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Colliers dumps Flexpods for Nutanix and Cohesity hyper-converged

Property firm Colliers replaces NetApp converged stacks with hyper-converged infrastructure. Secondary storage and backup from Cohesity replaces tape and supports Nutanix performance tier

Commercial property firm Colliers International has deployed Cohesity secondary storage and backup as support for a complete replacement of existing converged server/storage systems with Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure.

Technical architect Paul Khosla calculates the move to Cohesity has saved a projected £300,000 in replacement storage area network (SAN) costs over the next three years, while backup windows have been cut from cumbersome nightly ones to less intrusive hourly incrementals.

The company has 4,500 Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) employees in 60 offices with predominantly SQL-based apps, web applications and some property management tools, for example.

Its IT infrastructure was previously based on NetApp FlexPod converged infrastructure with Hitachi Data Systems SAN capacity as secondary storage.

It is now 90% of the way through its transition to Nutanix at its Amsterdam datacentre, and 60% in London.

For now, it has retained VMware as its virtualisation platform, but plans to move to Nutanix’s Acropolis hypervisor (AHV) next year to save costs, said Khosla. When finished, there will be between 400 and 500 virtual machines.

“We took a decision to change to a fully hyper-converged infrastructure and are in the process of moving to Nutanix and decommissioning our HDS storage,” said Khosla.

“With hyper-converged, if we need more nodes we can buy one at a time and we know how much it will cost,” said Khosla. “There are far fewer points of management. Previously we had SuperMicro JBOD and Quantum tape to deal with. There were lots of things that could go wrong and needed to be looked after. Upgrades were very disruptive.”

At each location, it has deployed a Cohesity C2500 hyperconverged backup appliance with 90TB of capacity. This acts as secondary storage and has its own backup application to which data is protected.

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Khosla estimated that deploying Cohesity has saved a potential £300,000 a year in SAN replacement costs. “If we didn’t do Cohesity and stuck with what we had we would have spent £300,000 in replacing the SAN and on upgrades, for example,” he said.

The company has also moved from a backup regime that would take most of each night to 90% of data being handled by hourly backups. Then 30 days’ worth is held locally on the Cohesity appliances and is shipped off every seven days to the Microsoft Azure cloud, which has replaced the firm’s tape infrastructure.

The Cohesity Data Platform consolidates secondary storage platforms on a distributed storage system that can scale out. Its target market aims at replacing backup software and the backup target, such as EMC Avamar and Data Domain.

It is a software product that comes in qualified white box Intel servers with flash and spinning disk HDD storage capacity. ... .... .... .... .... .... ...

As data is ingested, it then is replicated and distributed, with two replicas taken on a two-factor basis. Cohesity plans to roll out erasure coding as a data protection method, although that would use more storage resources. Unlimited snapshots can be taken.

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