Cleversafe: Use cases highlighted at Storage Networking World

cleversafe007Storage Networking World is a twice a year gathering of technology professionals with deep interest and mission needs for modern storage systems. The last one was held April 2-4 in Orlando Florida. The next one will be October 15-17 in Long Beach California.

If storage is your discipline you probably already know about this gathering. It features presentations that highlight real world use cases for advanced storage solutions. It also generates plenty of info for the trade journals and storage focused blogs, so it is a gathering that has impact.

Cleversafe was featured in several use-case discussions at the event, including one on overcoming object storage integration challenges (see briefing here: OvercomingObjectStorageIntegration). covered the presentation and had this to say about it:

Justin Stottlemyer, fellow and storage architect for the cloud photo-sharing website Shutterfly, built a primary archive that consists of 20 billion photo images and 80 petabytes (PB) of capacity on 400 Cleversafe object storage-based Slicestor 1420 storage nodes fronted with 60 Cleversafe Accesser 2100 appliances that communicate via HTTP or REST to Web servers.

“Migrating [from NAS] is simpler than you think. For us, it was as simple as plug it in, make a few application tweaks and let it run,” said Stottlemyer, who designed Cleversafe’s 1420 hardware device and now is a technical advisor for the object storage company. “The goal was to take all the new ingested data and enable it to write to object stores. We also moved data from legacy file systems to Cleversafe object storage.”

When Stottlemyer arrived at Shutterfly, it had 20 PB of capacity on hundreds of PolyServe file systems and 20 storage arrays from DataDirect Networks and Hitachi Data Systems. The new object architecture was rolled out within a few months after a six-week, two-site production test. Storage costs have been cut by 50%, he said.

The main adjustments included recoding applications to use PUT and GET commands instead of reads and writes of data. A second database was connected to the upload application server that was designed with an extra column for global unique object IDs, a change that came in handy when Shutterfly had to migrate 8 PB of storage into the primary storage archive after acquiring Kodak Gallery in May 2012 for $23.8 million.

“We did it in 82 days,” said Stottlemyer, who worked at Facebook, eBay and PayPal before moving to Shutterfly. “We created a small database for this. We pulled in all the file systemmetadata and added an extra [database] column for object IDs, then split the workload into small chunks and copied them into object stores.”

RAID 5 data protection was replaced by Cleversafe’s erasure coding, a move that Stottlemyer considered key after the company experienced a simultaneous failure of 178 hard drives that handled about 2.2 PB of data within months of his taking the job. The drive failure left LUNs without parity protection during the five days it took to do a recovery.

“[RAID] stops scaling at the multiple petabyte level,” Stottlemyer said. “With 2 [TB], 3 TB and 4 TB drives, time to generate parity grew from days to weeks.”

Use cases are great ways to start discussions on technology, they make conversations real and can lead to new ideas for how to apply these approaches to your enterprise.

One thing I wish this use case would have hit harder is Cleversafe’s contribution to enhanced security. Cleversafe’s approach to modern storage enhances security in ways that makes the data so secure no adversary could break into it. So you get limitless data storage, up to a 90% cost savings (and very good return on investment), and enhanced security for data.

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