Virtualization Technology News and Information
Swisstopo Cuts Total Storage Costs by 50%, Scales to New Heights with Zadara Cloud Storage at AWS EU Data Center

Zadara Storage, Inc., provider of enterprise-class private cloud storage by the hour, announced that Swisstopo, the federal mapping agency for the Swiss confederation, has deployed Zadara’s Virtual Private Storage Array™ (VPSA) storage as a service (STaaS) running the NFS protocol at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) EU regional data center in Dublin. As its growth in Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes and Web users created cost and scalability challenges, Swisstopo moved to Zadara and quickly found that its move to an NFS-based storage architecture dramatically lowered both EBS storage and total storage requirements, while ensuring scalability, and enabled a far more efficient approach to high availability. Swisstopo’s deployment of Zadara Storage NFS in the AWS cloud in Europe typifies the enterprise-grade storage capabilities made possible by Zadara with all the advantages of an elastic, paid-by-the-hour model.

“Zadara has enabled remarkable ease in managing a huge and demanding infrastructure, while setting us on the path to lowering our EBS storage use by 90% and our total storage costs by approximately 50%,” said Hanspeter Christ, Deputy Head of Process, Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure (FSDI)

Web Infrastructure at Swisstopo. “More importantly, it has given us a pathway to far easier management and scalability. We receive the predictable storage performance of a single-tenant array at the economics of a multi-tenant array. Uptime has been at 100%. I don’t know of any other solution that offers NFS in the cloud, with the performance, control, and simplified management we’re getting with Zadara.”

Founded in 1838, Swisstopo (the Federal Office of Topography) is responsible for geographical reference data and provides measurements of Switzerland, ascertains and documents changes in the landscape (geological, geodesic and topographical). It also produces maps of the country which are updated and published regularly in various scales and that are highly regarded in Switzerland and worldwide thanks to their quality and accuracy. The agency was among the first European organizations to enter the AWS cloud in 2009 when it debuted its Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure (FDSI) using Amazon S3 for fixed map tiles in a database, and using Elastic Block Store (EBS) to store application data to be rendered for delivery as route, hiking and boundary maps.

However, the only way Swisstopo could support high availability (HA) with FDSI at the time was to take nightly snapshots of identical data replicated across multiple volumes on clusters of multiple servers. Doing this circumvented restrictions on volume sizes and mounting data only onto a single server. But the approach meant that Swisstopo’s 10 TB of data quickly amounted to over 55 TB of EBS storage data spread across 100 EBS volumes. Meanwhile scalability was a concern, performance degradation was already occurring during summer tourist season when website visitors tripled, and scaling to more volumes would have further complicated management.

Swisstopo trialed Zadara’s solution using NFS in May 2013 at the AWS US East 2 (Northern Virginia) data center and went live with Zadara’s VPSA based storage at the AWS EU (Dublin) data centers in September 2013. As it completes its rollout with Zadara, Swisstopo will be able to cut those 100 EBS volumes down to just one single volume. With Zadara’s ability to share storage among multiple EC2 instances, the total storage capacity has been reduced from 55 TB to 4.5 TB, with the additional benefit that the need for replication has been eliminated. The switchover to Zadara meant the data resides all in one place, dramatically simplifying management and freeing Swisstopo’s IT managers to spend time better meeting strategic development goals instead of managing storage volumes. Scalability is also far simpler now: as web traffic triples in the summer, Swisstopo can simply use the inherent elasticity of Zadara Storage as a Service (STaaS). This elasticity applies to capacity and performance, which means Swisstopo simply makes changes on the fly and pays by the hour for the storage and capacity it needs.

Zadara’s technology works by providing IT managers with a complete, turnkey storage service in which they provision the exact capacity and performance they need, assembling their storage online with a few clicks, and managing it with their own dedicated administration console. In cooperation with AWS and others, Zadara places dedicated, flexibly deployed hardware at AWS Direct Connect (and analogous) facilities with private, high-speed network connections into AWS and other providers’ data centers, to ensure exceptional cloud-delivered performance even for massive data volumes. Priced starting at the present equivalent of 0.10€ per GB per month, the Zadara Virtual Private Storage Array provides the NAS and SAN features and high Quality of Service (QoS) demanded by databases and other high IOPS and throughput applications, with the flexibility and affordability of the cloud.

“Too many applications have been sidelined from taking advantage of cloud economics and scale because they need robust enterprise storage features – like NFS and large volume sizes – that weren’t available until now,” said Nelson Nahum, CEO of Zadara Storage. “This has changed. As a shining example of this change, we’re delighted to help Swisstopo’s AWS based application scale to new heights of management ease, storage savings and scalability.”

Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013 6:46 PM by David Marshall
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