Challenge: Meet customers’ demands for storage capacity as and when needed.
Solution: Implement a block storage infrastructure to boost performance and ensure 100% data availability.
Enables conova to handle any and all customer workloads; doubles performance levels for customers.
IT service provider conova communications GmbH offers server housing, fully managed server hosting, database administration, cloud and networking services to businesses from a wide range of industries. The company operates a state-of-the-art, high-security data center in Salzburg, Austria, and employs more than 50 people. For conova, one of the country’s leading IT service providers, business is booming.
Stefan Kaltenbrunner, head of Consulting & Businessdevelopment at conova communications GmbH, describes the challenges the company faces: “We have been growing very rapidly over the last few years, due in large part to our customers’ growth. As we take on more business, it is vital that we ensure consistent and reliable storage performance around the clock. We never want to hear about storage problems from customers, be that poor database performance or high network latency. In fact, customers should not notice the storage at all.”
With many of its customers operating in dynamic industries, where business volumes fluctuate constantly, conova must be able to keep pace with ever-changing demands.
Hitachi Unified Storage VM, Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G200, VSP G400
Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS)
Hitachi Data Mobility/ Dynamic Tiering
Hitachi Performance Analytics
Hitachi Command Suite
“We work with a lot of companies in the e-commerce sector, for example – a fast-paced industry,” says Kaltenbrunner. “Traffic to a customer’s site could rocket overnight and we need to ensure that the infrastructure can cope with this sudden increase in demand. In other words, we need to be ahead of the curve.” For example, he explains, “If a customer calls up and asks us to double performance in just a week, we need to be prepared on the infrastructure side to do that. If customers aren’t happy, they might defect to a competitor. To protect our excellent reputation and leading market position, it is therefore crucial that our block storage performs well and can cope with any sudden spikes in demand.”
In search of a high-performance, high-availability and highly flexible block storage solution, conova launched a comprehensive review of leading vendors’ offerings.
“We sell several hundred terabytes of storage every year, so we know the enterprise storage market very well,” states Kaltenbrunner. “We had clear, up-front performance requirements for IOPS per terabyte, as well as specific I/O patterns and hypervisors. However, because we never know what customers’ workloads are going to be like, many vendors were unable to meet our requirements. It would often say in the small print that we would only achieve a certain performance level if the storage environment were configured in a certain way. We cannot control our customers’ environments and needed a solution that would perform well whatever the situation. Hitachi was able to offer this.”
Working closely with Hitachi, conova implemented Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) VM, and Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) G series as the primary storage for its customers, with the VSP G200 being used for backup. “The implementation went very smoothly. Hitachi delivered the equipment in one week and we were able to get the solution up and running in just under a month, much faster than we expected,” recalls Kaltenbrunner.
“Both pre-and after-sales support from Hitachi has been fantastic,” he continues. “The local Hitachi team members are always there for us if we need help. They are extremely knowledgeable and always very willing to talk us through any issues or design questions we may have.”
With the Hitachi solution, conova has transformed its customer-facing block storage environment, turbo-charging performance.
“Feedback from customers has been phenomenal,” Kaltenbrunner reports. “We have had reports of batch jobs running twice as fast as before, with some customers reporting even quicker job times. There has also been a significant reduction in lag during backups. Everybody is very happy with the boost in performance. We have even had customers re-sign contracts and specifically mention that they love our new storage!”
He adds: “In the past, we would often have lengthy discussions with new customers about their expected workloads and peak times. Often, customers were unable to provide specific details about future workloads, which made provisioning storage very tricky. Then they would suddenly need more performance, which left us scrambling to provision additional infrastructure. With the Hitachi solution, we know that we can handle whatever I/O workload customers throw at us and ensure 100% data availability, making onboarding new customers much simpler.”
Kaltenbrunner concludes: “The Hitachi solution enables us to stay competitive in an aggressive market, as we can now guarantee consistently high levels of storage performance and reliability to our customers. Depending on our future business needs, we can either add more capacity to our existing Hitachi systems or add new systems. We feel confident about both upgrade routes; we know how they are managed and how easy it is to integrate them. We are so happy with the HUS VM and VSP G series systems that we are planning to expand the systems to encompass file storage to further support customer services.”