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Bet365 bets on Simplivity hyper-converged for test and dev

Bet365 follows up its move to object storage with efficiency gains that result from migration of test and dev work to Simplivity hyper-converged infrastructure from HDS SAN

Bet365 has opted to move storage and compute for its test and dev operations to Simplivity hyper-converged infrastructure.

The decision came as the company sought a more efficient storage environment for development than its existing Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) SAN.

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.

The company recently announced it 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.

This was added to 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, its test and dev capacity will move to Simplivity hyper-converged infrastructure and away from the HDS SAN, said principal systems architect James Nightingale.

He said that Bet365’s test and development environment comprises many web servers and lots of almost identical content. With the existing server/SAN architecture, problems often arose when the company needed to expand hardware, such as when adding storage capacity.

“We were finding that with a stack that included hypervisor, server, storage and network there were so many updates and components to consider that it became cumbersome and was taking engineers a long time. With Simplivity it's like Lego. We know the costs and can extend it in one blast with no interoperability issues,” said Nightingale.

“The old way was too inefficient, presenting LUNs to ESX, for example, and hoping certain things wouldn't grow.”

Read more about hyper-converged infrastructure

  • Hyperscale computing and storage are the norm for web giants. Hyper-converged scenarios make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises to gain the advantages of combined server/storage nodes.
  • Hyper-converged storage/compute poses a threat to standalone SAN/NAS in the datacentre.

Bet365 has deployed two nodes of Simplivity CN-3400 with a total of 15TB of storage.

Hyper-converged products combine compute and storage in one box with virtualisation capability. They have emerged in recent years as competition to discrete server and storage products, with key suppliers including Nutanix, Scale Computing, Simplivity and VMware’s EVO:Rail.

Key to the advantages of Simplivity to Bet365 is the product’s use of data deduplication, said Nightingale.

“We have multiple instances of web servers and we’re hoping for ratios of 20:1,” he said.

Bet365 has deployed Simplivity with VMware as the hypervisor, but Nightingale said the ability to use other hypervisors is a benefit.

“It was important to know we are not tied into VMware. It’s very important to be able to move to alternative hypervisors such as KVM and Hyper-V,” he said.

Read more on Storage management and strategy