Telecommunications company Vocus New Zealand has deployed solutions from Cohesity to benefit from scalable and flexible capabilities from a modern backup and recovery solution.
Vocus New Zealand has over 23 years’ experience connecting NZ businesses, government organizations, and consumers with telecommunications and IT services. It offers leading solutions across data center, cloud, networking, security and web, and is part of the broader ASX-listed Vocus Group.
The company runs three data centers that house its core infrastructure as well as customer equipment hosted under colocation arrangements and is a carrier-grade telecommunication provider across Australia and New Zealand located across hundreds of data centers and network points of presence throughout the region.
Vocus New Zealand has grown through several mergers and acquisitions creating challenges in legacy platforms as well as aggressively investing in telemetry data from the network and platforms, creating an explosion of data collected.
“We have distributed our core infrastructure over multiple data centers investing heavily in IaaS and container orchestration platforms,” said Daniel Siva, Systems Team Lead, Vocus New Zealand. “For a lot of super important systems we are there now, and continuing to modernize other legacy platforms. We needed a scalable and flexible Disaster Recovery solution that aligned with this investment and explosion of data.”
The company’s primary storage is a mix of IBM fiber-attached disk and a new vSAN software-defined storage solution powered by Dell hardware. Vocus New Zealand has been backing up data and virtual machines to the public cloud using another vendor’s product, but this is not providing the level of cloud-native functionality that the organization desires and the cost of the solution also continues to rise.
Vocus New Zealand wanted the following capabilities from a modern backup and recovery solution:
• A way to move certain types of Big Data such as CCTV video to less-performant, lower-cost storage
• The ability to restore virtual machines from backups much faster
• Smart deduplication and compression for longer-term backups stored in S3, meaning fewer requirements for cloud storage and operating expenditure (OPEX) savings
• Optimize rebuilding of automated test and dev workloads to match production datasets
Vocus New Zealand had been exploring options for a major storage refresh with its long-term IT solutions provider BEarena, and Cohesity’s name came up as part of those conversations. BEarena arranged a run-through of the Cohesity software and allowed Vocus to perform some tests using a virtual Cohesity appliance.
“The technology looked interesting so BEarena got in touch with Cohesity and we organized a physical Proof-of-Concept,” Siva said. “We put Cohesity into our data center and went through various test cases that we wanted to explore, and the Cohesity software was great.”
Siva was particularly impressed with the speed and product adaptiveness from the team at Cohesity. “We actually had a lot of direct collaboration from Cohesity in terms of figuring out what aspects could be improved on the Cohesity platform,” he said. “We were really impressed with how engaged they were all the way through to their development teams and out again in order to meet our expectations and what we were looking for.”
Vocus New Zealand ran a proof-of-concept over three months before moving ahead with a production deployment.
The Cohesity deployment has occurred in two stages. “We were backing up into S3 in both the older platform and the Cohesity platform,” said Siva. Vocus New Zealand has since extended the Cohesity deployment significantly to match growth requirements.
The efficiencies provided by the Cohesity setup were immediately apparent. While both its backup systems use the public cloud, “the operational expense savings using Cohesity are significant because the software actually natively understands that it’s backing up into the public cloud and can dedupe data across all the backup sets that are within the public cloud, whereas with our prior implementation, we are storing a full copy of the data each time we were doing a backup, which obviously uses more space,” Siva said.
The deduplication and compression benefits also extend to all data currently held on virtual machines. Vocus New Zealand is using Cohesity both for backups and as a network file system (NFS). “As a result, we are seeing good dedupe and compression across all file sets accessed via Cohesity. The prior implementation, by comparison, can only dedupe and compress over a backup job itself,” adds Siva.
On the backup side, Vocus New Zealand is seeing significantly improved performance results. Where a backup job using the prior implementation would take 10 to 12 hours, or sometimes longer, and apply sustained load to Vocus’ production systems, Cohesity runs backup jobs in the region of two hours for the same dataset, with much less impact on performance.
Cohesity also brings a host of security and operational improvements. Cohesity technology can be accessed via Vocus’ existing single sign-on – “backup administrators just get pushed over to our Office 365 login portal and then back, whereas previously, login and authentication were a much longer process,” said Siva.
In addition, backups benefit from data encryption at rest through Cohesity. Cohesity also provides data analysis functions that, while not presently used in production by Vocus New Zealand, are seen to offer strong potential.
“Now that we’ve got data on Cohesity, we can analyze the data for trends or strings,” said Siva. “For example, you can find people that might be storing passwords in a file called ‘passwords.txt’ and take appropriate steps. Our security team is interested in that capability.”
Benefits gained by Vocus New Zealand from Cohesity include:
• OPEX savings through efficient deduplication and compression of backup data that is stored in public cloud storage
• Time for data backup processes reduced by over 80%
• Multiple use cases solved including cloud-native archival, NFS storage, and data security and risk reduction