America’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK) journey to storage consolidation started with an archive project. ATK’s mission is to make curious cooks confident cooks; which they do through a series of online content that includes videos and images. The rich media library is a critical asset for ATK, and they need to retain it indefinitely. To accomplish this goal, they use StorONE to manage over 2PBs of storage hardware, but unlike a typical archive solution, their journey with StorONE didn’t end with the archive project.
Storage Consolidation starts with Archive
Creating a reliable and affordable archive was the most pressing need for ATK. While the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform is often used for high-performance workloads like databases and VMware, it is also ideal for Archive. Archives contain discrete files and storing those files on high-capacity hard disk drives enables customers to lower costs. Maintaining a low cost and data integrity are critical success factors for archive projects, even though the two are often at odds.
A customer with an archive project can leverage StorONE’s performance-impact free snapshots to create an immutable copy of data stored on the archive and to repurpose old data for new use cases, without risking the original file itself. The customer can also leverage StorONE’s efficient storage engine to utilize 90%+ of the available capacity on high-density hard disk drives without impacting performance.
Additionally, with StorONE’s vRAID, customers don’t have to stress through the long RAID rebuild times (sometimes measured in days) of these high-density drives. With vRAID, you can complete a rebuild in less than two hours with even the highest-density drives. Finally, with StorONE’s built-in replication, you can easily make a second copy of that data to ensure protection from a site disaster.
Storage Consolidation’s Next Step is Backup
Although many StorONE customers start their consolidation journey by using our Enterprise Storage Platform as a backup storage target, for ATK, this was the second step in their journey. ATK uses Rubrik as their backup software and directs those backups to their StorONE managed storage. ATK has found the cost of storing backups on-premises far less expensive than storing them in the public cloud.
Using StorONE as a backup storage target, especially when using a modern backup software application like Rubrik or Veeam, enables customers to take full advantage of their capabilities. The StorONE flash tier quickly ingests the variable block size IO pattern typical in block-level incremental backups. The same advantages of high-capacity utilization and advanced RAID technologies apply in the backup use case just as well as they apply to the archive use case.
Modern backup software applications add one unique feature, the ability to rapidly recover using a technique commonly referred to as recovery-in-place or instant recovery. This feature instantiates a virtual machine’s data store directly on the backup storage device, saving them the time usually required to transfer the VM’s data over the network. StorONE’s intelligent auto-tiering technology ensures that data recovered via an instant recovery operation is instantiated on our flash tier, enabling the customer to experience production-class performance and availability for their recovered VMs.
Storage Consolidation continues with File Services
The next step in the ATK consolidation journey was using StorONE’s Enterprise Storage Platform for file services. While StorONE was initially brought in to augment its existing network-attached storage (NAS) systems, ATK enjoys the extra capacity, availability, and performance of StorONE’s SMB and NFS sharing capabilities. Once again, StorONE’s data availability and protection features ensure that the current production data is safe and secure.
Storage Consolidation’s Current Step is Virtualization
ATK is currently expanding its use of StorONE to host some of its VMware VMs to offload some of that work from their other production storage systems. Using StorONE for this use case also enables ATK to improve their business continuity by counting on StorONE as a production stand-in storage system if something goes wrong with their aging block storage systems.
Ready for the Future
As ATK looks to the future, they can, with the same storage controllers, expand their flash storage tier to handle high-performance production databases and move their entire VM population to StorONE. Their current configuration can deliver hundreds of thousands of IOPS and scale to double-digit petabytes of capacity.
Storage consolidation projects always look good on the whiteboard, but they are often complex to implement and almost impossible to sustain. StorONE makes consolidation easy. Instead of replacing several storage systems at once, start with your most significant pain point. Then as you gain confidence in the platform, add workloads as their storage hardware reaches the end of life. This practical storage consolidation process allows you to react to today’s pressing storage problems while laying the foundation for a strategic storage consolidation strategy.
Watch our on-demand webinar with George Crump, StorONE’s Chief Product Strategist with America’s Test Kitchen’s Director of IT, Dustin Brandt. During the session, they’ll discuss how Brandt started using StorONE as a cost-effective archive and how his use of StorONE now extends to backup, NAS, and VMware workloads. Learn how this small IT staff can simply address a wide range of storage use cases with StorONE.