Peer Software Solution
Since it was founded over a decade ago by two Harvard alumni, AGi architects has evolved into an award-winning international boutique design firm that provides comprehensive services in architecture, planning, urban design, interior design, design research, and consulting across Europe and the Middle East.
Even though growth and an ever-expanding project portfolio came naturally to the professionals at AGi architects, the firm’s technology was under pressure to keep pace with the requirements of project teams spread out over vast distances.
In the early days after the firm was founded, it was relatively easy to manage shared AutoCAD and other project related files by maintaining them on a central server in their Madrid office. Project team members would share files by email attachment or upload and download them over a secure VPN that connected the Madrid and Kuwait offices. Additionally, small team sizes made file versioning a reasonable process without too many hiccups.
“Over time, growth of the number of users, offices, applications and file sizes began to negatively impact VPN speed and local workflows,” stated Aisha Alsager, Managing Director, AGi architects. “In response, we began to research other solutions for managing our project files and to properly support our collaboration needs.” The firm evaluated a number of solutions including faster wide area network connections, cloud-based storage, and content management systems that offered file version management capabilities. “In the end, we determined that all centralized solutions, including those that are cloud-based, would experience performance limitations because of local connection speeds,” said Alsager. “The best way to overcome this was to maintain project file replicas on servers at each office location instead of storing them centrally. This would provide users with fast local access instead of having to go through our VPN.”
After additional research, the IT department found PeerGFS from Peer Software. PeerGFS is a softwarebased file sharing and collaboration solution that maintains shared project file replicas in real-time on servers at each branch office location for fast local access while maintaining file version integrity.
After a brief trial period supported by the Peer Software technical team in EMEA, the firm committed to implementing PeerGFS, and proceeded to organize and sync their shared files and begin production use.
According to Alsager, “It was fun to see a file that used to take an hour to download open in one minute. With higher productivity levels, we can do presentations and projects in the same day which lowers team stress levels.”