Cloud firm gets Infinidat hybrid flash to save £250,000 on storage

Brightsolid replaced EMC and NetApp storage with 1.2PB of Infinidat hybrid flash to help win council contract that saw local authority save £250,000 in yearly storage costs

Scotland-based cloud and managed services provider Brightsolid has dumped EMC and NetApp arrays for more than 1PB of Infinidat triple controller dense storage, and said doing so has helped its customer Aberdeen council save £250,000 on storage costs.

Brightsolid is based in Dundee and has datacentres there and in Aberdeen. It has around 200 customers that range from larger SMEs to enterprises in oil and gas, the NHS, financial services, and government. It provides cloud, colocation and managed IT services.

CEO Richard Higgs said the move from existing EMC and NetApp arrays was prompted by a big council tender process.

“We knew we would need upgraded storage that we could use in the tender process,” he said. “Our existing EMC and NetApp storage was nearing end of life and had become unreliable with controller performance issues and input/output (I/O) problems that caused applications to crash.”

Higgs’s team evaluated 37 storage hardware makers’ products, rating TB capacities against cost. The company went with Infinidat’s Infinibox, with two 250TB units that have now been expanded to 1.2PB shared between the two arrays.

Infinidat’s Infinibox products provide an unorthodox storage architecture in that they have a small amount of dynamic random access memory and flash as cache, backed up with large volumes (up to 480 drives in 42U) of nearline-SAS spinning disk.

Performance is boosted by the use of three array controllers instead of the usual two. This extra central processing unit capacity helps ensure data is directed to cache as necessary, while I/O achieves 750,000 input/output operations per second and availability is 99.99999% (seven nines).

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Infinibox is multiprotocol storage. Brightsolid has 24TB of flash storage as cache and mainly uses Fibre Channel connectivity with some network file system (NFS) file access.

The array effectively provides two tiers of capacity, with customers able to turn off flash caching for specified data. Additionally, Infinidat’s controller software uses an algorithm that manages which data is kept in flash cache or not and achieves something like a 90% cache hit percentage, according to Higgs.

Key benefits cited by Higgs are Infinidat’s high levels of availability and its cost competitiveness.

“We won business because we had the right product at the right time and have been able to help Aberdeen council save £250,000 on its previous year’s storage costs,” he said. “In terms of availability, AWS offers 12 nines, but that’s for survival of data. With Infinidat, we can offer seven nines, which translates to the whole year minus three seconds.”

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