On July 30, 2013, the Wikibon community gathered to discuss the intersection of new infrastructure architectures and cloud computing with Utah-based Voonami. This service provider has two sites in Utah that provide collocation, hosting, and public and hybrid cloud managed services. Sharing his experiences was Steve Newell who after spending seven years in software development is now a sales engineer at Voonami, which has transitioned from being a pure collocation provider into offering multiple services.
Watch the video replay of this Peer Incite.
Building the Infrastructure to Deliver Cloud Services
The infrastructure that delivered Voonami’s public cloud offering was running into capacity and performance limits. The stack that made up the environment was NetApp storage, newly deployed Cisco UCS compute and VMware for the hypervisor, network virtualization, and vCloud Director. While the storage team was very happy with the features and functionality of the NetApp solution, the 20TB expansion would be cost prohibitive based on a disk-only solution.
The team was concerned that flash would be cost-prohibitive based on investigations a couple of years ago, so many options were considered including flash as a cache with NetApp and bids from a variety of other storage companies including EMC, HP, and Nimble. Voonami’s requirements were for high performance (specifically IOPS), 20TB usable capacity, multi-protocol support (both iSCSI and NFS) and a strong management solution that could give visibility into the solution. Most of the solutions either did not support NFS natively or charged extra for it. The storage team was also concerned about leaving NetApp snapshots and other functionality that they relied on.
Towards the end of the search, Voonami came across Tegile. Not only was the price lower than the alternatives, the hybrid flash architecture of Tegile provided such high performance that the storage administrator would no longer need to spend time allocating and optimizing the infrastructure based on application requirements, simplifying operations.
How Infrastructure Delivers Cloud Services for Users
The use of SDN allows each customer to have its own “virtual data center” including individual firewall and VPN. While VMware is the primary offering, Voonami also has created offerings based on both OpenStack (at both customer locations and public cloud) and Microsoft Hyper-V. Steve Newell commented that customers often don’t understand that cloud is not just another rack of infrastructure – they need to make changes in their architectures to take full advantage of services. A move to modular applications helps with this conversion, especially when the compute and load can each be managed separately and dynamically. Customer applications in Voonami’s cloud include Web farms, Linux/Apache stacks, lots of Windows Web stacks, hosted desktops and test/dev operations. Voonami can support remote replication between customer environments and cloud, where the Tegile Zebi storage array is used at both locations (details on the partnership).
Action Item: Voonami’s advice to CIOs is that nobody knows your environment as well as you do. Don’t let vendors tell you what you need or what your pain points are. Too often companies are comparing the wrong metric rather than looking for the best real solution. Both the choice of infrastructure architectures and deployment (onsite, hosted, hybrid or public cloud) are changing rapidly, so users need to do a thorough due diligence at the next refresh or upgrade.