Hybrid IT: STORAGE@scale

Industry-Recognized Service Provider Leverages CBT’s STORAGE@scale to Win 10-Year Fortune 50 Contract

Background

With the velocity and volume of data creation ever-increasing, business leaders are constantly searching for more efficient and cost-effective ways to modernize their storage infrastructures.

Traditional enterprise storage systems are siloed and increasingly complex to manage, maintain, and scale. This complexity and limited adaptability hampers efficiency, ultimately driving up TCO (total cost of ownership). Enterprises need what conventional, purpose-built storage cannot provide: greater agility, cost containment, and stronger security. They need a cost-effective storage architecture that offers the flexibility to manage a wide variety of data, even at a massive scale, and supports demand-driven resource allocation.

Problem

Hybrid ITGiven their size and the varying needs of their customer bases, managed service providers are keenly aware of these drawbacks to traditional storage architectures. In 2017, one of the United States’ largest Managed Service Providers (hereafter referred to as MSP) sought a solution to conquer their similar storage challenges: they needed a reliable, quality storage solution to present to a Fortune 50 Energy Corporation (hereafter referred to as E-Corp), and they needed to achieve a nearly unbeatable price point per gigabyte, per month, over 5 years.

As with many Fortune 50 companies, E-Corp was growing quickly, often through acquiring smaller companies. Constantly slowed by the process of onboarding these companies, E-Corp desired a solution that would not only scale dynamically with them but also be flexible to quickly meet the varying storage needs of their acquisitions. Therefore, MSP’s solution needed to be affordable, meet E-Corp’s stringent service-level agreements (SLAs), and flexible enough to accept multiple storage formats.

The solution had to be able to address economies of scale that would beat the cost models of Amazon and Google in the managed hosting space, deliver bi-directional replicated storage via NAS for VMware, handle an enterprise-level file, block, and object storage, and provide an option for fiber channel connectivity to handle Oracle databases. E-Corp would control the VMware platform, while MSP would provide data center hardware and networking, allowing E-Corp to easily spin up VMware instances for their acquisitions.

MSP’s existing storage stance had been to use traditional, tier-one OEM storage appliances (NetApp, 3PAR, Scality, etc.) These traditional storage arrays typically address one type of storage; file, block, or object. They can be powerful, with high reliability, but inflexible, and would not meet E-Corp’s demanding requirements.

Solution

Delivered through software-defined storage (SDS) on industry-standard infrastructure, CBT’s STORAGE@scale was just the solution MSP and E-Corp needed. STORAGE@scale provides tunable file, block, and/ or object storage via all major protocols in a single offering, to meet the varying needs of E-Corps acquisitions. Built on a Linux-based platform, it adds storage appliances with no downtime to provide rapid scaling to meet E-Corp’s expansion. STORAGE@scale also utilizes the latest storage protection techniques to go beyond the limitations of traditional RAID and protect against bit rot. In addition, enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery tools are baked in to ensure E-Corps rigorous SLAs are maintained.

STORAGE@scale was built to be virtualization-friendly and deliver high capacity for many types of storage at a competitive cost. It is a unified, integrated SDS platform designed to scale up and out to make storage management easy while reducing overall expense. This allowed MSP to stay feature-rich while price-competitive against cloud giants like AWS.

STORAGE@scale’s technology enables the scaling of storage up and out to 64 physical or virtual storage appliances, and 100 petabytes of storage locally or dispersed across geographies. A single-pane web-based management interface enables easy storage provisioning from any appliance and the layered architecture provides the flexibility and application design options to maximize workload performance and fault tolerance for a wide array of workloads.

STORAGE@scale addresses a broad set of storage use cases including server virtualization, big data, cloud computing, and high-performance applications. With support for all major SAN/NAS protocols including iSCSI/FC and NFS/CIFS/SMB and a high availability scale up and out file system with fault-tolerant technologies, the STORAGE@scale SDS appliance delivers a complete array of features to meet almost any enterprise scenario.

Results

Utilizing STORAGE@scale’s capabilities in their application, MSP was able to win E-Corp’s demanding and competitive RFP. By demonstrating the highly tunable, scalable, and easily managed solution, CBT simultaneously won the approval of one of the largest domestic Managed Service Providers, and their Fortune 50 Energy Client.

Post RFP, MSP contracted CBT to deploy the infrastructure, integrate the software layer and tune the application to maximize workload performance. With STORAGE@scale now deployed in MSP’s Virginia and Illinois data centers, MSP is providing E-Corp managed services for storage of their production virtual machines, replicating between the two sites bi-directionally. The platform continues to grow with storage operations reporting optimal performance and no maintenance issues or downtime.

E-Corp was so pleased with STORAGE@scale’s initial performance, and MSP was so assured in its capabilities and supportability long-term, that the two companies signed a 10-year operating agreement. In other words, MSP and E-Corp felt fully confident CBT’s storage solution can sustain E-Corp’s growth and innovation for a full decade.


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