Getting ahead with HCIS

This article was first published in Manufacturers’ Monthly in May 2018.

The magazine interviewed us, taking a look at how adopting Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is transforming a company’s cloud services and ability to offer data security to customers.

Consultel Cloud was launched in 2015 as its clouds services division to help their customers understand the new technology landscape.

After thoroughly investigating different infrastructures, a decision was finally made to partner with NetApp to enable customers to benefit from the comprehensive range of cloud portfolio offered by the company.

Leveraging Data Fabric–ready products from the NetApp portfolio, including NetApp Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI), Consultel Cloud built its cloud platform inside Equinix. The new platform provides customers with choice in cloud connectivity and the flexibility to scale seamlessly according to their business needs.

Today, Consultel Cloud leverages NetApp HCI in Equinix data centres across Melbourne, Sydney, New York, London and Singapore. The Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric provides access to more than 180 cloud service providers, including SAP, Microsoft Azure, and AWS. This infrastructure eliminates bottle- necks, guarantees data security because data never leaves Equinix, and provides access to any cloud.

Within NetApp HCI, Consultel Cloud can manage mixed workloads, provide customers with the flexibility to scale up and down as needed, and guarantee performance.

Manufacturers’ Monthly spoke to Benjamin Molloy, division lead at Consultel Cloud, and Matthew Hurford, chief technology officer of NetApp to discover how NetApp’s platform provides customers flexible, risk-free cloud connectivity.

MM: What is the nature of the relationship between Consultel Cloud and NetApp?

MH: Consultel Cloud and NetApp have been working together for over 12 months. The relationship started with Consultel Cloud purchasing our next-generation storage platform – SolidFire – that simplifies operational management and provides guaranteed service levels to all of their customers. With the investment in NetApp’s HCI solution, built on the SolidFire data management platform, Consultel Cloud have a platform that enables them to build a differentiated solution – providing flexibility, scale and unique service benefits.

MM: Which industries are targeted with the HCI solutions offered by Consultel Cloud and why?

BM: Consultel Clouds HCI as a service is perfect for industries such as manufacturing that require highly available and high performing infrastructure that has guaranteed performance (guaranteed metrics).

Through the adoption of the HCIS infrastructure, does this spell the demise of traditional storage systems?

MH: While HCIS certainly provides unique benefits, by reducing the complexity and therefore the cost of management of the IT platform, we do need to see this as the end of the traditional storage platform. Customers are demanding more from their vendors than “just storage” and NetApp is responding with NetApp HCI, but we are also seeing huge growth in dedicated “all-flash” storage systems because they provide tangible business benefits. This combined with demand for new types of storage solutions including object storage means we still see demand for traditional storage systems in the ANZ market.

In terms of investment in the new infrastructure, is it true that the investment in HCIS could easily exceed an upfront investment? If so, what would be the advice around this to ensure smooth transition in?

BM: Consultel Cloud now deploys new environments for customers that are faster and more cost effective than ever before. The faster we can deploy them, the faster customers can implement into their businesses. With a templated approach based upon our own infrastructure, Consultel Cloud can deliver a proof of concept in days and we have shortened deployment time for a new environment from seven weeks to just four.

Moreover, we have minimised data migration time. When we migrate data from any stream, be it a physical server, a virtual server, etc., we create a replication from the source to the destination and then we only cut it across when we are happy with it, with the actual outage time being less than an hour. This methodology ensures that there is minimum down time as well as guarantees zero data loss.

What are the various use cases of HCIS in an organisation? What are the cost benefits?

MH: HCIS provides a number of key benefits that span the current virtualised workloads and the containerised solutions now being developed. The HCIS platform is all about providing business agility, reducing time to market for application development and reducing the complexity of the platform so that customers can focus on the things that matter; their business and the services they offer to their customers.

When you run a HCIS platform as a cloud service, the customer receives the benefits of the reduced management effort in the form of a competitively priced cloud service – that’s exactly what Consultel Cloud have built with NetApp HCI.

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