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Cloud provider sweeps away legacy storage for 1PB of Infinidat

Core DataCloud decommissions storage from several vendors to consolidate to 1PB on Infinidat Infinibox, with DRAM and flash to accelerate hot data in front of disk back end

UK-based cloud services provider Core DataCloud has consolidated disk storage from several vendors – including EMC Isilon, Unity, Nimble Storage and Rubrik – onto a single Infinidat petabyte-scale storage platform.

The Infinidat Infinibox will support backup and disaster recovery services for Core DataCloud, which has around 120 customers served from its Reading-area datacentre.

Infinidat is multiprotocol storage with iSCSI and Fibre Channel block access as well as NFS and SMB file access storage. The company – formed by ex-IBM execs – specialises in high-capacity storage nodes with little use of flash storage. Instead it aims to provide adequate performance from use of small amounts of DRAM and flash to speed input/output (I/O).

Core DataCloud did have a “mish-mash” of around 1.7PB storage hardware in place, said managing director Sharad Saggar, and this led to high management overheads.

“The pain points were that with a multi-vendor environment we had different ageing points, with blocks of storage that had been added in chunks of 100TB or 200TB. So, you got multiple renewals and every three years we’d be hit with a massive storage cost,” said Saggar.

“It was a natural progression to consolidate, especially when it got to the stage that we’d had complaints that our recovery platform was not as quick as always wanted,” he added.

The aim, when key storage arrays from Dell EMC – Isilon and Unity – came to end of life, was to consolidate performance into one array with the aim of keeping costs low in a cost-per-TB sense.

Core DataCloud deployed an Infinidat Infinibox F4260 with 1PB total capacity. It has just over 1TB of DRAM and 28TB of flash storage to speed delivery of hot data. All the remaining capacity comprises nearline-SAS.

Infinidat uses a predictive algorithm to examine data and make decisions about where to place it, for access purposes. Data is written across multiple nearline-SAS drives to speed access from those if needed.

Infinidat always supplies its arrays with a full complement of drives and offers seven 9s reliability.

Saggar said a key driver was to achieve better performance levels for its backup and disaster recovery services, and that recently a customer – the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders – had carried out tests using Core DataCloud’s services and achieved “significantly faster recovery times than previous tests”.

Key benefits also include reducing to expend human resources on storage management. Decommissioning the old systems has seen a 50% reduction in management overheads and two FTEs being diverted to more productive IT work.

Infinidat InfiniBox debuted in 2015. It is the latest venture of CEO and founder Moshe Yanai. Before Infinidat, he had founded data deduplication pioneer Diligent and XIV, both of which were later acquired by IBM. He also developed the high-end Symmetrix enterprise array while at EMC.

In Infinidat storage, flash accounts for about 3% of capacity and is used as an acceleration tier. Most I/O traffic is served from DRAM. A proprietary caching algorithm retains hot data on fast storage, and there are three controllers in an active-active-active setup for high availability.

Read more about enterprise storage

  • Enterprise SAN survey 2019: All-flash is mainstream, with NVMe also offered. Dell offers NVMe drives while HPE reserves it for use as storage-class memory as a cache layer.
  • Enterprise SAN survey part two: Hitachi, IBM and NetApp. NVMe is an option as disk replacement for most suppliers, while NetApp leads the way with NVMe end-to-end to hosts.

Read more on Cloud storage

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