How Brandworkz Built High-Performance, Simple, Scalable Storage with Zadara
1. What was the driving force behind the project – what business or technology challenge needed to be addressed?
UK-based Brandworkz selected Zadara, provider of the Enterprise Data Cloud, to support the expansion of its hosting infrastructure on AWS. With greater flexibility, lower costs and enterprise-class features, including disaster recovery, Brandworkz was able to address the changing demands of its business and to grow as-needed to support its client base.
Brandworkz delivers a cloud-based brand management platform that allows companies to more effectively and efficiently manage its marketing assets, enabling brand consistency for its customers. This platform allows users to share marketing content, create and edit artwork, and collaborate with colleagues on a global basis.
Brandworkz customers see greater success by communicating its core message consistently through every channel, depending on the organisation, to consistently deliver at a moment’s notice while demanding the highest levels of customer service. To support these business goals, Brandworkz has built an IT infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS) compute resources.
Brandworkz’ challenges and requirements included:
• The ability to deploy storage resources to meet demanding requirements, such as high-performance, volume-based storage to support video and other file types
• The ability to support a mix of both Windows and Linux servers
• The provision of substantial storage volumes beyond the 16TB limit imposed by many of the vendors Brandworkz evaluated
• The assurance that the data was natively protected by RAID
• The ability to support increasingly demanding customer requirements
2. How did the solution address the challenges and were there any particularly innovative aspects that made it stand out?
During the research phase, Brandworkz was especially interested in meeting with Zadara, as the organisation works with AWS to provide enterprise-grade storage services that connect directly to the AWS compute infrastructure.
“What impressed us about Zadara is that they didn’t have any of the limitations that we found with the other vendors,” said Jens Lundgaard, CEO of Brandworkz. “We were also impressed by the fact that Zadara was available near each of the AWS data centres where we have hosting in both the US and Europe.”
There were a number of other benefits to commissioning Zadara for this deployment. In a market saturated with cloud service providers, most vendors sign up new customers into lengthy contracts with no stringent service level assurances. But Zadara works differently to its competitors, delivering its hosted infrastructure as a service either on premises, in the cloud, or a combination thereof, with no upfront payments and no vendor lock-ins.
As Zadara structures its solutions around the customer, Brandworkz was provided with enterprise cloud storage as a service, and features such as:
• NAS and SAN service with NFS, CIFS/AD and iSCSI interfaces
• Dual HA controllers
• Dedicated high performance drives
• Additional features such as: snapshots, replication, thin provisioning, encryption etc.
These capabilities deliver tremendous support in terms of business innovation for enterprises. This was also the case for Brandworkz, as the combination of industry-standard hardware and patented Zadara software delivered powerful enterprise-class data storage and management — with the convenience of the cloud, enabling greater business agility.
One of Zadara’s key differentiators is that the company offers the best of both worlds: all of the features expected from enterprise storage management, combined with the cost-effectiveness and accessibility of a managed cloud service. The ‘noisy neighbour’ problem is a common challenge occurring post migration when a cloud infrastructure co-tenant monopolises bandwidth, throughput and other resources, resulting in applications and virtual machines to suffer from performance and latency issues. With Zadara however, customers can benefit from a multi-tenant environment, while also enjoying effective insulation from the ‘noisy neighbour’ problem.
Another considerable advantage for Brandworkz in choosing Zadara was the full flexibility of choice provided when it came to the installation, as all protocols, data types and locations were supported, with totally customisable enterprise grade performance and dedicated resources. This enables Brandworkz to make adjustments as the business continues to grow and needs shift.
There have been no surprising escalating cloud costs experienced, thanks to Zadara’s usage-based pricing model. This feature means that Brandworkz only need pay for the storage it consumes, another flexibility feature allowing the company to scale its capacity up and down as required.
Finally, in terms of support, Brandworkz saves considerable time for on-going maintenance of its storage system as Zadara delivers 24/7 proactive monitoring and support, and seamless upgrades, backed by a 100%-uptime guarantee.
