Why AEC Firms Struggle with Panzura (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 Panzura, a traditional on-premises file server solution often found deployed across large enterprises. After all, Panzura 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 Panzura as their file solution, this blog post explains why these solutions are not viable as a modern, cloud-first file server 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 Panzura as their core file system before coming to Egnyte looking for a better solution.

Limited Cloud Capability

Panzura's original architecture is based on a traditional on-premises file server (storage filer) model which requires every location to have a local filer to achieve low latency and optimized storage.  Each hardware box talks to each other, and one hardware box is designated as the “master. This model performs well for smaller organizations with a few sites, but does not scale well, and is much more expensive to operate. This model quickly becomes outdated as customers have to purchase big, expensive hardware boxes and buy it all upfront out of CAPEX.

Panzura has only recently moved to the cloud with their hybrid offering, CloudFS - in an effort to modernize their legacy storage offering and transform it into a cloud data management platform with features like file locking, ransomware resilience, and file snapshots for data recovery. 

However, much of the legacy, on-premises file server DNA remains, and Panzura struggles with performing as a cloud-first solution, especially for businesses with distributed teams collaborating on large file types and that require fast and reliable access to working documents. 

Lack of Co-Editing and File Sharing Controls 

Panzura CloudFS users cannot co-edit files in Microsoft 365 Online, desktop MS Office apps or Google’s Workplace, limiting their flexibility to collaborate with team members in distributed locations and forcing them to toggle between applications to get work done. In addition, CloudFS relies on 3rd party tools to support advanced sharing controls like file requests and upload, link access notifications, and managing global link policies from a centralized dashboard.

Limited Data Security Management

While CloudFS can monitor and control access to files, it does not offer any advanced threat detection capabilities to proactively identify and mitigate risk of a breach. CloudFS also does not enforce MFA on external users, the lack of which often leads to compromised accounts.  Nor can it manage and protect content stored in external data sources such as SharePoint Online, Box, Dropbox, Azure Storage and Gmail.

For more advanced data security capabilities like sensitive data discovery and classification and ransomware detection, Panzura relies on integrations with multiple 3rd party tools.  Although these add-ons provide value, they often become a burden to manage, and add layers of complexity to the overall solution. 

While CloudFS is a step forward for Panzura as a hybrid solution, it still struggles with functionality that pushes the boundaries of traditional, on-premises solutions. Its collaboration features lack the ability for distributed team co-editing, and the platform does not natively integrate with AEC specific applications such as Procore, Autodesk and Bluebeam. Its dependency on 3rd party tools to deploy advanced capabilities around data discovery, governance, data protection and classification makes the platform complex to manage and scale in the long-term.

In case you didn’t know, Egnyte has all these capabilities mentioned above in a unified platform - marrying everything that is good about on-premises files 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.

Learn more about Egnyte solutions built for the AEC industry at www.egnyte.com/solutions/construction-engineering

Get started with Egnyte today

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Sanjay Kosuri

Sanjay is a lead Product Marketing Manager for Egnyte's file sharing and collaboration portfolio.

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