Enabling 24x7x365 Follow-the-Sun Global File Sharing and Collaboration
Talon FAST™ resolves collaboration challenges for 600 architects working on global projects across three continents while reducing storage costs and complexity at the branch.
About Kohn Pedersen & Fox Associates
One of the world’s pre-eminent architecture firms, Kohn, Pedersen & Fox Associates (KPF) provides architectural, interior and urban design, as well as programming and master planning services for major private and public sector clients all over the world.
Renowned for its super tall structures, including the World Financial Centre in Shanghai, Lotte World Tower in Seoul and many other buildings that dominate the skylines of several cities, KPF has six global offices (London, New York, Virginia, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul) and over 600 members of staff working on projects located in more than 35 countries.
The Global Challenge
As a renowned global architecture firm, KPF’s team of architects have to work very closely together and many engineering projects ‘follow the sun’ as associates collaborate in real-time 24/7, starting with Asia, followed by Europe and then the US.
For a business which relies on multi-site collaboration between different branch offices in different time zones, KPF needed a solution that would enable teams to share large Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) projects and files in real-time and without any latency or delays.
“Sometimes up to 100 architects at any one time could be collaborating in real-time on a detailed project, and working with very large sets of drawings and plans.
For us this is a huge challenge because the data could actually be 8,000 miles away, but our team needs to be able to access the file as if it’s sitting on the local area network,” according to KPF’s IT Manager.
“In our experience wide area networks (WAN) have limited bandwidth and very high latency, which can cause huge delays and performance bottlenecks. In this industry, which is deadline-driven and precise, this is a real problem.”
In addition to this, KPF has also deployed a number of other technology solutions – including Riverbed, EMC Avamar for VM backups, and EMC Isilon for managing digital images and computer models – as part of its IT infrastructure, which needed to integrate with whatever collaboration and file sharing solution was chosen.
After a number of attempts to resolve the challenge of creating a truly virtualized branch infrastructure, KPF selected Talon’s flagship file sharing and collaboration platform, Talon FAST™.
The Talon FAST™ software, which is a key part of the FAST™ product suite, provides complete file integrity, coherency and consistency, delivering not only secure data, but also immediate access to documents and files whenever and wherever the data is needed and without any low bandwidth latency issues.
KPF’s IT manager adds: “We’ve been trying to do global collaboration for many years now and have tried multiple different ways of doing it, but we’ve never quite found a solution that could do it all.”
“First, we sat down with Riverbed and while their solution was great at doing certain things, it was never great at addressing the collaboration side and handling Autodesk and Adobe products. We also tried Isilon and EMC, Citrix’s Virtual Desktop, and Autodesk Revit Server. Again, while these are great solutions over LAN speeds, they just couldn’t do the collaboration and file sharing we needed over high latency and low bandwidth connections to Asia.”
After being introduced to Talon, KPF immediately recognized that Talon FAST™ was “a total game changer”. Following an initial proof of concept trial in New York and Shanghai, KPF rolled out the software across all of its branch offices.
“The feedback has been fantastic, with users commenting that they feel like they are working from the same office, which is exactly what we were aiming for. Speed, efficiency and performance are critical to the way we work as a business and having eliminated the latency issues, we are delighted with the results.”