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At the heart of our cloud computing platform is our high availability N+1 network, powered exclusively by Cisco and IBM networking technologies. It provides a total of 280Gb/s of public internet, storage and private network connectivity to each blade chassis, of which 40Gb/s is available to each individual blade server. 32Gb/s of fibre channel storage is available to each blade to provide exceptional levels of redundancy, resilience and performance for persistent storage.
To achieve a high performance, low latency storage environment, additional N+1 IBM FC3172 Fibre channel switches present storage directly to the Hypervisors from Enterprise IBM V7000 storage appliances, each featuring dual controllers and 4 physical paths (4x 8Gb/s interfaces). Due to the significant levels of redundancy built into the networking aspects of our cloud computing platforms, any networking failure at top of rack, datacentre core or at blade chassis level would go unnoticed, allowing for failures or scheduled maintenance on core devices to be performed without the loss of a single packet.
Both our public and private cloud computing platforms are built upon IBM Pure Flex Systems, a highly redundant and high performance blade environment which combines compute, storage, networking and virtualisation management into a single infrastructure system. These highly resilient and redundant chassis feature dual 10GbE and 8Gb/s fibre channel modular switches, multiple redundant fans and power supplies, dual logic controllers and management interfaces allowing for both hardware failures and scheduled hardware maintenance to take place without causing any interruption to service or impacting performance.
For creating the high performance virtualisation environments, IBM Flex System x240 Compute Nodes have been selected, a high-performance dual 8 core Intel Xeon processor-based server that offers outstanding performance for virtualisation with new levels of CPU performance and memory capacity. Each blade (Hypervisor) contains dual 8 Core processors, 384GB of high performance RAM, local SAS hard disks for the operating system & multiple 10GbE and 8Gb/s FC ports for N+1 redundancy.
The performance, security and reliability of any storage area network in the cloud is of exceptional importance, it must be available at all times and its integrity protected by multiple layers of protection. To achieve this, both our public and private cloud computing platforms utilise Fibre Channel storage from Enterprise IBM V7000 Storewize storage appliances complete with SAS and Near-line SAS storage tiers with Enterprise grade solid state storage (SSD) cache, increasing performance 5x by moving as little as 5% of the total data on the storage arrays.
“Storwize® V7000 includes IBM® System Storage® Easy Tier®, a function that responds to the presence of solid-state drives (SSDs) in a storage pool that also contains hard disk drives (HDDs). The system automatically and non-disruptively moves frequently accessed data from HDD MDisks to SSD MDisks, thus placing such data in a faster tier of storage. Easy Tier eliminates manual intervention when assigning highly active data on volumes to faster responding storage. In this dynamically tiered environment, data movement is seamless to the host application regardless of the storage tier in which the data resides. Manual controls exist so that you can change the default behaviour, for example, such as turning off Easy Tier on storage pools that have both types of MDisks.”
As the fibre channel storage is presented to all blades simultaneously, virtual machines can be migrated between Hypervisors, both hot and cold. This also allows OnAPP to manage the high availability aspects, by restarting or migrating virtual machines on alternative Hypervisors if and when failures are detected. Alternative iSCSI based storage solutions are available upon request for customers who specifically require iSCSI based storage, however all production storage is served via Fibre Channel (the virtual machine disks). iSCSI is available as an alternative service in line with NFS, CIFS, AFP and SMB storage upgrades.