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Focus on security and customer needs

   29.07.2019   infrastructure, storage, virtualization, Performance
people holding assorted-color LED lights | © Katya Austin on Unsplash

When we launch new products or exchange hardware, taking risks is not on the cards. The case of Pure Storage exemplifies how thoroughly aspectra evaluates and tests a new product to guarantee the security of a solution.

For non-professionals, 99 percent reliability does not sound bad. For us, however, it is by no means sufficient. If the systems for business-critical applications were unavailable for one percent of the time, that would correspond to almost 90 hours per year and thus to a massive cost and competitive disadvantage. Business-critical applications must therefore meet the highest standards in terms of security, availability and performance. 

Particular challenges arise when replacing existing products with new ones. The example of the acquisition of Pure Storage shows how aspectra avoids downtime in business-critical applications through thorough evaluation and testing. 

Clear problem definition for a competent procurement team 

The first aspect of the problem was fairly trivial: The free space on our existing storages had nearly been used up. Moreover, there had been occassional performance problems, to which the load balancers reacted very sensitively. Also, some of our customers called for more detailed monitoring data, which made the overall picture much more complex. 

With these requirements and customer wishes in mind, aspectra formed a procurement team consisting of specialists for storages, virtualisation and procurement. Their task was to evaluate and then implement a new storage solution. The procurement team conducted their research and shortlisted a number of suitable suppliers, including Pure Storage, which would later win the race. 

Planning and optimisation: Developing test scenarios

The procurement team developed various test scenarios for the solutions on the shortlist. This allowed the team to reliably check whether all of our existing systems worked reliably with the updated solution.

In particular, they scrutinised the integration of Zabbix (monitoring) and Turbonomic (resource management). In the latter case, the virtual machines (VMs) needed to be transferred autonomously. The team also paid a lot of attention to the installation of the Windows servers and to testing the compression of all VMs from a specific cluster to the new solution. 

Pure Storage has the competitive edge

The results of the tests showed pretty much straight away that Pure Storage would offer the greatest benefits to aspectra's customers:

  • Pure Storage delivers real-time monitoring data.
  • The system can map cloning services through policies - whether daily or bi-weekly.
  • Emergency restores of VMs are possible with or without vCenter or NetBackup.
  • Data can also be restored without NetBackup: Just attach the disk from the recovery point and copy the desired files.
  • Thanks to Virtual Volumes - known as VVols - the VMs are transparently visible in the array.
  • Last but not least, Pure Storage with VVols provides snapshots of VMs of any size.

All these features made it easy for the procurement team to come to a decision and proceed with procurement, installation and migration.