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NetApp Products
NetApp FAS3250
Data ONTAP 8.2
Complete bundle
Compression
Deduplication
Flash Pool
FlexClone ® volumes
SnapRestore ® technology
Snapshot
Thin provisioning

Protocols
NFS

Third-Party Products
CFEngine
2 Dell M1000 chassis with 24 blades
Dovecot
Linux ® Debian
MariaDB
MySQL
OpenStack Grizzly
Postfix

Partner
Vision IT Solutions
www.visionit.sk

Customer Profile+-

WebSupport

WebSupport (www.websupport.sk) is Slovakia’s largest web-hosting provider, with about 90,000 domains, 35,000 hosted websites, 15,000 databases, 150,000 mailboxes, and 700 virtual private servers (VPSs). Today more than 59,500 customers, mainly small and medium-sized companies, rely on WebSupport. Step by step it became an inseparable part of the Slovak IT community. WebSupport is also the registrar of domains in Slovakia and backs the successful international startup project Nicereply. The company was established in 2002 and is headquartered in Bratislava.

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The Challenge+-

Improve and ease scalability and availability
WebSupport’s success is based on strict dedication to customer satisfaction and state-of-the-art support. However, web hosting is a highly competitive business. Providers constantly need to balance declining prices and rising customer expectations. To stay ahead of the pack, market leaders such as WebSupport exploit the latest IT technologies to preserve or exceed service levels and provide good experiences for their customer base.

Miroslav Pikus, chief technology officer at WebSupport, saw room for improvement in the hosting infrastructure. It had grown over the years and spanned hundreds of isolated servers with internal storage resources. Maintaining service levels was cumbersome. It urged the team to perform ongoing data migrations to counteract changing loads on customers’ webpages.

“ Without a centralized storage solution, we could have spent forever copying data back and forth,” says Pikus. “Our landscape of ‘isolated islands’ also prevented us from any kind of high-availability setup and automated load balancing. What we needed was a central storage solution with impressive performance and the ability to cope easily with data growth.”

With the future in mind, WebSupport set the performance bar at 40,000 IOPS for all storage vendors in play. Though performance was not an issue, some solutions showed shortcomings in scalability and availability that even aggressive pricing couldn’t overcome. “We didn’t want to compromise, and that is why we chose NetApp. Technology, unbeatable experience with NFS storage, and integration with OpenStack spoke for themselves,” says Pikus.

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The Solution+-

NetApp FAS storage for open- source cloud software
WebSupport runs OpenStack Grizzly , the seventh release of the open-source software for building public, private, and hybrid clouds. In a fairly unique scenario, the team leverages the open- source configuration management system CFEngine to provide automated installation, configuration, and operation of 700 VPSs on Dell blade servers. A NetApp ® FAS3250 midrange system with native NFS support, an initial capacity of 60 terabytes, and flash acceleration complete the setup as the central storage platform.

NetApp partner Vision IT Solutions carefully sized the system and the use of flash technology. With the Data ONTAP ® functionality Flash Pool ™ intelligent caching, it is possible to handle solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) as an aggregate. For top read and write performance, hot data is automatically cached on SSD— without setting policies or moving a single bit of data. To make the most of SSD caching, Vision IT modulated the size and ratio of SSD and HDD media to data access patterns. After all of the preparation, the implementation was straightforward.

Pikus is impressed by Vision IT’s commitment, especially because the system integrator primarily focuses on larger enterprises. He says, “Though we started with a comparably small system, Vision IT devoted a good deal of time and effort to our solution. In fact, their expertise and collegiality were additional reasons for choosing NetApp storage.”

NetApp unified storage can act as block-level storage, which is appropriate for performance-sensitive scenarios such as database storage or expandable file systems. Because of its tight integration with OpenStack Compute and Dashboard, WebSupport can fully exploit NetApp’s enterprise- class storage and data management. NetApp Data ONTAP provides the team with all the essential tools required to run the storage solution. Currently, they apply thin provisioning, deduplication, Snapshot ™ copies, cloning, and compression—with results exactly as expected.

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Business Benefits+-

Improved service quality and range
Today, Pikus’s team of seven engineers enjoys a great deal less time administering. The nifty concept of SSD caching regulates performance needs on the fly. The days, nights, and weekends of endless data migrations are gone. “The robustness of the storage adds to the 99.8% availability for the end-to-end solution. We achieved very high uptime, which helps us to maintain superior levels of service quality and improve the customer experience,” says Pikus. With the central NFS storage in place, WebSupport can work with stateless web and mail servers. This enables a huge gain in flexibility, because the servers are now easier to design and faster to deliver. The rapid cloning of virtual servers under OpenStack supports this performance benefit.

Based on NetApp Snapshot technology, WebSupport established backup as a service. Customers can easily restore data online, which makes the feature very popular. The command-based transfer of data from the FAS3250 to a secondary site provides an additional protection level.

Grow and broaden the business
The seamless scalability of the storage will help WebSupport to meet growth challenges, whether they’re capacity, functionality, or investment related. Though the data grows at 30% per year, the solution can easily accommodate more data for a reasonable amount of time. Deduplication helps to support this time frame. Because many of the customers’ CMS files are identical, the impact is impressive: Eliminated redundancies reduce the amount of web-hosting data by 30% on average.

Due to the modular architecture, system components can even be reused once a controller update takes place. All NetApp FAS systems run the same operating system, so WebSupport can add new features as needed. Because business continuity is next on the agenda, the company will soon look into data replication scenarios based on clustered Data ONTAP. “From what we achieved to date, I think we are very well set to enhance our footprint in Slovakia and pursue our plans for the Czech and Hungarian markets,” says Pikus. “With our newly gained flexibility we can also strengthen our activities in the VPS hosting market.”

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Environment+-

Industry
Web hosting

The Challenge
Improve and ease the scalability and availability of a grown web- hosting infrastructure spanning hundreds of isolated servers.

The Solution
Consolidate data on cloud-integrated and flash-accelerated storage from NetApp.

Benefits

  • Seamless integration with OpenStack Grizzly
  • Improved overall service quality
  • Reduced administrative burden
  • Enhanced and accelerated new cloud services such as backup
  • Meet 40,000 IOPS requirement easily
  • Enjoyed seamless adaption of performance needs through flash technology
  • Able to cope with 30% data growth per year
  • Saved up to 30% of storage capacity with deduplication

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