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Swedish cloud provider gets Solidfire all-flash storage for OpenStack

Stockholm-based Elastx uses Solidfire all-flash arrays to support as-a-service provision on OpenStack with easy API connections to Cinder

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: CW Europe: CW Europe – August 2015

Swedish service provider Elastx has opted for Solidfire all-flash arrays to power its OpenStack-based cloud services for customers.

The Stockholm-based company delivers platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service and cloud services to mostly Sweden-based customers, ranging from individuals to enterprise-class organisations, many in the media sector.

It initially deployed Solidfire three years ago when it started up, but needed storage that would integrate with its OpenStack cloud infrastructure after a year or so.

Elastx CEO Joakim Öhman said he had looked at general storage for all its platforms. “But we knew we would deploy OpenStack, so we wanted something that would integrate well with it that was SSD-based and that would scale horizontally," he said.

“Solidfire was the only system at the time that could fully meet these requirements. There was no-one else with OpenStack compatibility.”

Elastx deployed four 3TB nodes of Solidfire SF3010 all-flash storage. These use 300GB MLC flash drives. Solidfire hardware scales in 1U nodes that go from four up to 100, with I/O performance reaching up to 5 million IOPS.

Performance versatility

Solidfire started out aiming at cloud service providers and is Fibre Channel and iSCSI block storage. With cloud in mind, it has automation and Multi-tenancy functionality and administrators can assign storage volumes with different characteristics to different customers.

More recently, Solidfire added advanced storage features such as replication and other data protection features to appeal more to the enterprise market.

Solidfire provides APIs to allow its storage to be used with OpenStack’s Cinder block storage.

Read more about OpenStack storage

Öhman said: “We added a couple of lines of configuration into OpenStack to integrate with Solidfire. Then we could provision it to different storage volumes that gave different levels of performance according to customer requirements.”

The alternative at the time, said Öhman, would have been to use the native Cinder block storage functionality in OpenStack – but that this would have needed the company to build its own hardware.

Öhman said the key benefits of Solidfire had been its integration with OpenStack and that it hasn’t suffered a single outage in that time: “It has performed as we expected it to and it has the ability to scale up,” said Öhman.

The key measurable benefit has been that Elastx set a target for the amount of time it wanted to spend on management each month – and the actual total has come in well below that.

Read more on Flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs)