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US hotel group ditches datacentre for Nasuni cloud NAS

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts got rid of its datacentre and put everything in the cloud, with Nasuni cloud NAS providing storage from which any user can restore files

US-based Wyndham Hotels has moved to cloud storage in Amazon Web Services (AWS) using Nasuni cloud NAS. The move has allowed it to do away with on-site storage, disaster recovery and backup, which came as part of a wider move to shed its own datacentres. This has allowed the company to save 53% compared to its previous outlay.

Wyndam Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in New Jersey and has 9,200 hotels across 20 brands and in 80 countries.

Core applications are the reservation and property management system, plus accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP). The company is largely Windows-based and uses VMware virtualisation.

When the firm was spun out of Wyndham Worldwide in 2017, the decision was taken to decommission its own datacentre at Phoenix, Arizona, and move IT to the cloud, using AWS and Rackspace.

Storage had previously been a combination of direct-attached storage on Windows and Linux servers plus some NAS boxes.

Tony Scrimenti, senior director for enterprise architecture and cloud, said this arrangement had been cumbersome and costly and the company wanted to do away with traditional on-site IT.

“We had to back everything up, put it on tapes and ship it to Iron Mountain,” he said. “We wanted no physical limit and not to have to keep upgrading and changing hardware. We wanted to eliminate off-site backup and change to a solution that was secure and performed like on-site storage.”

Scrimenti’s team looked at using Microsoft OneDrive and “a few other NAS-type competitors”, but he had used Nasuni before and liked some of its features.

These included global file locking, “which makes the user feel like they’re on a server right next to their desk”, he said.

Scrimenti was also attracted to Nasuni’s versioning. “Every version of a file is kept,” he said. “That eliminates all backup and work associated with restoring previous versions. The user can select any version of a file they want to work on, and this is also really useful when you have threats like ransomware.”

Nasuni was an early startup with a virtual appliance cloud gateway that cached active data on-premise and stored less-frequently-accessed files in the public clouds. Nasuni’s cloud-native UniFSfile file system provides a single namespace for unstructured data.

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Nasuni is delivered via on-site filers that stage data off to the AWS cloud, where the management software runs as an EC2 instance. Nasuni offers the choice of using local caching filers or sending data directly to the cloud, but Wyndham chose to use filers because they provided benefits “from a cost and management point of view”.

The move to Nasuni came alongside a wider shift to decommission the company’s own datacentre. This resulted in a large reduction in IT headcount, power and cooling bills, and no further need for disaster recovery provision and backup. “It all goes away,” said Scrimenti.

Wyndham now has “no hardware purchase per se,” he said. The company has a five-year maintenance contract with Nasuni.

With Nasuni, Wyndham will save 53% compared to the previous setup. These savings come from primary storage, the elimination of Windows servers and primary NAS, backup and disaster recovery.

Key benefits for Wyndham are also around flexibility, said Scrimenti. “It provides storage for the business when it is needed without impacting the current IT situation,” he added. “It is storage on demand and the only limitation is what AWS has, so basically none.”

Would Scrimenti like to see any improvements? “It solves so many problems,” he said. “The only thing we’re working with Nasuni on is supplying filers to ‘difficult’ countries, like China, where it is hard to get equipment in and out.”

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