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@CloudExpo: Case Study

Voonami Embraces Disruptive Solid State Technology from Tegile Systems

Stays Ahead in Managed Hosting Services

In an era where reliable and scalable computer resources are like air and water to data-centric businesses and the time and cost of building in-house data centers are prohibitive for most businesses, Salt Lake City-based Voonami has developed a strong market position for outsourced data center services with a broad portfolio of services, everything from cloud computing, colocation, managed services, hosting and VOIP. The company focuses on performance and a commitment to disruptive technologies to help it stay a step ahead of the competition and deliver added value to customers.

Voonami's newest data center is the greenest facility of its kind in Utah and it demonstrates the company's innovative thinking in pursuing unconventional solutions to maximizing its value proposition for customers.  Building out the new data center, Voonami harnessed the climate of Utah to design an environmental cooling system that enables the data center to run 98% of the time without using the power-hungry chillers that are typically required to keep data center operating temperatures at a safe level and slashing energy costs by as much as 80%.

The company also operates its two data centers built on the Voonami Next Generation Network with the complete backbone bypassing Gigabit Ethernet for a total 10GbE infrastructure, ensuring optimal application performance for Voonami's cloud computing, colocation and managed services customers.

The propensity for leveraging innovative technologies is based on really standing out from the crowd and developing unique product offerings, said Voonami president Ben Bush. "We want to always be ahead of the curve. You have to pick the winners out there and try to really disrupt and get some competitive advantage that attracts more customers."

Given the soft spot for cutting-edge technologies, it was no surprise that Voonami sought out a flash storage solution to replace its Network Appliance disk-based arrays to accelerate the storage for its entire cloud computing offerings as well as its Storage as a Service offerings. According to Bush, instead of a tiered storage offering with layers of solid state storage, performance disk and capacity disk, Voonami has architected its cloud offerings for a single tier of extremely high-speed performance storage while still providing capacity and at an affordable price.

And given its regard for providers of disruptive technology it was also no surprise that Voonami selected Zebi 2100 hybrid arrays from Tegile Systems. According to Bush, Tegile was the clear winner and particularly excelled in three critical areas:

  • Multiprotocol support: With a broad range of customers running both SAN and NAS storage infrastructures, Voonami required storage arrays that weren't limited in their storage protocol support. Tegile arrays can handle iSCSI and Fibre Channel SANs and NFS and CIFS NAS platforms.
  • A complete product offering: Unlike many solid state arrays, Tegile's product line includes a full range of storage services all covered under a single license. All Zebi hybrid arrays come standard with in-line compression and data deduplication, integrated snapshot and remote replication based on thin replication technology that transmits only changed data to reduce time and bandwidth costs.
  • A hybrid array architecture: Tegile designed its Zebi arrays to leverage the performance of SSD and low cost per TB of high capacity disk drives to deliver five times the performance and requires up to 75% less capacity than legacy arrays. Instead of simply using SSDs as a tier of storage, Tegile architected the performance benefits of SSDs throughout the data path, giving every application the high IOPS and low latency benefits of SSD performance even when the data ultimately lands on hard disk drives.

Tegile's hybrid architecture seamlessly fits with Voonami's high-performance approach to outsourcing and managed services, while the breakthrough capacity optimization techniques have recast the economics of deploying solid state arrays, providing Voonami with a storage cost structure competitive advantage.

"A lot of companies try to buy all solid state disk or they're going to have multiple tiers of storage and try to charge a premium," said Bush. "We're taking the approach that your storage just needs to be fast all the time. When you need to turn it up and get performance out of what you've got on disk, you're going to suffer if you have it spread out over multiple tiers. With Tegile we get a hybrid storage solution that allows our users to heat up the data sets they need at the time and get performance on demand."

Voonami has installed a Zebi 2100 array in each of its data centers and Bush said that the Tegile arrays have more that lived up to the promise. "We've been very pleased with the performance we've gotten out of it and very pleased with its ability to scale with what we're throwing at it," said Bush.

Voonami has been so delighted with the decision to go with Tegile that the company is planning to deploy Tegile arrays in its new data center as part of an East Coast expansion planned for later this year.  Additionally, Voonami is partnering with Tegile on a new hosted replication service.  The replication service is exclusive for Tegile customers who need access to highly-available, distributed data protection for disaster recovery, offsite backup or replication. Voonami has installed additional Zebi 2100 arrays at its two Utah data centers specifically for the replication service, enabling Tegile customers to get the same performance with their replicated data (critical for replicated Virtual Machines) as they have with their local primary Tegile storage.

Zebi arrays are ideal for the hosted replication service as the replication features are built into the array; there's no extra software for Tegile customers to buy or license (a la NetApp, EMC and others). Once their local Tegile Zebi array is installed, they can just turn the service on right away and have their data replicated to a secure Voonami site.

Voonami plans to be engaged with Tegile long term, in large part due to the companies' compatible vision.  "We're always looking for a company to have disruptive technology in our space and we saw that right away when we started looking at Tegile," said Bush. "We think that they're a company that's going to make good progress in shaking things up and that always excites us. We're confident that Tegile's technology will continue to help us offer groundbreaking services."

More Stories By Rob Commins

Rob Commins is Vice President of Marketing at Tegile Systems. He has been instrumental in the success of some of the storage industry’s most interesting companies over the past twenty years. As Vice President of Marketing at Tegile, he leads the company’s marketing strategy, go to market and demand generation activities, as well as competitive analysis.

Commins came to Tegile from HP/3PAR, where he led the product marketing team through several product launches and 3X customer growth over three quarters. He also managed much of the functional marketing and operations integration after Hewlett Packard acquired 3PAR. At Pillar Data Systems, he was at the forefront of converged NAS/SAN storage systems and application-aware QoS in mid-range storage. Rob is also a veteran of StorageWay, one of the first storage services providers that launched cloud services.

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