News / April, 2016

Siemens calls in Syncplicity for mammoth collaboration project

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By: Jane McCallion, CloudPro

Collaboration firm Syncplicity has been chosen by Siemens for one of the largest enterprise file share and sync projects ever undertaken, covering 330,000 employees spread acrooss 150 countries.

The German manufacturer had previously relied on a scattered network of small datacentres and file servers, holding three petabytes of data in total.

However, Siemens found this infrastructure unable to support modern enterprise collaboration, and took the decision to replace it as part of the company's digital transformation.

Working with Syncplicity, Siemens consolidated all of this information into a private cloud  made up of four global datacentres, all running EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage - an object-based, software-defined cloud storage platform.

Siemens has called its new infrastructure SmartStorage.

Jon Huberman, CEO of Syncplicity, told Cloud Pro there were three main reasons Siemens chose his company over rival offerings: the way that it syncs; the fact it is a hybrid offering, so it can run on a company's private cloud; and its ability to scale.

"With Syncplicity, we don't force you to act differently when you want to sync files," said Huberman. "Whereas with something like Dropbox, for example, you have to use a magic folder for files and folders you want to access, with us, you, as the IT director, CISO or user, can nominate folders or files as they sit on the PC or Mac and they always remain synced."

This can be done right down to the desktop level, Huberman explained, so that the contents of the user's entire computer is constantly synced. This means they can log on and access their files from any device and everything will appear in the exact same folder structure as on the original computer.

In the case of Siemens, Syncplicity migrated all the home directories, group file shares and personal information off of all the local file servers and onto the four new centralised datacentres.

As well as creating a more manageable system, this also had the knock-on effect of reducing the price of storage from roughly $1/GB/month to under 10¢/GB/month.

Georg Pilartz, head of IT infrastructure services for Siemens, said: "SmartStorage is one of our largest digitalisation initiatives within Siemens... user experience, security, storage choice flexibility and large scale deployment were critical requirements for this project."

"Syncplicity was the company that best fulfilled these requirements. We are able to give our employees the EFSS solution they need while at the same time realising significant cost savings by modernising the underlying IT infrastructure," he added.

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