Infinidat, a global leader in enterprise petabyte scale data storage solutions, has revolutionised both the storage platform and Customer Experience (CX) for Vox. The cost-effective, high performance, high capacity and 100% availability InfiniBox enterprise storage solution from Infinidat plays a central role in supporting the entire Vox offering. It has improved the performance of all services across the business.
At the start of 2019, Vox faced two significant difficulties around its existing storage platform. Firstly, the five-year maintenance period was coming to an end, and secondly, the company was running out of capacity much faster than anticipated. Adding to these issues, Vox was unable to utilise the full capacity of its existing storage solution, as some 40TB needed to remain ‘unused’ for the system to function.
“We reached the capacity limit of the system faster than anticipated. Coupled with the prohibitively expensive maintenance extension option, we made the decision to perform a technology refresh and replace the platform with a completely new solution,” explained Keith Laaks, Executive Head for Technology, at Vox.
Vox needed a cost-effective, high-performance storage array for its hosting environment in order to assist the business to meet customer demands and rampant data growth. An agile partner, who would be able to deliver quickly, was also a necessity. After evaluating 12 different storage arrays on criteria such as performance, Inputs/Outputs Per Second (IOPS), storage efficiencies, compression, deduplication and redundancy, Vox selected the InfiniBox solution from Infinidat, supplied by local partner and solutions integrator, Datacentrix.
“Datacentrix prides itself on operating within the top three tiers for all its technology partners and provides Tier 1 partner services for Infinidat in the South African market. Our formal customer engagement approach is underpinned by our technical expertise and business advisory services, ensuring best-fit solutions for our clients. As the technical delivery partner throughout the InfiniBox implementation, we delivered all the pre-sales requirements, including workshop sessions with Vox and Infinidat representatives as well as ongoing support,” said Schalk Gouws, Account Manager at Datacentrix.
Two InfiniBox F4304 arrays were deployed, one at each of Vox’s data centres in Johannesburg within the production and Disaster Recovery (DR) environments respectively. For workloads with low Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO), Vox makes use of VMware’s vSphere replication feature.
“These arrays primarily service our virtual servers, database and voice infrastructure, and also play a key role in our data protection strategy. The solution allows seamless integration with our data protection vendor,” said Selby Maake, Cloud Storage and Virtualisation Engineer at Vox Telecom.
“Each array delivers 1.7 Petabytes (PB) of virtual capacity with the actual available capacity variable depending on the compression ratio. This gives us far more storage for an extremely cost-effective rate per terabyte.”
Implementation of the solution began in September 2019 and took one month to complete. Local Infinidat partner, Datacentrix, worked closely with Vox on the installation, helping Vox take the project from racking, stacking and initialisation, through to switching, provisioning, testing, and finally into the production environment. Infinidat also provided certified administration training through Datacentrix, flying in experts from its head office in Israel to South Africa. This was to ensure the data migration was seamless.
“Thanks to excellent relationships, solid teams and effective planning from the outset, the implementation went smoothly and no challenges were experienced. The training and support provided by Infinidat throughout the journey ensured we got it right the first time. The proof of our success came from our customers’ users, who noticed performance improvements without being aware that a storage upgrade had been performed,” said Laaks.
As a hosting provider, Vox must meet customer demand for capacity. The InfiniBox arrays were ideal due to their flexibility when it comes to scale and ease-of-use for critical workloads. Also, they deliver superior performance with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) without compromising the CX. The InfiniBox ultimately empowered Vox with a data-driven competitive advantage at petabyte scale.
“One of the key benefits we have realised results from the low-touch configuration and administration of the InfiniBox arrays. This has allowed us to provision new services and solutions seamlessly and with minimum manual interaction. Our previous solution was laborious to configure, taking up to an hour with multiple steps, increased complexity and room for error. The Infinidat solution takes less than a minute, improving our customer service, whilst freeing up time for our teams to attend to other business needs,” Maake added.
Redundancy is another critical feature of Vox’s operations. Previously, the company experienced some issues with failures so a robust solution was required. InfiniBox’s triple redundancy controllers guarantee uptime, ensuring Vox can always deliver uninterrupted service to both internal and external customers.
Hayden Sadler, Infinidat Country Manager for South Africa added, “With the InfiniBox arrays, Vox currently experiences below one millisecond latencies across the infrastructure and a minimum cache hit ratio of 95%. Vox now benefits from an array capable of significant IOPS and throughput, whereas the previous solution delivered just 40,000 IOPS between 10 and 20 milliseconds. Both of these aspects are extremely valuable for providing superior performance.”
“Aside from our connectivity, broadband access and voice solutions, our cloud offering is a growing element of our business, with impressive market penetration figures. We needed the right platform to support our growth goals and storage is the key ingredient. The InfiniBox solution supports our requirements by delivering the right blend of cost-effective storage and high performance, coupled with the ability to slot seamlessly into our existing infrastructure,” said Laaks.
“Infinidat also provides excellent proactive monitoring and local support through Datacentrix to ensure constant uptime and availability. This is critical to Vox from an operations perspective. Based on our forecasts, we will require additional capacity by the end of 2021. We are extremely happy with the platform and will likely expand our storage with additional InfiniBox arrays, when the time comes,” he concluded.