Estudo de caso

FlashSoft Software for VMware vSphere Enables Cloud Plus, Inc. to Deliver Uptime During Peak Demand

Cloud Plus delivers Private Cloud Solutions to companies across Australia and New Zealand, with a mission to remove the cost and complexity from cloud computing.

The Challenge

Cloud Plus delivers Private Cloud Solutions to companies across Australia and New Zealand, with a mission to remove the cost and complexity from cloud computing. Clients and partners enjoy the benefits of the company’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, minimizing capital expenditures in infrastructure, technology and staffing while maintaining the highest levels of reliability, visibility and control.

Jules Rumsey is the Founder and CEO of Cloud Plus. Previously Jules founded Telarus, one of the early cloud computing providers in Australia. With Jules as CEO, Telarus merged with Broadband Direct, grew revenue substantially, and earned numerous industry awards. Since founding Cloud Plus in 2010, Jules has continued to demonstrate leadership in cloud computing, including the introduction of an industry-leading 100% Uptime Guarantee that pays rebates starting from the first minute of unscheduled downtime.

Contentious performance demands are inherent in multi-tenant cloud architectures, and delivering consistently high performance is one of the highest priorities for Cloud Plus. E-commerce clients count on the Cloud Plus hosting service to deliver the highest performance and lowest latency for their online customers. One client in particular is 1-300 Flowers, Australia’s leading florist network. They experience huge increases in business during major events like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, driving very large spikes in transactions on their servers. Jules was considering using solid-state devices for performance acceleration and was initially hoping to install SSDs in his storage arrays as a cache to ensure that the Cloud Plus platform would provide the required performance for this client, even at peak load. However, Cloud Plus’s storage array vendor told Jules that he would have to change his storage platform in order to deploy SSDs in this mode, a major refresh of perfectly good storage systems that would add cost, complexity and uncertainty to his business.

Realizing that implementing SSDs in his storage arrays was an impractical and expensive approach to ensuring consistent performance, Jules began considering deploying SSDs in his servers. He spoke with a well-known vendor of high-end PCIe flash devices, but their PCIe flash products were cost prohibitive and the vendor’s caching software was tightly coupled to the vendor’s hardware. Additionally, Jules noted that the caching software required installation of software agents in virtual machines, presenting overwhelming management problems for a large- scale environment like a cloud services provider. A second, more economical SSD option met Jules’s budget requirements, but also required using the vendor’s caching software, which fell short of the requirements for the Cloud Plus virtualized infrastructure. Jules needed a flexible, cost-effective solution that would provide the required performance and support his VMware cloud infrastructure.

 

The Solution

Jules had read about FlashSoft server- side caching software and contacted SanDisk® for an evaluation copy. “The responsiveness of the FlashSoft team made it easy to do the evaluation, which was not my experience with other vendors,” said Jules. The fact that FlashSoft can be used with any vendor’s solid-state device was a key feature for Jules. This makes FlashSoft a good fit for his environment, as the software can be deployed broadly, without limiting his procurement options for solid-state storage.

Because he was already considering purchasing the FlashSoft software from SanDisk, he chose to evaluate the software on Lightning® SSDs, which conveniently met his budget requirements.

In Jules’s test environment implementing a server-side cache with FlashSoft delivered a 15x performance improve- ment versus servers without flash- based caching. While this performance improvement is impressive, Jules is most pleased that server-side caching offloads traffic from the storage array, whose I/O latency would be a major risk factor to application performance for Cloud Plus’s e-commerce customers during their periods of peak demand. The FlashSoft software gives Jules the confidence that Cloud Plus can honor its commitments of consistent, reliable performance to its customers, even under the most demanding activity.

"FlashSoft has provided immediate benefits to Cloud Plus, but the real value is that I can now think more strategically about costeffectively solving performance demands throughout the infrastructure."

Jules Rumsey,
Founder and CEO, Cloud Plus

Infrastructure with FlashSoft

Cloud Plus infrastructure including FlashSoft server-side caching software:

  • Servers: IBM 3550 M3
  • Storage: EMC VNXe 3300
  • SSDs: SanDisk 400GB SAS
  • Application: MS-SQL and IIS

 

Results

FlashSoft software in the Cloud Plus infrastructure has significant impact.

  • A “forklift upgrade” of the existing storage platform was deferred, protecting the company’s capital expense budget from “emergency” spending.
  • Cloud Plus is now able to consider a new class of storage service, leveraging, “Near-Line SAS” drives, enabling high performance at a lower cost per terabyte.
  • Lower I/O latency presents opportunities to increase VM density and drive greater operational and financial efficiencies across the infrastructure.
  • FlashSoft can be deployed gradually to specific servers, to overcome hot spots as they’re identified, and to ensure required service levels to critical workloads. Jules can selectively enable caching per VMDK, to deliver performance precisely where needed, easing contention for storage network bandwidth.
  • Because FlashSoft is non-disruptive to existing hardware and software, Jules could deploy server-side caching with confidence of compatibility with Cloud Plus’s broad range of leading-edge software and service capabilities.
  • Existing quality-of-service controls are preserved and reliably protected against large increases in traffic and transactions during customers’ peak seasons.

 

Conclusion

Cloud Plus demonstrated the value of deploying flash-based caching strategically in key places to overcome hot spots and deliver required service levels to critical workloads. Through the deployment of FlashSoft Jules is able to build a cloud platform that delivers the performance necessary for his clients’ most demanding workloads.

 

Why This Matters

Cloud service providers demonstrate a uniquely challenging test case for the use of flash in the data center. Their customers require a diverse set of software and service capabilities, so broad compatibility is essential. Cloud computing demonstrates the powerful flexibility of virtualization, but also the demands that virtualization places on data center infrastructure. The utility computing model of a cloud service provider requires an iron-clad guarantee of availability and performance for customers whose service utilization can grow exponentially as their business activity changes. A cloud service provider must implement an Infrastructure as a Service with very high elasticity at the lowest practical cost. At Cloud Plus, SanDisk has shown that server-side caching with FlashSoft and SanDisk solid-state devices can deliver cost-effective performance and scalability to the most sophisticated computing organizations.

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