iON Solutions Case Study
A managed service provider adopts SimpliVity’s market leading hyperconverged infrastructure platform, OmniCube™, as its next generation infrastructure to drive down costs and radically improve backup and DR capabilities.
iON Solutions provides managed hosting, managed IT, virtualization services, and technology products to customers of all sizes across a wide range of industries nationwide from its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. The company prides itself in “working smarter” by leveraging a state-of-the-art infrastructure to bring affordable technologies and resources to its customers.
BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Data Protection, Technology Refresh, and Data Consolidation
iON Solutions’ customers rely on the company to provide critical IT services, so availability, flexibility, and data protection are paramount in its IT infrastructure. The company pledges to minimize risk, drive cost savings, improve security, and to maximize efficiency for greener computing in commercial organizations and in government, so when it came time for a server refresh, President Derek Fowler decided to cast a wider net and consider new technologies for the company’s aging infrastructure.
The company’s infrastructure included eight legacy servers and a Dell EqualLogic SAN, along with two backup SANs running Veeam Backup and Replication. But while infrastructure modernization was the main driver for the project, Fowler said that backup and disaster recovery were also considerable pain points for the organization that needed to be addressed.
“We need to ensure that our customers can recover from a significant disaster as quickly as possible, but with our old infrastructure and backup methodology, the most recent backup data could easily be a day old,” said Fowler. “We needed to improve our RPOs and RTOs because our customers entrust us with their most valuable applications and associated data. We could not continue on with our existing infrastructure that did not deliver the assurance our customers demand.”
After searching through a variety of converged offerings, iON Solutions decided to purchase OmniCube™, SimpliVity’s federated and hyperconverged infrastructure platform based on its “datacenter-in-a-box” approach along with its radically simplified and impactful backup and disaster recovery attributes. With OmniCube, iON is taking advantage of critical functionality that is not available with any other “hyperconverged” infrastructure offering. iON and its clients are now benefiting from OmniCube’s built-in cross-site data protection and disaster recovery capabilities that are VM-centric, policy-based, and automated.
“When I first looked at OmniCube, I immediately saw the benefits of selecting a single platform that delivers not just server and storage functionality, but offers the functionality of the entire infrastructure stack. Following a quick proof of concept, my team quickly realized how we could leverage it in our environment. We saw the value of its “all-in-one” capabilities and were able to upgrade our infrastructure, in terms of compute and storage, while significantly improving our backup and recovery capabilities, reducing RPT and RTO, and saving significant time and costs in managing the process.” said Fowler. “Also, because of OmniCube’s inline deduplicaton and compression, we were able to avoid deploying any other WAN optimization device.”
Fowler said that since implementing OmniCube, iON Solutions has been able to eliminate multiple legacy servers, along with all of the SAN infrastructure for backup data. With OmniCube, managed completely from within the familiar VMware vCenter GUI, administration is far more streamlined and simple because the company’s administrator no longer has to use multiple interfaces to manage all the disparate products in his old infrastructure.
“With OmniCube, I’m spending far less time on management and administration,” Fowler said. “But the most dramatic difference has been our ability to recover information quickly in the event of a disaster.”
Now, iON Solutions backs up each virtual machine in its environment every hour and retains two days of hourly backups, thirty-one days of daily backups, and an infinite number of monthly backups.
Fowler said that recently, an iON Solutions customer needed to recover data lost due to a virus and the company was able to deliver incredibly fast results due to OmniCube’s native VM-centric data protection and automation, along with its Data Virtualization Platform (DVP), which provides high performance, real-time deduplication, compression, and optimization for virtual machines.
iON Solutions learned about the issue at 12:15 p.m. and its engineers were able to roll back to the last backup, performed at noon, and by 12:30 p.m., all its customers’ data was completely restored.
“The customer really needed to gain access to the data quickly and was able to be up and running, with full access to its data, within fifteen minutes. Before OmniCube, it would have taken at least four hours of manual work to restore the information, and even then, it would have been old data,” he said.
Fowler recognized that the underlying data virtualization technology powering OmniCube is the key differentiator. “We looked at other solutions, but none of the other converged products delivered the integrated deduplication, compression, and optimization as well as full gamut of functionality with simplified management that OmniCube does,” he said.