3. What major challenges were faced during the project and how were they overcome?
During its thorough evaluation of the market, Brandworkz had met with several vendors. Some of the vendors contacted by Brandworkz required a software-RAID controller to be added on top of the base solution. As Lundgaard described, “this seemed very cumbersome and potentially prone to having two vendors blaming each other if something went wrong.”
The final stage in the evaluation was to review existing Zadara clients to ensure the product was as good as it appeared on paper. “We spoke with several Zadara clients and were thoroughly impressed with what we heard. Now that we have deployed the Zadara Solution, we understand why they were so enthusiastic.”
What tangible benefits has the organisation seen as a result of the project’s implementation?
Zadara exceeds Brandworkz’ requirements and expectations
Zadara not only met all of its customer’s requirements, but also provided a series of additional benefits that Brandworkz had not considered. For example, Zadara provided the company with online capacity expansion, flexible RAID options with hot-spare options, snapshots, replication and mirroring.
• Brandworkz has been able to meet its performance targets
• The business is confidently increasing its storage capacity, adding 1PB each month
• Brandworkz is now able to grow as needed to support its client base
• Previous performance bottlenecks have been eliminated
• Data is safe and protected from unforeseen and unexpected threats
• Dedicated resources and full enterprise functionality — including NFS, CIFS, Active Directory, snapshots, encryption, dedupe, backups, and more
• A fully-managed cloud model that costs up to 4x less per month than AWS
“The solution has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to growing our business with Zadara,” concluded Lundgaard.
Zadara is available via public clouds, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud, managed service providers, data centres, colocation partners, and on premises in customers' data centres. Customers can purchase Zadara’s enterprise-grade storage directly from within its Amazon Web Services environment.
Zadara recently announced the addition of all-flash arrays to its service offering, giving customers additional options to match their performance requirements. Zadara enterprise-class storage solutions are also available to customers of VMware Cloud™ on AWS. VMware simplifies the deployment and eliminates the need for partners to refactor solutions for VMware Cloud on AWS. If a partner solution works on premises in a VMware vSphere® environment, it will easily support VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware technology partners complement and enhance native VMware Cloud on AWS service, enabling customers to realise new capabilities. For more information on the VMware Cloud on AWS partner ecosystem, visit: http://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws
Zadara delivers dedicated resources and full enterprise functionality — including NFS, CIFS, Active Directory, snapshots, encryption, dedupe, backups, and more — in a fully-managed cloud model that costs up to 4x less per month than AWS.
“What impressed us about Zadara is that they didn’t have any of the limitations that we found with the other vendors. We were also impressed by the fact that Zadara was available near each of the AWS data centres where we have hosting in both the US and Europe.”
CEO | Brandworkz
“The solution has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to growing our business with Zadara,”
CEO | Brandworkz
“As part of our infrastructure upgrade, we set an initial goal to double our performance. With Zadara, we tripled our performance. This was far beyond our expectations.”
Global Network and Visualization Manager | Lawter
“Zadara’s easy and intuitive management dashboard makes volume provisioning a breeze. We are seeing a 50% increase in overall application performance with Zadara.”
Russel De Guzman
Senior Manager for DevOps | Digital Room, Inc.
“Zadara allows us to adapt quickly and flexibly to changing needs. We are impressed by Zadara’s high availability and low administrative overhead, the fast and competent support and the transparent billing.”
WW Operations Manager KDFS | Kodak Alaris
“Overall, we are seeing 80% better performance with Zadara than with our prior solution.”
Infrastructure Architect | Netrepid
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Director of Hosting Services | K3 Starcom
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Executive Producer | Make.tv
“Zadara has been an amazing partner that has helped us lay the groundwork for previously unimaginable financial and workflow efficiencies.”
CTO and Co-Founder | BeBop Technology
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Senior Systems Engineer | Gilt
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“VMware Cloud on AWS provides customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering that gives customers the SDDC experience from the leader in private cloud, running on the leading public cloud provider, AWS. Solutions such as Zadara Virtual Private Storage Arrays enable IT teams to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and create operational consistency across on-premises and cloud environments. We’re excited to work with partners such as Zadara to enhance native VMware Cloud on AWS capabilities and empower customers with flexibility and choice in solutions that can drive business value.”
Director, Technology Alliance Partner Program | VMware