Metadata – data about data – is used to identify file location, file size, creation date, time and user, among other details. This metadata is what a file system uses to find and organize data and it’s the foundation for performance in the Panzura CloudFS Global Cloud File System.
The Problem With Legacy File Systems
Within an office or data center, a traditional NAS typically handles file metadata and keeps it consistent across a cluster of controllers. But what happens if a file needs to be shared with users in another office? With a legacy file system, a file is usually copied. But now there are are two copies of the file, each with their own distinct metadata. Once that occurs you have to worry about different versions and have to reconcile differences manually to avoid losing data, as well as the extra file copy taking up storage space.
How Panzura CloudFS Uses Global Metadata
Panzura CloudFS™ consolidates enterprise data in the cloud. Every Panzura Freedom filer in the file system has the metadata for the entire file system, locally. Since every filer has all of the metadata, every location can read any data from any location. That means there is no need to duplicate or mirror files between sites – files are stored as a single source of truth in the cloud, and cached locally for high performance.
In an enterprise-grade distributed cloud file system, Global Metadata enables two key aspects to performance — local access speed and global synchronization speed.
Fast Local Access
Panzura uses flash storage for fast metadata access and caching. Flash enables the system to handle random IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) workloads extremely quickly, and to respond efficiently to sequential read requests when users try to open files. High IOPS and low latency are essential to file system performance.
Flash storage is about 100 times faster than legacy disk drives and provides up to 400 times more IOPS. So even on a traditional array, it makes sense to put metadata on flash where user requests will be served quickly. Every major enterprise storage solution uses flash for metadata and caching.
Fast Global Synchronization
If a user changes a file in one office, file metadata needs to update immediately in every other location, or your productivity can be negatively impacted. Panzura’s patented technology keeps metadata synchronized in real time, in every filer, in every location so your entire team has an up-to-the-moment view of every file, whether they’re working from your head office, or from their home.
To learn more about metadata, download the white paper.