Time is money, and Hanson's IT team was spending hundreds of hours meshing CAD file changes together.

With offices spanning the USA, and local file storage at each location, engineers couldn't work on files across sites. File performance was just too slow. As a result, they made copies – leaving the IT team the job of managing and syncing files to capture all the right detail in a final version.


Panzura CloudFS allows Hanson to manage data in a completely different way.  to collaborate in real time across offices, working from an authoritative cloud-stored data set.

That's not all. Productivity went up, time to restore files went down by 90%, and the company saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in storage and data management-related expenses.




Panzura cloud partner - Microsoft Azure

Distributed Global Workforce, Mission Critical Data Collaboration

With over 500 employees in offices spanning the USA, engineering firm Hanson Professional Services was struggling to get project teams working effectively. It was all the fault of their data.

Project teams were split across locations, which meant project data had to be available across multiple offices.

Trying to keep these data sets consistent between offices was virtually impossible.

IT Manager Bob Stidham knew employees in the different offices working on the same project found themselves with project files containing dissimilar information.

To solve this frustrating problem, they were forced to dedicate two full-time employees to handle and sync files, manually performing this task by either copying the files over to another office’s server or mapping drives between the two.

This wasn't just slow and inefficient. All too often, somebody’s work would be lost. On one project alone, Hanson spent hundreds of hours keeping files synchronized between offices to ensure all changes were properly coordinated.

“Before Panzura, we were jumping through hoops trying to keep these islands of data backed up in a reliable fashion, making sure the data in each file was consistent and maximizing collaboration between our offices. Since Panzura, we hear people say, ‘I just made changes; go look.”

— Bob Stidham, IT Manager, Hanson Professional Services, Inc.

From File Collaboration to Storage

Stidham realized Hanson needed a solution for its collaboration issues – but it couldn't stop there.

A complete solution needed to tackle:

  • File collaboration – The solution needed to optimize Hanson’s “skill set virtualization” by enabling real-time collaboration between team members located in different offices around the country.
  • Storage centralization – With a different set of files in each office, the solution had to centralize and reconcile the information to ensure project team members were all working from the same data rather than individual islands of data.
  • Scalability and expandability – Hanson was on the verge of needing to add more capacity to its backup license at a cost of roughly $10,000. The company already was paying $33,000 per year in maintenance costs for backup software, and that would go up if the additional storage was added.
  • Efficient backup and easy data recovery – After years of having IT personnel in each office back up data manually once per day and having to spend between $1,600 and $1,800 in backup tapes per month, the company needed a solution that backed up automatically and often throughout the day.It needed a solution that ensured the stored data was current, that the backup actually got done and that provided the ability to retrieve recent versions of files from the backup for comparative purposes or in the event of a file loss.

Enter Panzura: The Everything Solution.

CloudFS checked all the boxes. This global file system is designed to allow enterprises to use cloud storage as if it's a globally available data center, with local-feeling performance.

With Panzura, every one of Hanson's staff can work on project files stored in the cloud just as if they were all sitting together in the same office.

No more merging, copying or syncing – that local-feeling performance includes automatic file locking, so only one person can edit a file at the same time.

Crucially, CloudFS lets engineers work collaboratively on enormous and complex Revit projects and other CAD project.  Automatic real time byte-range locking allows multiple people to have the same file open for editing, with the portion they're working on locked to prevent accidental overwriting.

It was a game changer.

Projects were delivered faster. Thousands of IT hours were saved. Frustrations disappeared as people could spend their time doing their best work, instead of struggling with slow files and re-doing lost file changes.

The benefits didn't stop there.

In addition to the improved collaborative capabilities, Panzura’s cloud solution provided a number of other benefits. Having its stored backup in the cloud meant Hanson would only need to add capacity as needed rather than having to purchase it ahead of the company’s need. It also provided an automatic backup and recovery solution that not only was compatible with its highly technical and data-intensive AEC applications but also ensured reliable data recovery and version controls that prevent hours of specialized and technical modifications from being overwritten.

These ancillary benefits to collaboration have yielded impressive results as well:

  • Time to restore files reduced 90 percent
  • Eliminated need to rebuild file servers at a cost of $40,000 per site
  • Files backed up automatically in real time throughout the day as opposed to once per day
  • Eliminated need for tape backup that saved $33,000 per year plus $2,000 per month in tape media
  • 50 percent reduction in personnel needed to manage the backup and file sharing process
  • Savings of 56 percent in media needed for backup from $1,800 per month for backup tapes to $800 per month for cloud storage

“With Panzura’s data storage in the cloud, I don’t have to manage it, or pay for it, except for what I’m using. The stuff that really ‘wows’ me though is not having to think about backups, no longer having islands of storage anymore and the easy cross-site collaboration because now I have one cloud for storage and collaboration...I’ve even had to tell the guys who used to handle backups that they had better find something else to keep them busy.”

— Robert Stidham, IT Manager, Hanson Professional Services, Inc.