Distributed File System Or Centralized File Systems?

Many professionals, especially engineers and architects are working from home offices or collaborating with small teams no longer centralized in a home office location, but rather spread all over the country. How does the engineer in Philadelphia share large CAD files with the General Contractor who is doing the project in Tampa? The old system was to use FTP technology, but there are two key problems with this methodology.

  • The files are large and take a long time to upload and download.
  • The files can have revision issues if two people decide to edit the same file at once.

So, IT professionals have to make decisions. Do they employ a solution like SharePoint for the potential of “File Locking” — technically it is a check in and check out system. Do they invest tens of thousands of dollars at each site for WAN Optimization? Are there other technologies they can use?

The most prevalent solution to these problems is to employ a distributed file system. A distributed file system allows the files to all be “distributed” to each user so that the download time is minimal and changes are merely replicated out to the other users of the files. It works slick when employed properly. There is the speed of the local networks for the opening of the files without the WAN optimization costs and there is the file locking capacity if employed with the right 3rd party software solution.

If your organization has been trying to figure out how to share large files, your group should consider a distributed file system.