Panzura pinpoints files with Google Maps

It’s fair to say that Google Maps is the most popular interface for most people looking for directions, so when Panzura wanted to update its CloudFS console with a user interface that provides location data, it didn’t make sense to begin from scratch.

Last week it announced the availability of its CloudFS UI console, a monitoring, alerting and reporting interface for the Panzura Global File System that layers on Google Maps and provides administrators with a simple visual interface to check status and activity up to 14 days in the past across their entire Panzura deployment.

The company enables organizations to use cloud storage economics and use it as the primary storage, making it the authoritative source for all files. Active data from all office locations, big or small, is cached on Panzura’s locally installed flash-based controllers so it can be quickly accessed by users, who are assured they are working on the most up-to-date version of the file thanks to Panzura’s file locking technology, which stores metadata in the flash storage.

Last year, the company updated its all-flash cloud controller line with six new models that use 1TB SSDs to double the amount of flash capacity so users can cache more hot data locally for fast collaboration. Its Global File System creates a single data repository in the cloud for all remote sites. A Panzura controller is placed at each company location, either in a virtual or physical appliance, and works with public and private cloud providers including Amazon, Google, HP Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Panzura chief strategy officer Rich Weber said this visual approach is critical for managing hybrid storage when the cloud is an organization’s primary storage. Most storage systems, including ones that provide some cloud connectivity, generally only provide an administrator with an interface for each local storage system, not a global view, he said; administrators benefit from both a map-based user interface and the ability to look back in time across the system.

The updated console provides a view through Google Maps of Panzura controllers and connectivity between them, as well as other status items, such as the locally cached data at each location, cloud and network connectivity, and status and information about every filed stored in the Panzura Global File System. The CloudFS Console can provide alerts on any potential problems across the entire Panzura infrastructure, network and cloud, as well as the ability to view activity, status and alerts going back in time up to 14 days.

“Before, you could look at controllers in different panes of glass but couldn’t see it one interface,” said Barry Phillips, Panzura’s chief marketing officer. “When you truly turn the cloud into a global file system where every single office has the same file system, you really need something like this because they all work together. Google Maps seemed like a natural way of doing it. It matches the thought processes people have.”

Adding the capability to look back in time two weeks also made sense so that administrators could get a good sense of what might have been the cause of any performance issue.

The company could have gone and created it own geographic interface, but Weber said it made sense to use something people were already very familiar with. The hybrid cloud has meant some paradigm changes for organizations, he said, and Panzura wanted to reduce the education burden. “The feedback from customers was this was the most intuitive way.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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