Fast-growing Managed Hosting Provider, VDC, drives business, cost savings and storage consolidation

Fast-growing Managed Hosting Provider, VDC, drives business, cost savings and storage consolidation

Virtual Data Corp (VDC), a Canadian managed services and hosting provider, switched to Infinidat, bypassing the solid state array technology it was originally expecting to invest in, and achieved many benefits. These included the ability to significantly differentiate its offering as a hosting provider, deliver a much higher value level of customer service and benefit from 100% storage uptime over the past two years since using the Infinibox platform. This high availability enabled VDC to consolidate multiple arrays into a single rack for easier management and cost savings without any disruption. At the same time, VDC expanded its data storage capacity with InfiniBox beyond a petabyte to flexibly leverage storage as needed in support of the company’s growth strategy.

Versatility and reliability have become the calling card of Virtual Data Corp (VDC), based in Saskatoon, the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. VDC is an IT solutions provider specialising in managed cloud hosting solutions, but its commitment to customer service and its knack for problem-solving have endeared it to its customer base as an all-in-one solutions provider

Today, a multitude of organisations located in Canada, the US and around the world rely on VDC for effective and efficient full-service hosting solutions, including public or private cloud hosting, cloud backup, managed colocation, Disaster Recovery and a variety of other IT needs. VDC has high-quality, state-of-the-art data centres located in Saskatoon and Regina, as well as an experienced team supporting a vast array of enterprise-level services that small to medium-sized businesses need. This has fuelled VDC’s fast growth and utilisation of virtualisation technology and VMware solutions for its capabilities of providing hosting, managed services, VPN hosted firewall services and website hosting. Critical to VDC’s business is data storage.

Growth can be challenging

As a growing company, VDC was always looking for upgrades in terms of SAN storage. “We came to the realisation that if we wanted to truly grow to the next level, we needed substantially more storage capability,” said Cole Thompson, President and CEO, VDC. “In fact, we needed capability and speed requirements that we could access as we needed it and at a price that was simple to understand.”

Thompson admits that his expectation was initially that an all-flash array would be ‘the answer’ to VDC’s growth plan. He also already had an inclination towards one of the big incumbent vendors in the storage industry, which has been pushing the all-flash arrays for years. A big part of making VDC a success story was that it was different from the other IT providers. Therefore, the company was looking for enterprise-class storage that was compatible and could leverage its technology investments. The company wanted to sell large amounts of storage space, so it needed to ensure differentiation and deliver better value than the competition. VDC was increasingly open to a disruptive force to come in and surprise the team of decision-makers. Just as they were talking to the big all-flash incumbent about the so-called ‘safe route’ to storage, they began a conversation with Infinidat, a fast-rising leader in multi-petabyte storage, because of a value proposition that caught their attention. What transpired next changed everything.

A flexible storage solution option

“We saw the catch phrase Infinidat was using about high speed at half the price and that got me interested because we were looking at all-flash arrays and wanted a substantial SSD flash component of our storage,” said Thompson. “This was an interesting turn of events.” VDC quickly found out that Infinidat delivers on the promise of its value proposition. As Thompson attests, there was a compelling case that he felt confident would sustain VDC’s growth. The high performance, resilience, reliability, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and 100% availability of the Infinidat storage platform disrupted the legacy perceptions in the marketplace about enterprise-class storage.

With its broad range of integrations, Infinidat was able to offer VDC the support for Hyper-V. Specifically, one of Infinidat’s biggest differentiators was the ability to do integrated snapshotting with Hyper-V – even at the Volume Shadow Storage level.

“We were one of the earlier Hyper-V customers of Infinidat and when the snapshotting option came up and Infinidat confirmed we could actually do hourly snapshots, that was big on sealing the deal,” said Thompson. “We were going to get ample amounts of storage back.” VDC selected the InfiniBox F2260, with effective storage over a petabyte, which is the scale the company needed to grow to.

Long-term benefits: Uptime, consolidation and cost savings

Fully implemented in October 2019, the data storage system has had 100% storage uptime, according to VDC’s President and CEO. Much to his satisfaction, the company was able to consolidate its storage and not see any downtime at all.

“We were able to consolidate five or six other SANs into a single SAN,” said Thompson. “We’re talking multiple racks into a single rack. That is also a benefit from a power and a management perspective. We took everything from all of these other SANs and migrated them onto a single platform. Instead of managing multiple, separate other SANs and managing firmware upgrades, we got everything upgraded to InfiniBox, which makes the administration much simpler.”

VDC has also benefitted from the flexibility, the predictability and the ease of use as well as the exceptional, advanced service and support. “We love how Infinidat lets you pay for the storage and grow as you need,” he said. “For us, we really like the idea of being able to buy the entire box and leverage storage as required, while knowing exactly what our budget was. Storage like this you don’t buy for three years. You buy it for a long period of time.”

On service and support, he added: “We went with a five-year support and warranty package, which is great because we get monthly scheduled calls with Infinidat. It is really a white glove service. It’s great to be able to put everything on one simple-to-use interface.”

Moreover, the cost savings that VDC garnered, as a result of selecting Infinidat, was substantial. Thompson said: “We had all of this available storage and IO capacity, which was really what we needed, plus easier management. If you take the cost of colocation on a per-rack basis and all of that power, it’s a significant saving on an annual basis. With Infinidat, we ended up exceeding our goals with a technology that surpasses all-flash at price points that help make us a strong, compelling hosting provider.”

One other unexpected benefit was that Infinidat led VDC to see and embrace the value to evolve into a mixed environment of Hyper-V and VMware, especially after VDC acquired Blacksun Web Hosting, an exclusively VMware shop. The return on investment was rooted in having a storage platform that works extremely well with both environments. It sets VDC apart from its competitors and, with Disaster Recovery (DR) and speed, customers looking for storage are choosing VDC as a preferred vendor for their cloud hosting solutions. VDC also leverages Veeam technology and values the Veeam integration that exists on InfiniBox.

Thompson added: “Knowing we could have this ability with Infinidat provided unparalleled DR capabilities, which is something that definitely made it one of our choices, especially when considering what we want to do for additional storage moving forward. The capabilities that Infinidat has with Veeam and VMware are phenomenal.”

Bottom line of the Infinidat solution for VDC, as summed up by VDC’s top leader: “Immediate impact.”

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