Start-up Zetark kickstarts its enterprise cloud storage business with IBM

Deploying a fully integrated infrastructure with Linux, StorHouse and KVM in just two weeks

Published on 14-May-2013

"Thanks to IBM PureFlex System, we went live in two weeks rather than the two months it would have taken with a conventional infrastructure solution." - Maxime Aernout, General Manager, Zetark

Customer:
Zetark

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
France

Solution:
Flex System Manager, Flex System running hypervisor - KVM, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System x240, PureFlex, PureFlex Express, PureFlex System running hypervisor - KVM, PureFlex System running Linux - Red Hat, PureSystems, Storage: Storwize V7000

Overview

Established at the end of 2012, Zetark is a specialist provider of cloud-based storage and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions. Zetark was founded to offer hosted data storage services to local and regional businesses of all sizes.

Business need:
Start-up Zetark had an ambitious deadline to bring its innovative cloud storage offering to market. It wanted to rapidly deploy an infrastructure combining storage performance, flexibility and efficiency.

Solution:
Zetark chose IBM® PureFlex System™ with Red Hat Linux, open source KVM virtualization technology and FileTek StorHouse software to power its new strategic platform for enterprise cloud storage services.

Benefits:
Full deployment in two weeks instead of the anticipated two months for a typical infrastructure; PureFlex seamlessly integrates hardware and software, offering easy deployment and management.

Case Study

To read a French version of this case study, click here

Established at the end of 2012, Zetark is a specialist provider of cloud-based storage and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions. Zetark was founded to offer hosted data storage services to local and regional businesses of all sizes.

As a start-up business, Zetark needed to create a scalable IT infrastructure rapidly and at low cost. Energy efficiency was also an important consideration, both for environmental and cost reasons. Maxime Aernout, General Manager of Zetark, explains: “We had set ourselves an ambitious deadline for launching our innovative cloud storage service. It was vital to select a highly integrated solution so that we could hit the ground running, and we wanted to achieve the lowest possible energy cost per petabyte of storage.”

After considering and rejecting a more traditional – and therefore less integrated – solution, Zetark chose IBM PureFlex System Express edition and FileTek StorHouse as its strategic platform for the future: a pre-configured and pre-integrated solution including compute, storage, systems management and networking components.

Rapid deployment
The PureFlex System at Zetark includes two IBM Flex System™ x240 compute nodes and one IBM Flex System Manager™ node. The x240 nodes are each equipped with two Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors, which offer the best combination of performance, built-in capabilities and cost-effectiveness. It also includes an IBM Storwize® V7000 storage system with both solid-state drives (SSDs) and conventional hard disks. The PureFlex solution is connected to an IBM System Storage® TS3500 Tape Library with IBM System Storage TS1140 Tape Drives.

“We had initially planned to use VMware virtualization on standard rack-mount servers, but then we saw a demonstration of the IBM PureFlex technology,” says Maxime Aernout. “It was immediately clear that PureFlex would save us huge amounts of set-up time, and we decided to deploy it with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and open source KVM virtualization, as this was a lower-cost option than VMware. This solution gave us the combination of servers, storage, networking and management tools in a single package. All we needed to do was add tape storage.”

Zetark deployed the PureFlex solution in its new data center in Dunkerque, and within just two weeks was ready to go to market with its new cloud storage solution. “We offer a convenient and secure way for businesses to share and synchronize data,” comments Maxime Aernout. “Our customers know that their data remains in France – which is important for legal reasons – and is protected by state-of-the-art technologies. Thanks to IBM PureFlex System, we went live in two weeks rather than the two months it would have taken with a conventional infrastructure solution.”

He adds, “As well as saving time in the initial deployment, PureFlex gives us an integrated solution that is much easier to manage and that is supported from end to end by a single vendor: IBM.”

Fast and efficient storage
The IBM Storwize V7000 within the PureFlex solution provides high-performance virtualized storage that Zetark controls and provisions using Flex System Manager. “The Easy Tier® feature of Storwize is excellent, automatically moving data between SSDs and SAS disks to get the best performance,” says Maxime Aernout.

The cloud storage environment at Zetark uses FileTek StorHouse software to provide file-level virtualization and policy-based storage management between the company’s disk and tape resources. “StorHouse automatically migrates files between the disk and tape tiers according to how frequently they are accessed while providing direct access to the data regardless of where it is stored,” says Maxime Aernout. “The Zetark cloud which combines IBM hardware and FileTek software allows us to leverage tape and that gives us excellent price-performance with extremely low power requirements. We are consuming just 750 watts for 1 PB of storage and the system also provides backup and advanced data integrity protection for long term storage. Within the disk tier, IBM Easy Tier then transparently optimizes the performance at the block level by moving data between the SSD and SAS tiers.”

The FileTek StorHouse software complements IBM’s TS3500 Tape Library with its TS1140 Tape Drives perfectly, providing rapid access to files – typically within just 15 seconds – at low power consumption. “At the outset, we wanted a storage solution that could grow enormously but through small incremental investments,” comments Maxime Aernout. “The TS3500 offers precisely that, enabling us to evolve non-disruptively. The solution also allows us to use the IBM Jaguar [TS1140] tape technology, which is highly efficient and therefore very important in helping us hit our energy-usage targets. It also allows us to reformat media to take advantage of higher capacities in future. With the IBM tapes and our FileTek technology, we can store huge amounts of data at extremely low cost, yet still give our customers rapid and reliable access to their files.”

Powerful integrated software
Using IBM Flex System Manager, Zetark can rapidly provision new virtual servers for specific customer requirements, and can even migrate live servers from one physical PureFlex node to another. The company also deployed IBM SmartCloud® Entry Solution for System x®, using the solution to create a self-service private-cloud option for customers. With SmartCloud Entry, Zetark customers can use a web portal to configure and start a new, fully configured Linux virtual server within just 30 seconds.

“We have customers who need to deploy virtual servers very rapidly – for example, to test a new service, or to convert a batch of videos from one format to another,” comments Maxime Aernout. “SmartCloud Entry enables us to respond to their needs, and gives us the ability to do granular billing based on their precise usage of memory, disk and processing resources. Our primary offering is centered around storage, but we also have the flexibility to offer a broader set of IaaS solutions.”

He adds, “The combination of the Linux KVM hypervisor with IBM SmartCloud Entry and IBM Systems Director VMControl software enables us to run a highly flexible yet low-cost infrastructure.”

Long-term vision
Zetark aims to differentiate itself from major national and international cloud service providers through value-add services that focus on a direct and personal relationship with each customer, bolstered by local presence and support.

“Our customers want the confidence that comes from dealing with real people rather than a faceless internet service,” explains Maxime Aernout. “This human dimension goes hand-in-hand with robust service levels and enterprise-class infrastructure from IBM. An important factor in our choice of PureFlex is its long-term roadmap and the vision from IBM of how the platform will develop over the coming years. We know that the continued integration of hardware and software into a single, flexible platform is something that will give our customers ongoing confidence in our services.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Flex System Manager, Flex System running hypervisor - KVM, Flex System running Linux - Red Hat, Flex System x240, PureFlex Express, PureFlex System running hypervisor - KVM, PureFlex System running Linux - Red Hat, Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000, Storage: TS1140 Tape Drive, Storage: TS3500 Tape Library

Software:
IBM SmartCloud Entry for Flex system

Operating system:
Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 Compagnie IBM France 17 avenue de l’Europe 92275 Bois-Colombes Cedex Produced in France May 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System, IBM Flex System Manager, IBM SmartCloud, PureFlex, PureSystems, Storwize, System Storage and System x are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.