“This gave us the flexibility and customization we wanted in a deployment, allowing for fast and secure access to files from anywhere.”Joe Tan – Director of IT
Devcon: A Heritage of Building Exceptional Facilities for Extraordinary Customers
Founded in 1976, Devcon Construction, Inc. has been the largest general contractor in Silicon Valley over the last 20 years, garnering dozens of industry awards for excellence and its community involvement. The company is renowned for its large-scale construction projects, including Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA., which bills itself as the most technologically and eco-friendly sports complex in the world and is home to the five-time Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers and the host of Super Bowl 50. In addition to famous stadiums, Devcon has built many commercial and residential facilities that include corporate campuses, high-rise apartments, data centers, and hotels.
Building projects of this size and scope requires tight coordination and alignment between Devcon employees and an ecosystem of subcontract firms across numerous job sites. It also requires secure access to project files of various types to ensure that the right teams have access to the right information when and where they need it, in both on and offline environments.
Challenge: Maintaining Secure Access to Files while Improving Productivity and Containing Costs
A common challenge that Devcon faces in any construction project is enabling simple and secure access to large project plans and computer-aided design (CAD) drawings on job sites with unpredictable Internet connectivity, even in the uber-connected Silicon Valley. To address this obstacle, Devcon originally deployed a file server with remote access through file transfer protocol (FTP) connections.
This process always resulted in a flood of calls to the company’s IT helpdesk with configuration questions or operational issues such as navigating through the server. As the number of concurrent projects grew, Devcon’s legacy file system became increasingly difficult for its IT staff to manage. The team quickly realized that they needed an easier and more secure solution to assist project teams in accessing and managing files, such as budget documents, project plans, and contracts, while on the job site.
Frustrations with the legacy FTP file system also applied to Devcon’s subcontractors who struggled with the complicated process and sub-par performance. They would often simply revert to using their own file-sharing systems, resulting in a sprawl of non-IT-approved disparate file systems that required Devcon’s IT team to play the role of “gatekeeper”. This involved time-consuming and error-prone manual tasks such as setting up new projects, resetting access controls, and getting up to speed on using a new consumer file-sharing solution.
The IT team then evaluated cloud-based file sharing systems such as Box, Dropbox, and ShareFile. But the cloud-only solutions fell short of Devcon’s search criteria due to limitations with unpredictable Internet access at job sites, bandwidth costs, and performance and productivity issues of sharing large files remotely.
Finally, deploying high-performance storage systems at each job site was also an option that Devcon considered but ultimately dismissed because of escalating costs and security issues. Devcon employees constantly worried about installing expensive, large-capacity storage infrastructures due to the possibility of theft, damage from dust and debris, and the sheer cost of doing so. While WAN accelerators enhanced remote access somewhat, this approach still lacked the speed, security, and accessibility to meet IT’s service-level agreements and added complexity with extra equipment to install and maintain.
“For the most part, our old FTP server did its job in providing access to our files, but the process of setting up a project folder with the proper structure and permissions created more problems than we felt was acceptable thus making it counterproductive.”Joe Tan - Director of IT, Devcon Construction
Benefits: Common Platform Built For Diverse Needs
What the Devcon team needed as its file-sharing solution was a high-performance, secure, easy-to-deploy and user-friendly system that leveraged both the flexibility of the cloud and the inherent benefits of on-premises storage and file-management products. For Devcon, this hybrid deployment had to:
- Provide secure access to project files of all sizes and types including budget documents, project plans, and contracts
- Enable contractors, subcontractors and foremen access to project files across numerous sites
- Ensure that the right teams have access to the right information when and where they needed it - on or offline, at home or on a job site
- Be easy-to-use for Devcon’s IT and employees, as well as the company’s subcontractors
- Be future-proof to support additional growth or changing project requirements
To address these requirements at various job sites, Devcon deployed NETGEAR ReadyNAS devices equipped with Egnyte’s Storage Sync, a solution that bi-directionally syncs with the cloud. This solution enabled Devcon employees and subcontractors to have local access to project files of all sizes and types. With multiple projects using the Egynyte-enhanced NETGEAR ReadyNAS devices at the construction sites, this eliminated the need for costly WAN accelerators and improved file-access performance, saving the company nearly $30,000 of total cost of ownership within the first six months of deployment.
Additionally, the ability to access files through Egnyte on any mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, has saved Devcon valuable time and resources by eliminating the back-and-forth travel from the office to a construction site to view or download a file. The company also realized additional savings by cutting down on its overall bandwidth usage related to file sharing up to 300%, which, across 10 sites, translated into a cost reduction of $24,000.
Today, all aspects of Devcon’s extensive project processes start with Egnyte, from the moment the company submits a bid, to planning and through completion. To share project plans, budgets, or contracts, Devcon now has a centralized point of control and visibility to sync and share files with customers, contractors and employees through Egnyte’s enterprise-class features, flexibility, security, and ease-of-use. By utilizing Egnyte’s full suite of solutions, Devcon has been able to maintain its stature as one of the largest and most tech-savvy, design-build general contractors in the United States.
“You wouldn’t believe how many documents our project managers and engineers need to access from the field. With Egnyte, our people in the field can now edit a file and sync it, then provide everyone on the team with instant access to the most up-to-date documents and plans.”Joe Tan - Director of IT, Devcon Construction