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Cloud provider moves to QoS flash performance on NetApp Solidfire

Carrenza guarantees specified I/O to customers on all-flash arrays from NetApp Solidfire in a move that allows it to offer storage performance as a product

Cloud provider Carrenza has deployed NetApp Solidfire all-flash arrays to power its services and has been able to guarantee storage performance service levels to customers. The move saw Carrenza relegate existing HP 3PAR storage arrays to backup and archive capacity.

Carrenza is a cloud services company that delivers infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings to customers in sectors that include government departments such as Health, and Work and Pensions, retailers including Selfridges and financial services organisations such as RBS.

The company is part of the London city-based Six Degrees Group and has three datacentres, two in the UK and one in Amsterdam from which it delivers services to around 50 enterprise class customers via up to 6,000 virtual machines.

The company had faced a situation where growth in customer numbers had led to “noisy neighbour” problems in which performance demands by some customers was affecting service delivery to others.

Matthew McGrory, managing director, said: “We got to a phase in our evolution where customers wanted higher performance and we had to guarantee that. It was a managed service but we wanted the technology to do the managing for us.

“It is a multi-tenant environment and we had to juggle performance requirements between customers manually. We wanted to know what was going on and to be able to guarantee performance for customers. The main challenge was to guarantee IOPS to customers.”

Carrenza deployed 18 SolidFire all-flash nodes at its three datacentres; six SF9605s with 120TB at two sites, plus four SF19210s with a total of 50TB at the third.

Solidfire started out with a focus on all-flash products for cloud service providers. Its arrays have automation and Multi-tenancy functionality and administrators can assign storage volumes with different characteristics to different customers.

The 05-suffixed products – such as the SF9605s deployed here – aim at enterprises that want flash for specific projects, such as private cloud, virtualisation and database performance, and at lower cost.

Read more about all-flash storage

NetApp Solidfire added the high-end SF19210 into its products range last year, with effective capacity into petabyte-scale. With upgraded controller CPU, it offers more IOPS per 1U unit than other models and has larger capacity flash drives.

NetApp finalised its $870m acquisition of Solidfire in 2016, in a move that gave it a range of high-performance enterprise and cloud provider-targeted all-flash arrays.

McGrory said the key advantage of the Solidfire arrays is to provide peace of mind and guaranteed performance for customers.

He said: “We know the customer is definitely going to get what we say they will. It has allowed us to extend our product portfolio by being able to sell performance to customers. They can also add performance blocks for specific workloads, such as databases.”

“The customer gets the service they signed the contract for and we don’t have to juggle 10 balls in the air to give it to them,” he added. ... ... ... ... ... ...

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