Storage challenge solved with flash arrays
Operating through several brands but primarily as Crazy Domains, Dreamscape has in excess of one million Australian customers and hosts more than 300,000 websites as well as several million domains. Internationally, Dreamscape Networks manages a variety of globally renowned brands. Its business activities range from licensed domain name registrars, cloud hosting services, digital branding and online marketing.
Locally, Dreamscape maintains a large ICT infrastructure that spans the continent. The majority of the company’s technical resources are located in Perth and their network is supported by a number of data centres strategically located in major cities.
Forecasting storage requirements is a challenge, said Heath Kitchin, Dreamscape’s IT Director. “Because we host content for clients, our storage is always growing. People store more emails, have more websites, and their videos and pictures keep on getting bigger.”
It was evident that storage had become a problem. Capacity was nearly exhausted and data recovery was a frequent challenge. In recognition of the problems, Dreamscape’s parent organisation provided funding to boost the Australian operation’s storage capacity.
Kitchin approached Portal IT. “We work with Portal IT on a regular basis. They had initially put me onto Nimble Storage more than 12 months earlier, but at the time, I’d never heard of Nimble and I thought the hybrid storage looked a bit strange. But when we began to seriously look at various vendors for expanding storage, Portal IT said we really should take a closer look at the Nimble Adaptive Flash platform.”
Kitchin took their advice and after conducting comparative analyses of the different vendor offerings, he found that Nimble came out on top.
“The performance of the Nimble Adaptive Flash arrays compared to the others was excellent and the management was simple,” said Kitchin. “We already had a few specialised people managing our previous storage but managing the Nimble arrays requires less time and resources.”
Given the critical importance of storage to Dreamscape’s ability to conduct business, Kitchin decided to begin the upgrade by purchasing and testing two Nimble arrays. These were deployed and judged a huge success by simplifying management and providing a solid data protection capability, reducing reliance on dedicated backup storage.
More arrays followed, adding replication and extra redundancy to Dreamscape’s storage capacity. By mid-2015 the company had nearly 800 TB of storage across five Nimble arrays within Australia and Europe.
Since deploying Nimble, performance and capacity problems have disappeared. And InfoSight, Nimble’s cloud-connected management and support engine, ensures staff are always able to quickly identify what is occurring within the storage system. “We can see what storage is doing at any location, the capacity and trends,” said Kitchin. “All of this was a lot harder before. We used to use an add-on product that couldn’t give us the same depth of statistics that we are now getting out of InfoSight.”
In addition, data recovery is now easier, faster and more reliable. “If we have the data we need in a snapshot it’s easy to clone, mount and recover the data,” said Kitchin. “We still need to recover older data from our much slower backup systems but the snapshots do assist with more than 80% of restores.”
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