Business Challenge

Originally established in 1972 and with 550 staff, PraxisIFM is an independent, owner-managed financial services group of companies providing a wide range of bespoke professional services to private individuals, families and international corporate clients.

PraxisIFM previously used a HPE Modular Smart Array 2040 SAN to protect its data. Given the Group’s rapid growth its existing storage system needed to be enhanced in order to meet the developing needs of the organisation. The company also needed to replace a traditional SAN which was configured for asynchronous replication. The PraxisIFM team engaged Alternative Solutions, a leading IT services company that provides solutions across the Channel Islands and other jurisdictions worldwide, for recommendations.

Solution

Alternative Solutions successfully deployed a two-node StorMagic hyperconverged cluster at PraxisIFM’s Switzerland location to run local applications and were happy with the results. Following this successful deployment, Alternative Solutions installed SvSAN as a two-node storage-only cluster to provide a highly available storage infrastructure for two locations, one in Guernsey and the other in Jersey, both self-governing British Crown dependencies. Because of StorMagic’s stretch cluster capability, PraxisIFM was able to put the nodes in two different datacentres approximately 30 miles apart, and still deliver the performance necessary for all the applications and users. Both sides of the cluster are actively processing data locally while synchronously mirroring to the other side for data protection. The main benefit of the stretched cluster is to prevent downtime if there is any type of outage at one of the sites due to power outages, fire, flooding, etc. The surviving SvSAN node will stay available and all servers and applications from the other site will continue to operate automatically. The highly available storage infrastructure supports locations and PraxisIFM users in Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, UK, Netherlands, Malta, USA, UAE and soon Hong Kong and BVI.

This solution is provisioning storage to 16 HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 servers running approximately 200 Hyper-V virtual machines for all applications required within the business, such as file data, SQL databases, Citrix desktop applications for 600 users, and other accounting applications. On the SvSAN storage-only cluster, the Predictive Storage Caching feature is being used to accelerate performance by using the SSD drives as a read/write cache for the most active data and saving the spinning disk drives for less frequently used data. This lowers the overall cost of the storage infrastructure but significantly improves performance.

Why StorMagic

Praxis IFM chose StorMagic SvSAN for several reasons, including:

  • Active-Active Cluster Configuration: SvSAN enabled PraxisIFM to create a storage-only highly available active-active cluster configuration in datacentres that are 30 miles apart and is used with 16 application servers.
  • High Performance: Expansion of the group meant that PraxisIFM required greater resilience and significantly enhanced performance with lower risk of downtime. SvSAN means their assets are now available 24x7 and has the required performance to meet their key business requirements.
  • Cost Effective: SvSAN is on average 50 per cent less expensive than traditional physical SAN alternatives and its Predictive Storage Caching feature optimises performance with a mix of SSD and spinning disk drives and keeps disk drives costs to a minimum.
  • Excellent Support: Since deployment, SvSAN has been extremely reliable, so very little support has been required. All front line support is provided by Alternative Solutions and when contacted, StorMagic’s support team has been highly responsive.

Technical Configuration

Server Configuration (Per Server) for the stretch cluster between Guernsey and Jersey
SvSAN Edition SvSAN Advanced
Servers HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 4110
CPU 8 cores with 2 processors
Memory 128 GB
Disk Configuration Approximately 30TB of SSD and 100TB HDD
Each node has 10 x HPE 3.2TB SAS 12G Mixed Use SFF (SDD) and 12 x HPE 10TB SAS 12G Midline 7.2K LFF, with HPE 3.2TB PCIe x8 Lanes Mixed Use HHHL for cache on the SAS
Networking 10 GbE with 1 millisecond latency. The SvSAN witness uses a 400 Mbps link
Hypervisor Microsoft Hyper-V
Applications OpenText eDOCS Document Management and Acumen, more than 170 Microsoft Windows servers; Citrix XenApp / RDS, accounting applications, file servers
Data Protection Altaro VM Backup
PraxisIFM Logo

Company Name: PraxisIFM
Location: Guernsey & Jersey
Industry: Finance

"StorMagic’s stretch cluster capability enabled us to spread the hardware between two different datacentres that are 30 miles apart, while still delivering the required performance for all of our applications and users. SvSAN has dramatically lowered our storage costs, reduced risk and enhanced performance."

Andrew Ingrouille, Group Head of Technology, PraxisIFM

Simple

Provides a true 'set and forget' solution for any environment using centralized deployment and management - whether for thousands of sites or just one.

Cost Effective

Eliminates physical SANs by converging compute and storage into a lightweight commodity server footprint thereby dramatically lowering costs.

Flexible

Delivers on today’s performance needs leveraging any CPU and storage type whilst avoiding over-provisioning with the confidence of scaling for tomorrow’s demands.

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