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IT firm gets Scality object storage to boost S3-based offerings

Blue Chip deploys Scality Ring object storage on commodity hardware with S3 connectivity to enable new cloud, backup and archiving product offerings at “a few pence a gigabyte”

IT services provider Blue Chip has deployed 600TB of Scality Ring object storage to support new cloud, backup and archiving services, and is taking advantage of application makers’ Amazon S3 connectivity to do so.

The deployment of object storage has allowed it to make savings of 90% in terms of total cost of ownership, the company said.

Blue Chip operates from three datacentres in Uxbridge, Poole and Leeds and has around 400 customers that range from small to medium-sized enterprises. It offers file hosting, managed IT and cloud services based on its HP, Cisco and EMC hardware infrastructure.

Its IT team started looking for storage more suited to delivery of backup and archiving solutions to its customers than its existing EMC arrays.

File access and object storage products were evaluated with object storage from Scality coming out on top, said Blue Chip marketing director Anthony Green.

“Scality was bought to enable a number of new cloud service offerings. It’s a low-cost storage solution, predominantly for archiving and backup,” he said.

The ability of Scality to act as a target for Amazon S3-capable applications was a big draw.

Read more about object storage

  • We recap the key attributes of file and block storage access and the pros and cons of object storage, a method that offers key benefits but also drawbacks compared with SAN and NAS.
  • Amazon S3 has emerged as a de facto standard for accessing data in the cloud. We run the rule over S3, its key attributes and what you need to know to use it with your applications. 

Scality Ring software runs on commodity hardware and uses an object storage core – via file protocol or S3 access – to scale as a single distributed system across multiple sites and potentially thousands of standard x86 servers.

Scality and other object storage suppliers store large amounts of data in a flat system, where files are identified solely by metadata.

This contrasts with traditional file systems that use a tree-like hierarchical structure in which performance overheads increase as the file system grows into the millions and billions of files. Key among the applications with S3 connectivity that Blue Chip will use with Scality are Veeam Cloud Connect, Metalogix Essentials and File Archiving, and CloudBerry Backup.

Blue Chip has deployed six nodes in three two-node clusters across its three datacentres. That makes 600TB of capacity in total – all on spinning disk HDDs – but 200TB effective.

Erasure coding

The 400TB overhead is accounted for by Scality’s in-built erasure coding data protection method, which immediately distributes data across the three sites and allows it to be rebuilt from any two datacentres.

“Object storage allows us to store data in a secure manner at low cost,” said Green. “The EMC storage we have is brilliant but it’s for high performance workloads and is expensive in comparison. Object storage provides low-cost storage and the ability to replicate data in a way that means customers don’t have to back it up.”

Blue Chip’s Scality deployment will also act as the basis for its virtual NAS offering to customers.

Two key advantages for Blue Chip are Scality’s cost per gigabyte and S3 connectivity. “We can replicate across multiple locations and connect to any software via an S3 connector,” said Green. “It’s built on commodity hardware and can provide geographically-dispersed storage for a few pence per gigabyte. That’s completely unheard of in traditional storage arrays.”

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