[Richard Hicks, CEO, brightsolid] Hi, I’m Richard Hicks, the CEO at brightsolid based here in Dundee, Scotland. Brightsolid’s been in business for twenty years and it’s changed significantly. It started as an “America Online,” an internet service provider, and today, is a major data center and core infrastructure player for four critical sectors: the energy sector, the health sector, government and the financial sector.
So, a few years ago, everybody wanted to say “I’m going to hold my data to myself,” as the way to keep it safe but I think people have realized over the last four, five years, that actually it’s a real specialism and that you probably need to be working with the right organizations that deal with all sorts of threats on a weekly, daily basis. And that’s a core skill of brightsolid – keeping people’s data safe.
[James Harper, Sr. Systems Engineer, brightsolid] Hi, my name’s James Harper. I work for brightsolid. I am a Sr. Systems Engineer. We reviewed a lot of storage systems, and a I did a big spreadsheet of about 30 different systems comparing all the features, the pricing, and requirements and comparing them against that. There were lots of people on there, EMC, Pure.
INFINIDAT came out as the best option for us from a price, performance for this tier of storage which services about 90% of our customers. The most valuable feature I would say is the resiliency of the platform. It’s the ability to have failures, to do upgrades with zero impact to IOs going through the system.
The challenge with the previous storage was, one was the controller updates and the reliability of the firmware on the system. Controller heads would top out the performance and cause an impact to customers. With INFINIDAT, the controllers are very beefy. We don’t have any performance problems in that regard, so that solved a big issue for us.
[Hicks] So we can’t afford to go down. One of the challenges of our industry as a whole is that it operates to “four nines” as a level of excellence, for example. And what that means is it could be down for 30 seconds a month. I can’t think of anything worse then me having to turn around to my customer and say “Oh, I’m sorry. We weren’t available for 30 seconds.” And yet, most people that work in our IT industry seem to think that’s acceptable. But it’s not when it comes to data center, clouds, and the sort of stuff that we’re doing.
The fundamental aspect of it is, can we run storage that’s always available? And can we reach a vision that is based on “seven, nine, eight.” “Seven, nine, eight” is what makes Rolls Royce engines work. It’s lean Six Sigma. It says that you will only have an error one in 6.2 million times, and, if you do have an error, it will be immaterial. And that’s what we must have from our storage.
[Harper] We want speed of operation in order to do tasks quickly on the box. INFINIDAT has REST APIs which makes things a lot quicker for us. We can script stuff, we can push it out. Volumes create within seconds. That really speeds it up for us.
The InfiniMetrics tool for viewing the performance of the system are very important as well. They’ve given us really good insight into the system. The three active nodes – triple active system – you can do firmware updates, bring a node down all the IOs are still flowing.
The dual parity of the system is pretty much required these days. The way it can rebuild the drives very quickly is important for us. Just the architecture of the whole system being very reliable was one of the key aspects there.
The performance within the heads to disaggregate the performance from the disks as the IOs come into the system means that we get very fast write IOs always into the system. So, many things like that have solved a lot of problems.
The support from INFINIDAT has been very good. They’re very responsive and a lot of times when you raise a ticket with them you’ll notice them logging onto the system within five minutes. They’re very knowledgeable guys, you can see they’ve spent a lot time in this industry and it does make a big difference when somebody can get on and diagnose problems very quickly.
Our customers have responded to us to day they are very happy with the system, they’ve noticed a big difference, they’ve noticed a big improvement in the snappiness of their applications. So that’s great.
[Hicks] So INFINIDAT helps us service that mission of technical innovation and personal service by, firstly, being innovative in its approach. So whether it was having dark storage – the ability to just say “have it on site and just switch it on when you need it,” that’s just great for our customers. It means that [when a customer says] “how long is it going to take you to switch on that extra storage that we didn’t think we needed and forgot to tell you about,” [we can answer] “don’t panic, we’ll just switch it on.”
And it means that from a personal service perspective, I have never had to call one of our customers and say “I am terribly sorry I have in any way corrupted your data, lost any of your data, or had to go to a backup,” in what, two years of operating INFINIDAT. And that is truly staggering.