VMhosts are one of the UKs fastest growing managed service providers, offering organisations of all sizes, from SMBs to high profile insurance, hotel and charitable organisations, pay as you go virtualisation infrastructure services for applications and data. Their challenge is to meet and exceed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) both for downtime, performance and ease of management on behalf of their customers whilst ensuring all services remain competitively priced.
VMhosts is a fast-growing technology company delivering high performing solutions to support customers’ business operations in the UK and across Europe. Driven by a customer-centric approach, VMhosts are able to reach customers’ expectations in terms of quality of service at a realistic price.
VMhosts consulted their trusted go-to technology partner and DataCore Cloud Aggregator, Vesper, to whiteboard a solution that would allow VMhosts to offer a platform for scalability, flexibility, assured reliability and blistering performance. Vesper did this through recommendation of their new Vesper All Flash appliance; combining the power of two world leaders into one plug & play box Intel’s® latest server technology hardware overlaid with DataCore’s™ Software-Defined Storage (SDS) layer.
Blistering performance – up to 10x as fast as the previous environment – for increased customer productivity
Continuous availability on the VMhost platform
An all-in-one solution that flexes and scales for hassle free managed service provision
The Benefits in Detail
Through two state-of-the-art data centres located 12 miles apart in Welwyn Garden City and Enfield, VMhosts help their customers maintain mission critical business solutions with high availability and protection assured. Currently offering their hosted platform to over 50 organisations, which vary in performance I/O and data volumes, VMhosts customers universally have one desire; minimal downtime. Some customers require a continual 24×7 trading window (such as an insurance company trading in both UK and Australia) so VMhosts have to be certain of meeting their 99.95% SLA customer uptime. Concerned that their former storage infrastructure would be unable to guarantee and grow with future service levels, VMhosts called in technology partner, Vesper to recommend and articulate the components required a flexible, reliable platform that would minimise downtime.
No strangers to the benefits that SDS purports to offer, VMhosts had been courted by three other storage suppliers but had failed to receive the required availability reassurances in comprehensive testing. One scenario revealed significant data loss as a hardware component failed in the cluster. Vesper’s proposal to run customer Virtual Machines (VMs) alongside Vesper’s SDS pre-enabled and integrated storage appliances seemed to offer a logical cost-effective path to meeting uptime levels.
Michael Custance, Senior Virtualisation Consultant at VMhosts recalls. “Testing in our hosted environment revealed that running dedicated hardware appliances complete with SDS functionality would be a win-win situation using a dual node, active/active configuration. The deployment of these two Vesper appliances would essentially allow us to offer maintenance without risk to match different organisations’ needs.”
Rollout Commences: The Vesper Appliance Difference
Rollout of two x 25TB Vesper All Flash appliances in the Enfield data centre commenced in Spring. Onsite installation was fast and trouble-free as the hardware and software were fully integrated pre-install. For continued single point of assurance, Vesper continue to provide VMhosts with a single line of support.
Increased performance was the first notable winner. After install, client application response times increased 10 fold, due to the blistering combination of Intel® Optane™ as tier 1 storage backed by an all Intel NVMe capacity tier to guarantee extreme data throughput layered with DataCore’s caching algorithms and the software’s unique parallel I/O architecture. One knock-on effect of the set and forget performance boost sits within VMhosts own benchmarking environment—the ultimate test bed for perspective new customers. The new extreme platform performance has become a showcase to convince these prospective customers just how fast their data could be served—directly delivering ROI for the company.
Scale-Up, Scale-Out, Vesper’s Ultimate Flex right for the VMhosts Service Model:
With a pay as you grow licencing model, the Vesper appliances offer VMhosts the ultimate scale and flex platform, easily adding individual disks as needed via the DataCore management GUI. This flex is critical to MSPs, providing customers with in-built reassurance that should their needs spike, VMhosts’ MSP infrastructure can ably cope. For instance, one well-known VMhosts Not-for-Profit customer hosts a famous annual fundraising day in the UK when millions of transactions are processed within a 24-hour period.
Michael elaborates further – “We had come from a fairly restricted environment when it came to carving up storage space and provisioning extra disk, so the addition of SDS suddenly offered us the ultimate management layer, right here at our fingertips. Meaning when we are now asked for an extra 10TB of storage we can confidently state, “No problem, it’s just a few clicks away.”
The software licencing model also serves VMhosts well, starting low and building, paying only for the data that is presented to VMware rather than paying for multiple copies of data offered in other subscriptions. The HA two node configuration also reduces capex as most high-availability platforms require at least three, or sometimes four nodes, to start.
Michael concludes, “For us, the ability of the software to scale has given us a great start point into SDS. The high availability and performance are compelling and we will shortly replicating the installation success in our Welwyn Garden City data centre.”
The benefits at a glance:
- Out of the box cornerstone appliance solution for MSP data centres
- High availability for 50 organisations
- Consumption on demand – scalability and flex
- Blistering performance that has driven interest of prospective new customers
- Cost efficiencies with less nodes required
- One stop support through Vesper for this powerhouse combination of Intel and DataCore
Senior Virtualisation Consultant at VMhosts
This was a migration to secure future flexibility and service levels for our customers and provide granular control that our existing arrays simply could not offer. Our go-to technology provider, Vesper, suggested that we stretch test their new Vesper Intel based appliance overlaid with DataCore’s Software Defined Storage (SDS) to give us the flex we need, now and in the foreseeable future.
The Vesper offer is simple: to give more efficient and seamlessly scalable server, network and storage solutions for less. With Vesper you get leading expertise in applying open technology principles. You’re free from lockins to specific vendors. Your solution fits your business perfectly whatever its size, and continues to do so as you evolve. The result is optimised performance, total scalability, lower cost and competitive advantage.
VMhosts is a technology focused company delivering high performing solutions to support customers’ business operations in the UK and across Europe. With a customer-centric approach, VMhosts are able to reach customers’ expectations in terms quality of service at realistic prices.