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Public cloud architecture, TwinStrata help one company avoid upgrade

TwinStrata’s CloudArray public cloud architecture helped the Russell Lands development company avoid an expensive storage upgrade.

After flirting with the possibility of running out of space on his company's file servers every year, Russell Lands IT director Cliffe Grappe knew he had to make a change. His options were to add an expensive storage array or turn to a public storage cloud.

The cloud was a cheaper and easier option for the Alexander City, Ala.-based recreational developer. It was also the unproven option. So Grappe took advantage of TwinStrata's free 1 TB virtual CloudArray offer for Veeam Backup & Replication  in order to test a public cloud architecture. After running a CloudArray gateway for six weeks without a performance hit, he upgraded to the full service.

"I knew we'd hit the free 1 TB immediately, but it gave us a chance to test it," he said. "Performance was our biggest question mark. Would anybody notice the difference when they called up documents? There was no give there, if it was slower, people were going to complain," Grappe said. "After the first two weeks of setting up the cache, I hadn't heard anybody complain. And my people like to let me know when things are slow."

Russell Lands has about 200 users with file shares connected to the public storage cloud, including executives in the corporate office.

"I don't have to worry about how big my hard drives have to be and have a backup offsite, and I don’t have to worry about backup windows," Grappe said.

Grappe said his file servers were 90% full, necessitating a storage change or upgrade.

"I was staring at having to upgrade a server for capacity, and then I'd have another year or so before I had to upgrade again," he said. "We had to add more space and either go with an expensive SAN or do something else. We were doubling our data size every year-and-a-half. I could get a server twice as big, but it would only last two years and I’d have to do it all over again."

Before taking advantage of the free offer, Grappe  looked at Nasuni's NAS cloud services, he said. Nasuni determines which service provider its customers use; Russell Lands uses Connectria as its cloud provider, and Grappe said he likes to keep his options open.

"It was a little more work on my side getting set up with a service provider," he said, "but I didn't like that Nasuni was sitting in the middle."

Today Grappe has a 300 GB cache file size on the CloudArray appliance and about 2 TB in the cloud, but he expects to pump much more into the cloud to meet increasing capacity demands.

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