Quasar Data Center is a Houston-based provider of colocation hosting, cloud computing and managed services. About three years ago Quasar had a customer specifically ask for a NetApp solution, so they implemented a NetApp FAS2240-4 running in 7-Mode to support the customer’s virtual workloads. That system did really well, and showed Quasar the capability of the NetApp platform as a whole. Quasar liked what they read about clustered Data ONTAP in terms of scalability and upgradeability, so when they decided to implement their second NetApp system, they went with a two-node FAS3220 dual-chassis configuration.
They thought 7-Mode was easy, but clustered Data ONTAP was even easier and a better fit. It provided the ability to quickly create volumes and move them nondisruptively between different types of storage media.
Figure 1) Quasar clustered Data ONTAP deployment.
Quasar upgraded their 7-Mode systems to clustered ONTAP themselves and it was very straightforward. Since all the workloads on the FAS2240 were virtualized, they first used VAAI for NFS in conjunction with vol move to reposition workloads on the FAS3220. Then they used VMware Storage vMotion to move all the running workloads from the FAS2240 to the FAS3220 cluster. After that, they wiped the FAS2240 and installed clustered Data ONTAP, along with the necessary 10 Gigabit Ethernet cards, and added it to the existing cluster. To finish, they used a combination of Storage vMotion and simple volume copies to move the workloads back to the FAS2240 nodes. It was a painless and easy process.
Quasar has the FAS3220 configured with SAS storage and the FAS2240 configured with SATA. The FAS3220 has Flash Cache, while the FAS2240 uses Flash Pool technology. These flash options reduce their latency about 80% versus disk alone.
As a service provider, downtime is a showstopper. With the high-availability infrastructure and nondisruptive operations, clustered Data ONTAP not only provides excellent availability, it eliminates the need for planned downtime. Quasar can scale their cluster, upgrade software, and perform other tasks without disrupting customers. As a result, they’re able to take on new and larger customers, and can offer higher service-level agreements. Clustered Data ONTAP was the competitive differentiator that they needed.