Q&A with Casey Jones, Vice President of Operations and CTO at Quasar Data Center

Recently we sat down with Casey Jones, Vice President of Operations and CTO at Quasar Data Center, to find out how NetApp solutions are helping Quasar meet performance demands.


Welcome to NetApp 360! Can you tell us about Quasar Data Center and your responsibilities at the company?

Casey Jones: I’m the Vice President of Operations and Chief Technology Officer for Quasar Data Center in Houston, Texas. We’re a Tier III, full service data center, offering a wide range of 24/7/365 services that include cloud, managed IT, data storage, business continuity and co-location services. We cater to customers requiring the highest levels of IT performance to support their demanding business-critical operations. In my role, I’m responsible for the oversight of all facility operations that includes network security, cloud deployments, performance optimization, network architecture and testing, expansion planning, training and independent audits such as SSAE16.


What was the reasoning behind your decision to upgrade your storage infrastructure?

CJ: Our Data Center’s NetApp® storage infrastructure was originally designed to support disaster recovery, but an unforeseen change in customer requirements necessitated that it support a much larger production environment. With an influx of new customers and need to continually meet our exacting service level agreements (SLAs) for low latency, high IOPS and data availability, we determined the best way to do that was by upgrading our NetApp storage systems. 


Additionally, the upgraded storage solution also needed to help contain costs while improving storage agility and efficiency, to allow us to offer competitively priced services.


What course of action did Quasar take?

CJ: To meet these new challenges, we equipped our NetApp storage systems with the latest NetApp Flash Pool technology. We added a NetApp Flash Pool aggregate with SATA and SDD on a FAS2240HA system. By adding the Flash Pool aggregate on each controller, we were able to instantly improve access speeds, latency and data availability. Additionally, by employing NetApp Data ONTAP® we are positioned to support needs of our growing customer base with non-disruptive scale-up and scale-out capabilities. For example, we recently added a FAS3220 equipped with Flash Cache running Data ONTAP in C-Mode allowing us to further increase our scaling ability.


What benefits have you seen since upgrading your storage systems?

CJ: From an operations standpoint, the Flash Pool provided an optimal capacity and performance combination through SATA drives and SSD, eliminating the need to deploy expensive SAS drives and reducing space, power and cooling costs. The Flash Pool aggregates also saved us administrative time and costs, since we were now able to have them up and running in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore, we no longer had to deploy local storage cache on the virtualization servers, saving us $1,000 per server.


The impact to our customers was immediate. Right after we deployed Flash Pool, our customers began calling about the performance gains they were seeing in their hosted environments. They were thrilled. Satisfying our customers means everything to us, and NetApp has helped us strengthen our relationship with them.