Atlantech Online, Inc. enables businesses to communicate with their customers and each other, and local and states governments to serve citizens.
Founded in 1995, the Silver Spring, MD-based public utility provides telephony, high-speed Internet and data connectivity services, website and managed server hosting, and collocation data-center services. Relying on a 4Tb/s fiber backbone, the enterprise prides itself on the HA of its many services, achieving this goal, in part, by operating a redundant second datacenter in Rockville, MD.
Providing businesses and governments with critical functionality like voice and Internet services demands reliable, high-speed storage. Atlantech operates a variety of applications and databases like MS SQL server, MySQL, and Postscript databases in VMs to store customer data records and track customer usage for billing. Moreover, it applies business intelligence to its data streams, furthering the need for fast storage. For example, it delivers call routing to determine the optimal paths for the best rates for local, long-distance, and international calls. The enterprise also applies analytics to detect fraud and prevent costly hacking.
“Our systems scan thousands of calls daily to determine if there’s suspicious activity that could compromise our customers’ communications,” said H.F. Chou, CIO, Atlantech. “We need storage with very high throughput to analyze torrents of data and look for patterns that indicate malicious behaviors.“
Atlantech, however, was relying on storage solutions with traditional spinning disks.
“Our spindle-based SAN couldn’t deliver the in/out performance that we required going forward,” said Chou. “It was also at the end of its lifecycle when disks start to fail. We needed a robust storage upgrade at both of our datacenters.“
Two JetStor 826iXD 26 bay AFAs from AC&NC
Atlantech met its needs by deploying two JetStor All-flash 826iXD storage arrays, one at each datacenter. The flash drives in the platforms provide greater throughput over the enterprise’s legacy spinning disks, resulting in more performance. Latency dropped from 18-20ms on average on the spindles to sub-5 milliseconds on the all-flash platforms.
“We now can handle large volumes of requests and data more consistently,” said Chou. “Additionally, our applications are more responsive as wait times are much reduced. There’s simply no comparison between our legacy spinning disks and our flash drives.“
Atlantech protects its business information by replicating data between its 2 JetStor All-flash platforms, and redundant links further ensure availability. The chassis also provide safeguards such as dual-active controllers, maximizing utilization of system resources. With multiple interfaces into the environment, each controller can assume all services if the other fails.
Atlantech tuses RAID-5EE technology on its JetStor systems. It not only ensures the recovery of all data should one or even 2 disks fail, it also speeds rebuilds by writing to spare areas reserved on each disk. Writes are therefore to all the drives, eliminating a traditional RAID bottleneck.
As an added benefit, AFAs reduce energy consumption and produce less heat than traditional storage systems, improving efficiencies and lowering costs.
“AC&NC made our enhanced storage architecture possible,” explained Chou. “We always knew that we’d upgrade to all flash storage someday, and AC&NC made the economics feasible.“
Atlantech installed a JetStor all-flash 826iXD array into similar environments at its 2 datacenters. Each 2U device was initially provisioned with 12 1.9TB SSDs and then populated with 26 SSDs, providing 49TB of capacity. Each array houses 22TB of data. The JetStor platforms have redundant 10Gb iSCSI links to a pair of Juniper Ex4550 switches at the data centers. The switches at each site connect to HP Proliant DL 360 servers through 10Gb connections. Additionally, the switches each site connect to a server running the DataCore SANsymphony-V storage virtualization solution.
“DataCore’s SANsymphony-V software allows us to virtualize and manage the data on our JetStor 826iXD arrays,” explained Chou. “DataCore allows us to create VMs on the JetStor platforms and provides our servers with the storage resources they require. With it, we control and optimize our flash storage infrastructures for performance and reliability.“
Data is generated locally at each datacenter, but are replicated to both sites.
“In essence, we have bi-directional backup,” adds Chou. “Because both environments are fully redundant, there is no single point of failure. If one switch fails for any reason, for example, its counterpart immediately assumes all traffic. Moreover, with the redundancy within each JetStor 826iXD chassis and the greater performance of all-flash drives over spinning disks, we’ve achieved highly robust availability and data protection.“
With JetStor All-flash platforms supporting its production, replication, and DR at its data centers, Atlantech will continue to offer customers performance, reliability, and value into the foreseeable future.
“AC&NC makes all-flash storage affordable, giving us the throughput for sophisticated applications like call optimization and fraud analytics,” said Chou. “Our JetStor solutions deliver the features, functionality, and dependability we demanded. Just as importantly, AC&NC stands behind its products.“