VM and Application-Aware Storage Speeds Troubleshooting, Cuts Datacentre Footprint and Power Consumption by 66%, and Reduces Latency in Hosted Customer Environments by 98%
amatis Networks provides managed, cloud-based solutions to a diverse customer base across the United Kingdom. In addition to a full suite of connectivity and WAN solutions, Amatis Networks delivers a wide range of hosted services, including private and hybrid clouds, application hosting, colocation solutions, and offsite data storage.
amatis Networks operates from the two data centres it owns in West Berkshire, UK, in a high- availability configuration. “One of our hosting customers was experiencing huge operational problems in its environment on a daily basis,” said Alex Fossa, CTO and founder of amatis Networks. “We host the infrastructure, but the customer was managing the environment in-house. Their VMs were starting to hang and crash during peak usage times and the existing infrastructure wasn’t very scalable. It was also difficult to diagnose any performance problems. Every time one bottleneck was solved, another would arise. We decided the only way to fix all of their issues was to design, supply, and manage an entirely new infrastructure solution for their multi-site HA environment.”
amatis determined that a scalable private cloud deployment was the best approach for their environment. The customer wanted the ability to easily deploy virtual applications and VMs though a web interface, and provide configuration continuity across sites. In addition to hosting the infrastructure, the customer asked amatis to take over the day-to-day management, security, and alerting for the new environment.
Evaluating the Options
The amatis team began looking for more suitable storage options for the new customer deployment. “We conducted a multi-vendor assessment based on both cost and performance,” Fossa explained. “After comparing the alternatives, Tintri emerged as the best choice for that environment. The other solutions we looked at were either too expensive, could not provide sufficient performance, or were far too complex from a storage management perspective.”
Following the initial assessment, Fossa and his team entered into a more detailed phase of due diligence of the Tintri solution at a technical and commercial level. “We were so impressed with what we saw and heard from the Tintri team, we decided to purchase the units without running a POC at our site,” noted Fossa. “The level of support and engagement we experienced from Tintri during this phase was second-to-none.”
Lower Latency and Higher Performance
amatis Networks purchased its first two Tintri T620 arrays in 2014. “Tintri provides high performance for any workload,” Fossa reported. “But the most impressive technical feature of Tintri is its extremely low latency. Our company originally started out as a networking provider, so we knew what we were looking for. It was refreshing to see a storage vendor focused on reducing latency. Before Tintri, our customer’s applications exhibited an average latency of 25ms, which would spike to 120ms under load. Tintri is delivering sub-microsecond latencies on average. The biggest spikes we are observing only reach 2ms during peak workloads. The 60:1 reduction in latency was quite refreshing.”
Fossa and his team were also amazed at the difference in performance between the previous SAN storage and the Tintri environment. “We created this environment for one of our largest customers that generates about 300,000 transactions during its monthly processing runs,” Fossa reported. “That workload used to take more than 20 hours to complete and was prone to failure. It now takes less than four hours on the Tintri arrays and runs faultlessly every time.”
amatis operates with a relatively small IT team. “We employ a very talented group of IT professionals, but we don’t have a lot of storage specialists in-house,” noted Fossa. “Tintri’s extraordinary ease of use and simplicity were huge selling points for us. It took only a few minutes to set up the Tintri storage. We recently delivered an entire customer environment in just 14 days – and that included building, racking, cabling, and set-up of the Tintri arrays – as well as all of the servers and the entire VMware environment. We never could have done it that fast before Tintri.”
Easier Management and Better Visibility
“Tintri has taken a very simple appliance-based approach to storage,” noted Fossa. “It’s very easy to manage the storage environment without any specialized skills. We spent far too much time firefighting issues on our old platform, because we weren’t able to see which virtual machines were handling all of the traffic and what was causing the slowdowns. With Tintri’s VM-level visibility, we can easily troubleshoot any performance slowdowns. The intuitive Tintri interface and in-depth reports are providing us with a wealth of useful information.”
Space and Power Savings
In addition to reducing latency and improving visibility into the storage environment, Amatis realized significant savings due to Tintri’s smaller footprint and lower power consumption.
“We were able to replace 12u of our previous storage with just four rack units of Tintri. The 3:1 reduction in datacenter footprint and power requirements were quite impressive. Our two Tintri arrays are using just one-third of the power of our previous storage systems.”
Looking to the Future
After the successful implementation in this customer’s environment, IT staff at amatis started deploying the Tintri platform elsewhere and will continue to do so as the legacy storage in place reaches the end of its useable life. “We have been so impressed with our new storage environment that we just purchased another Tintri T650 for one of our internal projects,” Fossa concluded. “We won’t be expanding or upgrading any of our existing legacy SAN systems any more. Tintri will be our sole high-performance storage vendor going forward.”