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How to use a Global File System to transform cloud storage into a real-time collaboration platform

Randy Chou | June 24, 2014
The current perception of cloud storage begins and ends as a cheap repository for bits, but cloud storage is much more than that.

File access permissions and file locking must be shared among all the controllers that take part in the Global File System. As long as file-locking and file permissions are shared in real time then collaboration is possible between multiple users. A Global File System combined with real-time Global File Locking provides a true enterprise solution for shared cloud storage. With real-time Global File Locking, applications can utilize cloud storage because the file locks will be honored and key application data will be protected.

Global File Systems that don't offer real-time file locking technology are forced to provide creative alternative file locking solutions. However, none of these alternate solutions have proven adequate for enterprise global file sharing and collaboration.

One approach replicates file locks asynchronously between controllers or through the cloud. Asynchronous replication causes massive latency for users who want to edit the same project files from multiple sites as they cannot access the file until the file lock replication is complete. Other file locking approaches offer only local locking within each controller. When multiple users attempt to edit the same file from separate sites, each user gets a separate copy of the file to edit. Organizations then must dedicate an employee to the task of merging the files back together again manually. Neither of these alternative solutions is acceptable for enterprise storage.

The emergence of Global File Systems, using cloud as a storage fabric, has necessitated the implementation of file locking over the WAN just as NAS required file locking over the LAN. File locking technology then enables a consistent, enterprise-class global file system. With global file locking technology, cloud storage is transformed into a powerful tool for effective collaboration between users located in sites around the country and also around the world. As business becomes more and more distributed across different locations, global file locking is the key to making users feel like they are in the same office even if they are located in different parts of the world.

 

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