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Case Study

Global defense company modernizes remote file storage

  • Europe-based organization replaces traditional NAS at worldwide locations with CTERA Global File System
  • Large sites powered by hyperconverged edge filers, delivering unique blend of edge compute and cloud data management
  • Company enjoys 50% cost reduction and IT consolidation
  • CTERA stands up to the rigid data control and security requirements of the defense industry

Company Background

This multinational defense company employs 100,000 people and has annual revenues of €20+ billion. The Europe-based company is listed on the Euronext stock exchange.

The Challenge

Like many distributed organizations with branch offices worldwide, the defense company faced significant challenges with its traditional file storage systems.

It had become increasingly clear that legacy NAS solutions at its global locations were no longer cost-effective in the face of an unrelenting unstructured data deluge. The firm needed to address its rapidly growing data storage needs and be able to increase and decrease capacity at remote sites on demand. Infrastructure consolidation was needed across remote sites, as the amount of IT resources needed to deploy, manage, and maintain all necessary servers, applications, and workloads was burdensome and inefficient.

The firm wanted to standardize on a single solution that could consolidate remote IT operations. Its remote infrastructure included a mix of NAS, Linux, and Windows servers, and each location made its own IT decisions, thereby hindering central IT admins from managing file data generated across those sites daily.

The company also sought to improve user productivity across its global sites and to enable modern collaboration among users in offices and on the road.

For these reasons the firm decided to embark on an edge-to-cloud file services modernization project. However, it knew it could only move forward with a solution that met the rigid data control and security requirements of the defense industry.

The Solution

The defense company selected CTERA’s global file system and industry-first hyperconverged edge filers to fulfill its file storage modernization initiatives.

The CTERA global file system connects all sites, users, and clouds to a single namespace with consistent user access control, sharing policies, and data privacy. CTERA edge filers deployed at remote sites allow local users to access and collaborate on a single golden copy of files. Because the global file system is powered by elastic object storage, admins no longer need to worry about running out of disk space at each location.

Performance issues are mitigated through CTERA’s intelligent caching policies, and admins can pin critical folders to each local edge filer to ensure user productivity even if the network connection is disrupted. Centralized data management across all sites gives IT full on-prem control over where the data is stored and who has access to a given file.

The unique breadth of the CTERA Edge Filer product line also enables new levels of remote IT consolidation at the firm’s global locations. The CTERA Edge X Series, an industry-first hyperconverged edge filer built on HPE SimpliVity combining edge compute with cloud data management, is deployed at the company’s larger remote sites.

The Edge X Series consolidates Tier-1 applications, networking, storage, and compute into a single solution. The system also delivers triple redundancy based on a pair of high availability local nodes, while data is asynchronously replicated to a private cloud. At smaller sites, the firm deploys CTERA Edge H Series edge filers with appropriate local storage capacities.

At the datacenter Scality RING serves as a PB-scale data storage repository, providing infinite capacity at a fraction of the cost of traditional storage. The on-premises object storage deployment combines cloud economics with complete data sovereignty.


The defense firm conducted a thorough POC process that included several vendors, and concluded that CTERA was the only solution that could reliably and securely scale to hundreds of distributed sites and tens of thousands of users.

No other competing solution could deliver the data privacy and security required. CTERA’s platform that is deployable 100% inside the firewall; offers military-grade encryption (and is validated for FIPS 140-2); and delivers comprehensive audit logging capabilities. Scality RING and HPE servers are deployed on-premises as well.

The solution allows the company to reduce TCO by 50 percent compared to its current file server/NAS-based solution. Infrastructure consolidation at hundreds of remote sites will significantly reduce IT efforts and maintenance costs. Efficiencies are also reflected in the centralized management of all file data and working with uniform hardware (HPE) and software (CTERA, Scality) vendors across the organization. Savings related to reduced IT support resources alone are estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

CTERA also allows the firm to seamlessly preserve and migrate existing file system structures and permissions (ACLs) from its legacy NAS to the new solution. This is a key technology enabler for the company, which not only supports tens of thousands of users and hundreds of global sites, but also had developed a highly complex network environment with many departments each having varying requirements and hierarchies.

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