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Cleversafe object storage, Nasuni support firm's private cloud

Hogarth Worldwide stores petabytes of data on a Cleversafe private storage cloud, and uses Nasuni filers to protect and archive content.

With multimedia content created and distributed across international sites, Hogarth Worldwide is a prime candidate for cloud storage. However, the startup found public clouds would cost too much over time, so it built a private storage cloud for backup and archiving.

The international marketing company replaced its tapes with a cloud that uses Cleversafe Inc. object storage and Nasuni Corp. cloud filers.

"We were a startup," said Mark Keller, CTO at Hogarth Worldwide Ltd. "We didn't have an established a global backup system. But it was clear as we expanded, we needed something. We looked at Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services [AWS], but those two solutions wouldn't give us the price-performance we were looking for."

Founded in 2008, Hogarth has grown from 14 employees in London to 1,700 workers in 20 countries. The firm's marketing services involve global advertising campaigns that include print, television and digital ads.

"We create lots of content in multiple languages," Keller said. "We do global versioning and restore backup assets in a centralized way around the world."

Hogarth creates content at studios in London, the United States and Singapore, and it has four colocation data centers in London and New York. Its cloud implementation operates on Cleversafe object storage-based nodes, which reside in nine international sites. Hogarth also has eight Nasuni filers that work as front-end cache for the Cleversafe nodes and are used to back up and archive media assets.

The Nasuni filers and Cleversafe nodes are part of unified data storage hub connected via 10 gigabit Ethernet networks. The Cleversafe nodes manage approximately 3 PB of raw storage -- 2.5 PB useable.

"We don't treat backup and archiving as separate entities because of production constraints," Keller said. "We are consuming storage at the rate of 100 TBs a month."

Keller said Hogarth considered an on-premise EMC Isilon network-attached storage (NAS) system, as well as Amazon and Microsoft public cloud storage, but did not find them cost effective for Hogarth's production environment.

"The public cloud doesn't charge for uploads," he said. "They do charge for downloads and the cost is not insignificant. We were looking for cheap, highly resilient storage."

Cleversafe object storage uses erasure coding for data protection. Its Information Dispersal Algorithms separate data into slices that are distributed through the network to storage nodes. Cleversafe distributes slices to separate disks, storage nodes and geographic locations, and retrieves data from a subset of the slices. No single copy of the data resides in a single storage node, and only a subset of nodes needs to be available to fully retrieve the full copy of the data.

Hogarth's production data consists of high-resolution video created as large advertising campaigns. The video is accessed and transferred from country to country. The Nasuni filers sit on the local network and act as local cache that holds the most active data, while presenting data to the Cleversafe nodes.

"That is the core benefit," said Keller. "If we lose a site, we still can access the network and the data. Cleversafe is installed in various locations, so if anything goes offline, the system still is running."

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