It Was Faster To Send A DVD To China Than Transmit A File
Milwaukee Tool has been manufacturing heavy-duty industrial power tools since before the Great Depression, so they know a few things about change and innovation. When their existing storage infrastructure couldn’t meet the collaboration needs of the company’s 1,000-plus employees across 18 locations in the United States and China, it was time to look for a new solution.
At best, challenging file sizes and high latency between their China and Wisconsin offices meant that files were taking 40 minutes or more to open. Transmitting files between locations was so slow that it was faster to load them on a DVD and send it by express mail from the USA to China and back again. When users tried to work on the same file, they frequently generated duplicate files that needed to be merged, or inadvertantly overwrote changes. As a result, it was impossible for teams to collaborate effectively and resolving file version conflicts was costing time and money.
Key to the requirements was the ability to let users across the globe collaborate on large, complex CAD manufacturing projects using applications like Dassault SolidWorks and Siemens NX (Unigraphics). As well, it needed to facilitate sharing large video files – up to 4,000 frames per second – across sites to test and develop new products. File integrity needed to be guaranteed when users were working on the same files and projects, regardless of location. And it needed to be functional regardless of latency.
When Milwaukee Tool first started to look at how to address their performance and data integrity issues, turning to cloud storage wasn’t on their radar. While the potential savings were attractive, the company is so active in product development protected by patent that most of the solutions they initially evaluated couldn’t meet all of their needs – particularly for data integrity and security – and putting their intellectual property at risk wasn’t an option.
It was the ability of Panzura Freedom Collaboration to enforce a complete lock on files globally, as well as apply military-grade security both in storage and in transit that allowed them to move to Amazon’s Cloud Storage and eliminate the file conflict and collaboration issues that were a drain on productivity.
Files Now Open Instantaneously
Thanks to Panzura’s intelligent caching, files that used to take more than 40 minutes to open and 6 to 7 hours to copy between locations now open and transmit in seconds. Panzura stores files at the local filer and syncs just the altered portions to the master file stored in the cloud – and across to every location – every 60 seconds, which means the transmitted file portions are a fraction of the size of the total file. As a result, the high latency in some locations no longer causes delays.
Significant Storage Savings
Moving CAD project and other file data from NetApp to Panzura has allowed Milwaukee Tool to reduce their effective storage cost from $1.15 per GB down to less than 4 cents per GB for all tiers of file storage, resulting in a total annual saving of over $40,000 per shelf. It’s also allowed them to free up space on their NetApp storage for other applications and data.
And Happier Employees
A welcome and vital benefit of implementing Panzura Freedom is a boost to team morale. Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure Alan Musser noted that employees used to give up or feel hopeless when they needed to open or share large files. With that frustration removed, technology no longer stands in the way of people throughout the company doing their best work.
SolidWorks and Siemens NX
Amazon Web Services
Milwaukee Tool needed to replace legacy NAS infrastructure with a solution that would allow realtime collaboration between teams in 18 locations across the USA and China, despite high latency at some locations. All while protecting their valuable IP.
Panzura Freedom Collaboration not only delivered the realtime file locking and immediate data consistency they needed, but it applied a level of security that made it possible to move to cloud storage; something they hadn’t previously thought possible. The resulting cost savings in storage have been significant.