Cloud firm speeds customer analytics with Pure Storage arrays

Cloudhelix replaces Pernix Data storage with Pure Storage FlashArray products to provide “brute force” performance approach for unpredictable customer workloads

Managed services provider Cloudhelix has deployed flash arrays from Pure Storage that have allowed customers to slash processing times from half a day to minutes.

Cloudhelix provides cloud and hybrid cloud services predominantly to legal and financial services customers, and provides managed and cloud services as well as consulting.

Its platforms are designed to be able to virtualise any workload and it specialises in operations focused around acquisition and insolvency, for example, that require migration, analytics and remediation work to be carried out.

This can involve extraction of data and setting up of a dedicated private cloud in which to carry out data processing, either a customer premises, Cloudhelix datacentres (it uses Equinix) or a combination of the two.

Cloudhelix had used Pernix Data FDP flash caching software to provide fast storage for its operations. Pernix Data was a software product that virtualised storage and memory and was acquired by hyper-converged infrastructure maker Nutanix in 2016.

The Pernix data setup provided very high performance but was onerous to manage, said CEO David Blesovsky. “We don’t have the benefit of knowing what client applications we’ll be asked to run so we have to take a brute force approach to storage performance,” he said.

“It was incredibly fast and could probably outpace what we have now, but it took a lot of time to manage. If it took an hour’s worth of work to fix, it was an hour of our best guys’ time.”

“We were relatively happy with it, but we also knew that when we needed to scale it would become very expensive,” added Blesovsky.

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The acquisition of Pernix by Nutanix provided the spark for Cloudhelix’s search for a new storage provider. After evaluating the market Cloudhelix eventually deployed three Pure Storage FlashArray M20 arrays. Two are 20TB capacity and one of 40TB at two UK datacentres, and one at a client site in Poland. Data compression provides ratios that expand raw capacity by between 2.5:1 and 3.7:1.

Blesovsky said Cloud Helix would likely have gone to HPE 3PAR for storage as it has a strong relationship with that company, but, said Blesovsky: “Pure had an array running on our site before HPE had even responded to us. They threw resources at us as if were a customer already.”

Blesovsky said the move has slashed processing time for customers. “For payroll processing, for example, it’s down from half a day to 20 minutes,” he said.

The move to Pure Storage has also allowed Cloudhelix to streamline its offering to customers, said Blesovsky. “We used to operate multiple tiers of storage. But with Pure, it’s so predictable that we’ve been able to go to one service level,” he said.

Cloudhelix has taken advantage of Pure’s Evergreen policy. This allows the customer to buy the array and in years fours, seven and 10 they get a new controller in a non-disruptive upgrade. “Evergreen means we don’t have to worry about icebergs of capex [capital expenditure] floating off in the future,” said Blesovsky.

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