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Bet365 gets SwiftStack object storage as NAS pulls up short

Online gaming firm Bet365 is set to replace NAS for data with 0.5PB of more scalable and elastic object storage, built on SwiftStack and commodity SuperMicro hardware

Online gambling company Bet365 is set to roll out 0.5PB of object storage using SwiftStack software on commodity servers in a move that will see it replace NAS for some classes of data.

The company will deploy object storage in place of some of its NetApp NAS hardware, which it sees as lacking the ability to scale easily and offer elastic storage capacity.

Bet365 is based in Staffordshire, UK, and has 14 datacentres in Europe and further afield. It has an IT budget of £60m per annum and 650 technology staff. In 2014 to 2015, the amount wagered with the company totalled £34bn.

Currently, Bet365 has around 3PB of data on a mixture of Hitachi Data Systems, EMC and NetApp SAN and NAS storage.

While its high-performance SAN storage will remain untouched due to the need to support transactional databases behind its web front end, some Bet365 NAS capacity will give way to object storage, said principal systems architect James Nightingale.

He said: “We find as the middleware changes or as data changes that platforms can’t meet the requirements. We will use object storage for ‘immutable data’, such as media content that we find NAS struggles to keep up with in terms of volume, throughput and burstiness.”

Load balancing NAS to deal with the workload is not easy and is difficult to scale out, so the forward view is that we need more elastic storage. We’re also taking the opportunity to venture into cheaper commodity hardware,” he added.

The SwiftStack object storage pool will also be used as a nearline backup repository, replacing some tape that is currently in use.

Bet365 deploys SwiftStack for its simplicity

Bet365 is in the course of deploying SwiftStack – a commercial distribution of OpenStack Swift object storage – on SuperMicro servers and will have 0.5PB ready to go live in the third quarter of 2016 at two UK and Ireland datacentres.

The Bet365 object store will use a freely available open source load balancer in front of the servers.

Object storage is an emerging method of data storage. It stores data in a “flat” system with each object having a unique identifier, similar to the Domain Name System on the internet.

It arose as an alternative to NAS file access storage which, at large volumes of files, becomes hamstrung by overheads caused by its tree-like file system.

It is a good fit for large volumes of relatively unchanging sets of data. It is not a replacement for block access SAN systems that offer very rapid access times and high throughput.

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Nightingale said: “We won’t use it for databases and virtual machines, which will continue to reside on SAN. We’re also not going to use the NAS gateway functionality that comes with SwiftStack. We like object storage for its simplicity and that’s how we will use it.”

Bet365 looked at some other products before settling on SwiftStack. Red Hat’s Ceph distribution and Riak CS were rejected for being too complex, said Nightingale.

“We decided we wanted to go open source and we wanted to decouple from storage hardware. We looked at Red Hat Ceph and Riak CS, but we thought they tried to do too many things and bolted on object storage,” he said.

Swift allows us to create one cluster of object storage across many regions, and that would have been too difficult with other products.” ... ... ... ... ... .. ...

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