Fortis Solutions Group contacted CTERA in search of a solution for latency and file storage performance issues in its legacy architecture.

Background

Fortis Solutions Group is a leading converter of pressure sensitive labels including multi-ply coupons and booklets, flexible packaging printing, shrink sleeves, folding cartons, and label applicators. With sustainability at the top of the priority list for most companies, Fortis has made sustainable packaging one of its main corporate goals. 

The Challenge – Cost effectively managing latency and performance challenges for satellite offices

Fortis’s pre-press operations begin with the creation of artwork; these are typically heavy media files (Adobe Illustrator, PDF, raster images) and can be as big as 300 MB. They are stored at the company’s Virginia Beach, Virginia datacenter.

Historically, this artwork has been stored on Fortis’s traditional legacy client-server architecture. Its employees, located in various locations across the country, have saved their files to the main server in the Virginia datacenter. Prior to onboarding CTERA, Fortis managed latency and file storage performance and access issues as much as they could.  Managing the issues meant sluggish opening, saving and transferring of files between regional plants and the datacenter. In one plant, it could take Mac users up to one hour to save a file utilizing the WAN.

With these kind of performance issues, it’s not uncommon to see homegrown solutions bubble up in local offices. Fortis employees often saved their work locally, and at the end of the workday, uploaded massive media files to the datacenter, which took a prohibitive amount of time and consumed resources.

The Solution – Easily Integrated, CTERA Solves Issues Surrounding File Size and Latency

When Fortis contacted CTERA, its top priority was to remediate these performance problems while modernizing the company’s overall processes. Fortis wanted to replace its legacy client-server architecture with a hybrid solution including a local filer at the edge that leveraged cloud object storage as a scalable and cost-effective backend. Fortis took a look at the competition and ultimately selected the CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform for a number of reasons. The first was because of its technical advantages, including ease of integration with the company’s existing HPE environment. Fortis was sold as CTERA provided the ability to be delivered as a managed service.

CTERA was onboarded with two virtual edge filers – one at the plant with the most severe latency issues and one at the Virginia datacenter with each of these filers is installed in an existing HPE SimpliVity environment.

The CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform was able to reduce Fortis’ file save times from upwards of an hour to just seconds. CTERA’s local file sharing combined with cloud hyperscale storage, has made it easy for Fortis to modernize every aspect of their distributed file services delivery – including remote offices – without compromising performance or security. By helping Fortis to become more efficient, CTERA also supports the company’s mission to contribute to a more sustainable world. 

Once all of the files were migrated from the datacenter to CTERA Cloud, the system went live earlier this year. CTERA’s Enterprise File Services Platform provide affordable, highly scalable object storage for unstructured data, and manages file services (caching, syncing, etc.) at the same time. All unstructured data (e.g., graphic files) created at the plant is stored exclusively in the CTERA Cloud.

Fortis employees that interact with the CTERA platform see it as a network file server that allows them to work locally on cached files with the delays and latency issues becoming a thing of the past. CTERA also includes advanced MacOS and Adobe support for Fortis’ heavy graphic content. The data is now synced and stored via the cloud to the second edge filer in Virginia Beach. There has been a radical improvement in performance since the CTERA deployment. File transfers and save operations are in sync with Fortis’s other plants.

The switch to CTERA has not only allowed Fortis employees to be more productive, it has also provided relief to the IT team. Improved network performance means work is completed more easily, while a modern cloud infrastructure has created a new level data management. Storage capacity is no longer a problem, as CTERA Cloud offers elastic scalability for unlimited capacity without the addition of more hardware or disks.

Bottom Line: Improved Network Performance, Local File Access, Capacity without restrictions

The CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform was able to reduce Fortis’ file save times from upwards of an hour to just seconds. CTERA’s local file sharing combined with cloud hyperscale storage, has made it easy for Fortis to modernize every aspect of their distributed file services delivery – including remote offices – without compromising performance or security. By helping Fortis to become more efficient, CTERA also supports the company’s mission to contribute to a more sustainable world. 

Fortis’s blue-chip customer base ranges across the food and beverage, health and beauty, retail, agricultural chemical, and nutraceutical end markets. Fortis employs over 900 people, operates 15 manufacturing facilities and sales offices, has distribution capabilities across the country and is represented by an experienced sales team that services customers around the world. Its latency and file storage issues needed solving. By replacing its legacy file server infrastructure at some locations with CTERA’s hybrid cloud solution, Fortis has found an affordable, flexible and easy to use solution for accelerating its prepress workflows and support massive data size and proliferation.

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