This article is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to flash storage

Amatis Networks waves goodbye to LUN woes and deploys Tintri hybrid flash

Managed service provider Amatis Networks deploys Tintri hybrid flash to slash latency and cut time-consuming LUN storage management overheads

Managed service provider Amatis Networks has replaced Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN storage with Tintri hybrid flash arrays. 

The company said the move slashed latency, with batch processing job times reduced from eight hours to one.

Amatis CTO and founder Alex Fossa puts the huge boost in performance down to Tintri’s ability to provide VM-aware storage that doesn’t require constant manual configuration of LUNs and volumes.

Amatis is a managed service provider (MSP) that offers network, cloud, storage and application hosting services. It operates from two datacentres at Newbury and Reading that host customer hardware and its own equipment, which is based around Cisco UCS servers and Nexus networking. The company operates a reseller-only channel to customers via around 25 partners.

Amatis started looking around for alternatives to its existing Dell EqualLogic storage arrays when it began to have performance issues with part of its infrastructure, said Fossa.

“We had problems with a customer system that was very idle most of the time but which ran long batch operations at certain times of the day,” he said. “This absolutely thrashed the storage, which would come to a crawl. It was a burst workload that we could do nothing to change.”

“Every time one bottleneck was solved, another would arise,” said Fossa.

Fresh approach to infrastructure

Fossa said his IT team would solve one issue only for another to arise. “We’d have a disk contention issue one week and contention over the storage network the week after. All the while management of the arrays was very costly and labour-intensive, with admins needing to constantly manage LUNs for virtual machines," said Fossa.

“We decided the only way to fix all of their issues was to design, supply and manage an entirely new infrastructure.”

The EqualLogic arrays were replaced ahead of their three-year refresh cycle. In their place were deployed two Tintri T620s, offering 13.5TB raw at each site.

Tintri marries low-latency flash with bulk capacity on spinning disk and specifically targets virtual machine environments. It does away with volumes, LUNs and Raid groups, and maps I/O requests directly to the virtual disk.

The key advantage, said Fossa, is that managing storage for the virtual environment has become much easier than it was on the traditional storage arrays.

“We had been used to carving up storage so that volumes were dedicated to specific databases, for example,” he said. “It was a very manual process. With Tintri there’s a single storage mount with one big block of capacity and databases sitting next to each other. Also the operating system provides Quality of Service (QoS) at a VM level.”

The benefits for Fossa have been obvious in terms of a cut in latency.

“Previously that big batch job took eight hours to run,” he said. “With Tintri it took about one hour.”

Since the initial deployment of Tintri in 2014, Amatis has implemented a T650 with 33.5TB of raw capacity and plans to buy a pair of T850s, each with 52TB raw.

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