may be some savings to be had there. At the same time, because they have that flexibility and support several different cloud platform vendors, if your company is standardized on a particular cloud vendor, then odds are Nasuni is already supported in it.

The costs are the standard licensing fees and subscription for the total size of the data repository (for the snapshot history in the cloud).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Panzura too.

What other advice do I have?

The cloud piece is almost transparent to the user. Because you are interacting through the Nasuni Management Console, you are not really working directly with that cloud provider solution to access files. You could, if you wish, but you can do everything that you need to do directly through the Nasuni Management Console. The cloud happens to be the place where the data is stored and you don't necessarily need to interact with it directly.

Keep in mind the amount of data that you need to keep in your cache. So, sizing your appliance for the local cache storage needs to meet your day-to-day needs, but your actual needs are probably less than what you think they might be. If you had the ability to store 30-days worth of data in the local cache appliance, you are probably in pretty good shape. I definitely would try to understand exactly what the needs of your business are. If you have site-to-site replication needs, carefully consider the capabilities of any particular solution to make sure that the vendors that you are considering can deliver on that as well as how easy it is to work with those vendors for restoring data, if you ever needed to do that.

We haven't tried going back to a more traditional solution. This solution has done a fantastic job of meeting all our needs. Overall, we are just very happy with Nasuni.

I would rate Nasuni as nine out of 10, but I am a tough grader. It is hard to get a 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Buyer's Guide
Nasuni vs. Oracle ZFS
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Nasuni vs. Oracle ZFS and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
621,703 professionals have used our research since 2012.