Why AEC Firms Struggle with Nasuni (And What They Can Do About It)

The AEC industry is notoriously reliant on data - data that is housed in documents that support design through initial bid response and project build to post occupancy.  Project teams employ everything from traditional Microsoft word documents and excel spreadsheets to extremely large industry specific files such as BIM, CAD, RVT, DWG, as well as point cloud data generated by 3D laser scanners and LiDAR - just to name a few. 

So where should a firm turn when it comes to storing and sharing their most critical intellectual property?  

For many, the default option is Nasuni, a traditional on-premises file server solution often found deployed across large enterprises. After all, Nasuni has been around for a long time, so it’s got to be a good solution, right? Yes and no. (More on this shortly).

Based on conversations with dozens of AEC firms who have made the switch away from Nasuni as their file solution, this blog post explains why Nasuni is not viable as modern, cloud-first solution for design and construction firms (and why Egnyte is).

Here are some of the most common complaints we’ve heard from AEC companies who have tried using Nasuni as their core file system before coming to Egnyte looking for a better solution.

Not Built for the Cloud

While Nasuni markets a “hybrid solution” its core capability is based on a traditional on-premise model. This means, it struggles to deliver on the promise of cloud-first solutions like native integrations to commonly used SaaS applications, external user file access, remote collaboration and cost effectiveness.

Let’s explore each of these further.

Native Integrations 

While Nasuni has been optimized to support some industry software like Revit, Microstation, and AutoCAD Civil 3D, it does not natively integrate with the likes of Procore and Bluebeam, or popular collaboration tool sets like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office. For firms looking for data governance and security capabilities, like sensitive data discovery, threat management and compliance fulfillment, Nasuni requires 3rd party solutions to be deployed alongside their platform. 

Remote File Access and Collaboration

Nasuni relies on the performance and speed of internet connections, so users may experience latency or bandwidth limitations that can affect the performance of file operations. Sync delays are common when working with large files, especially if files need to sync throughout a company’s global footprint. As firms across multiple locations, inter-site sync times increase, creating user difficulties in accessing data and collaborating across sites.

In order to access and share files externally, Nasuni requires organizations to purchase an Access Anywhere add-on. While this provides VPN-less desktop access and file preview, it does not include more advanced capabilities like file requests/upload links, desktop co-authoring, advanced sharing link controls and shared link management.

Cost Effectiveness

Nasuni is expensive, especially for organizations with large amounts of data, as the cost of cloud storage can add up quickly. Their custom pricing model, based on capacity and upgrades, reflects the core value of their product - data storage and replication.  Nasuni requires organizations to deploy Edge Appliances at each site in order to access data, since the core UniFS data repository cannot be accessed directly. This generates additional admin overhead costs as the Edge Appliance can be a traditional on-prem server or a virtual one in the cloud, requiring additional knowledge from admins to properly maintain and support it. In general, Nasuni’s solution requires admins to be skilled cloud professionals to administer them correctly, thereby increasing operational costs.

Integrating with existing systems such as active directory and storage backups also requires a significant amount of effort and time. A simple example is the addition of a filer. Adding a filer is not a difficult task per se. However deciding where to add them, how many to add, and what size to add takes a significant amount of IT time and energy- adding incremental costs.

In summary, while Nasuni positions itself as a hybrid solution, it lacks some of the fundamental capabilities found in cloud-first solutions, like external collaboration via web and mobile devices and native integrations with common industry and business applications. It’s also challenge by file storage limitations (~25,000) and common sync issues when scaling across large global companies.

In case you didn’t know, Egnyte’s unified platform marries everything that is good about on-premises file systems with all the advantages of the cloud. Don’t take our word for it. Contact us for a complimentary “Proof of Concept” trial and see for yourself.

To learn more Egnyte's solutions for AEC, visit us at www.egnyte.com/solutions/construction-engineering

Get started with Egnyte today

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Venkat Sugavanam

Venkat is Egnyte's Director of Product Marketing.

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