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Irish cloud provider opts for Tegile hybrid flash storage

Savenet gets 70TB of Tegile hybrid flash in a move that sees Huawei spinning disk arrays replaced as main storage and replaced with hybrid flash for cloud-based services

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Ireland-based cloud services provider Savenet has upgraded its storage to Tegile hybrid flash storage arrays. The company made a decision not to continue with Huawei storage despite its flash cache component.

Key advantages of the Tegile move have been savings in power and space footprint and data deduplication which has data reduction ratios of around 3:1.

Savenet has two datacentres in Dublin that serve around 200 customers, with Microsoft Azure cloud and services hosted from its own premises. It has some Dell EqualLogic iSCSI storage now used as archiving capacity while its most recent bulk storage capacity was on Huawei Enterprise storage with flash caching.

The Huawei arrays had reached capacity and Savenet founder and CTO Lorcan Cunningham was looking around for the company’s next move storage-wise. At that point, his attention was drawn to ZFS-based products owing largely to the benefits of compression and data deduplication possible.

“The Huawei arrays are run-of-the-mill spinning disk. We had been adding more shelves, but were hitting capacity. We wanted to offer enterprise disaster recovery to our customers and needed to be able to boot up 60 to 70 VMs [virutal machines] in an hour or so,” said Cunningham. “The Huawei was not going to give us that.”

Cunningham decided that hybrid flash was the way to go for high input/output operations per second (IOPS) at the price point he was looking at.

His team evaluated some of the ZFS-based storage products in the market, specifically from Nexenta and Tegile. The first of these drew most attention initially, with the company spending a lot of time on research, proof of concept and design with Nexenta.

Tegile, however, won in terms of cost and smaller physical footprint as well as some key functionality.

The company has deployed a T3100 hybrid flash array with around 70TB of capacity, with some 10% of that capacity on flash drives.

Read more about hybrid flash

Tegile’s multiprotocol (iSCSI, Fibre Channel and NAS) dual controller hybrid arrays use a combination of Dram cache, MLC and SAS HDDs storage tiers with a ZFS-based operating system adapted by Tegile to provide data deduplication, compression, Raid enhancements and a performance-boosting feature called metadata accelerated storage system (Mass).

Mass allows data, once ingested, to be dealt with through just its metadata headers rather than the full copy, and these are kept in cache or SSD tiers.

“Under the hood we were impressed with the metadata caching on SSD, which meant a seek time of microseconds and that when you were looking for a file or block you didn’t have to go through a lot of spinning disk,” said Cunningham.

Data deduplication was also important for Savenet, in particular to save space when multiple customer virtual instances have the same OS image.

Cunningham said the benefits are a much reduced physical footprint compared with Huawei – “about 50% less” – and data deduplication of about 3:1.

“Some customers tell us that the disaster recovery environment run from our datacentres is faster than their own product environments,” he added.

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