When Voonami needed to add 20 TBs of high speed storage capacity for its two data centers in Utah, why did it choose Tegile Systems over its incumbent storage vendor, NetApp? According to Steve Newell, Voonami’s sales engineer for co-location, “It was mostly about the opportunity to develop a true partnership – and cost was also an issue.”
During Wikibon’s July 30th, 2013 Peer Incite entitled, “Enhancing Cloud Services with Hybrid Storage”, Newell shared with Wikibon community members Voonami’s selection process and its rationale for partnering with Tegile vs. going with alternative offerings from other storage vendors. “We looked at putting flash on the front-end of our existing NetApp SAN environment and also a variety of other hybrid storage solutions that combine solid state drives (SSD) with traditional hard disk drives (HDD). NetApp is a great partner, and we have no issue with the performance of their solution. But the NetApp team came in with a pre-conceived notion of how we should grow our storage assets. Tegile was more than willing to take the time to understand our environment and help us design a solution that fit our unique requirements”
Cloud Optimized Hybrid Storage
Voonami delivers data center solutions, cloud computing infrastructure services, managed hosting, dedicated servers, VOIP solutions, and traditional co-location services primarily to the SMB business community. Newell and the Voonami team selected Tegile Systems’ Zebi Hybrid Storage Platform that integrates multiple storage device types including SSDs, HDDS, DRAM (used as fast level 1 cache) and Flash technology “intelligently” into the data path to create an optimized storage appliance.
According to Tegile, its metadata accelerated storage system (MASS) allows the Zebi network storage array to “organize and store metadata, independent of the data, on high-speed devices with optimized retrieval paths. This accelerates every storage function within the system, raising the performance of near-line SAS HDDs to the level of extremely expensive high-RPM SAS or Fibre Channel drives.”
Tegile Zebi protects user data by storing it permanently on less expensive HDDs. Tegile also offers multi-protocol support including iSCSI and NFS and claims to have a total cost of ownership (TCO) five or more times less expensive than comparable solutions delivered by traditional storage vendors.
New Remote Replication Service
As Senior Wikibon Contributor Scott Lowe aptly states in his recent note covering Voonami’s business model and its appeal to SMB CIOs, “Hybrid cloud solutions like the one provided by Voonami make it possible for CIOs to ease their way into the cloud without having to take a forklift, costly approach.” Initially, Voonami installed Zebi 2100 arrays in its two data centers to accelerate the performance of its cloud computing and Storage-as-a-Service product offerings.
However, both Voonami and Tegile saw the opportunity to add a remote replication offering for their clients. Tegile users, for example, can simply order the service from Voonami and immediately achieve highly available distributed data protection to a secure data center without any additional hardware or software expenditure.
According to a joint press release, “The Voonami-Tegile replication service is the first of its kind for a hybrid SSD array vendor with a Managed Service Provider and signals the strength that Tegile has established with service provider customers, who are adopting Tegile's Zebi hybrid arrays for the transformational economics that make SSD performance affordable for outsourcing services.”
The level of innovation coming from the data storage and cloud communities today is unprecedented in the history of computing. Hybrid cloud and storage solutions have proven to provide cost effective, safe, and fast access to data stores with remarkably quick turnaround for system builds, bringing applications to market and developing much needed data protection and replication services compared with the old data center paradigm of build it, test it, and manage it in-house. While the traditional data center approach is still very viable, especially for larger firms that have expertise to support complex environments, the SMB market has, and will continue to embrace, the managed services and other cloud-enabled, fast storage delivery models.
Action Item: Emerging vendors with disruptive technologies and innovative service offerings have learned that next-generation solutions are not enough to win the loyalties of customers and unseat incumbent vendors who offer more traditional, “safer” solutions. Legacy vendors who discount fledgling technology companies will regret overlooking their customers, who are responding more to true partnerships with their vendors as opposed to tried and true templates for successful implementations that may or may not meet each customer’s unique requirements. Dramatically lower cost-of-ownership is also a compelling argument for customers to try new solutions. Vendors need to understand that innovation and price are major motivations for buyers - as long as risk is sufficiently mitigated.