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Swiss ISP opts for Scality object storage for backup service
Move to object storage allows Lake Solutions to cut customer backup costs by 66% while providing new S3-based bucket storage for customers based on Scality on HPE
Swiss service provider Lake Solutions has replaced ageing Quantum tape, disk and Fibre Channel backup infrastructure with an object storage setup based on a Scality Ring cluster.
The move has allowed Lake to cut customer costs for backup by 66% and offer new services based around use of S3 object storage buckets.
Lake Solutions has about 5,000 end-users at 500 companies and supports them from two datacentres 35km apart in Switzerland.
The existing Quantum disk and tape backup infrastructure had been nearing end of life and the company needed to look at new solutions, said CSO Roman Hegnauer.
“We had to do a lifecycle upgrade on the old infrastructure,” he said. “We decided that the new solution would need to replicate between our two sites, would have to work with Commvault and Veeam, and also support S3 storage.”
Lake decided to move away from tape because it couldn’t give customers an S3 bucket with it.
The company eventually settled on a cluster of six Scality nodes running on HPE Apollo 4200 hardware. The servers are all-spinning disk HDD with no flash storage because they are intended only for backup data, said Hegnauer.
The Scality infrastructure is aimed at a couple of customer scenarios – for backups from customer VMs that run on the Lake Solutions infrastructure, and to allow customers to use S3-based object storage as general-purpose storage for their data.
One big change has been in technology and skills. The previous Quantum infrastructure was Fibre Channel-based and required people skilled in the storage and fabric side of things in that technology. Now it is based on object storage and run via Ethernet networks.
That has meant a ramping-up of skills requirements, but only in the short term.
“It was new technology for us,” said Hegnauer. “But over time, that will reduce as things become easier to maintain.”
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A big benefit for Lake Solutions is that it can now offer backup storage to customers at a fraction of the previous cost, said Hegnauer.
“Backup is cheaper now, one-third the cost of what it was before,” he said. “We have been able to reduce it for customers from 150 Swiss francs per TB to 50.”
An added benefit is the scalability of Scality on the HPE infrastructure.
“We can scale endlessly,” said Hegnauer. “We can add servers and disks if we want to grow. Also, with Greenlake [HPE’s as-a-service model], we could even contract things if we needed to shrink provision, such as during the current Covid-19 situation.”
Object storage is a key technology in cloud storage. Unlike hierarchical file system-based storage such as SAN and NAS, it can scale to a much greater extent without slowing down, which is because it is based on a flat structure with objects that have individual identifiers.
At the same time, object storage is not usually super high-performance, and its lack of Posix controls means copies held are only eventually consistent rather than immediately so.
However, that makes it eminently suitable for applications such as backup storage and non-time-critical uses such as bucket storage.