SwiftStack Benefits

Jim Merritt
Enterprise Architect at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
The biggest impact, which really doesn't get noticed until you need it, is in our data protection environment. Up until we utilized SwiftStack, we were spinning physical tapes. We now have a disaster recovery facility at a co-lo, and our SwiftStack cluster extends to that disaster recovery location. Because it's a backup target, all of our data gets replicated to our offsite facility automatically. It has enabled us to store more data with a smaller headcount. We had 50 tapes and managing tapes can be interesting at best. You have to know where they are, you have to keep them in an environment where they don't degrade rapidly. You have to have a person who's dedicated to really managing where the tapes are and what's on the tapes, how they get written, how they get copied, and how they get recovered if you have to recover data, which is huge. That whole process - and we're a fairly small environment - was half to three-quarters of an FTE engineer. That is a person we can now use somewhere else because the data just goes into SwiftStack and it automatically goes to our offsite facility. We don't have any spinning tapes. We don't have to worry about buying tapes. We don't have to worry about tape attrition. All the management around that really went away. The data protection software actually does the management. It's all automated. It has saved us a lot of time. Another area where it has helped is that we're not expanding our primary storage like we would have had to, since we're leveraging the lower-cost SwiftStack storage system. Enterprise storage requires another, say, half of an engineer at some level, to manage it, keep the storage correct, move things around. I manage our enterprise storage and it can take a considerable amount of time out of my day. I log into the SwiftStack just to look at how much I'm using and see if I have reached capacity yet. I might look and say, "Oh, look, I have a couple of drives that failed. I'll get to those in a couple weeks." Whereas, with my enterprise storage it's, "Oh no, I have a drive failed. I have to fix it today." It reduces the amount of overhead. The other way it's added value to our workflows is the data archiving, where we take data off our primary storage and put it into our object store, SwiftStack. It is much easier to manage from a growth and maintenance standpoint, which again, saves time and therefore money. In terms of the hardware flexibility, with SwiftStack not being a hardware company, I literally buy any hardware that's the least expensive, from any vendor. When I have hard drive failures, I usually wait, and then, once a month, I'll go to Amazon or NewEgg and look at the drive with the lowest storage cost per terabyte. Currently, 10 TB drives seem to be the least expensive per terabyte. I'll just buy that drive and swap them all out once a month. I let hardware fail and then I'll replace it with a larger-capacity drive. Over time, it increases my capacity as well over my overhead. So from a flexibility standpoint, I think it's fantastic. I can go to anybody, anywhere - any vendor - and get my hardware. There was a large cost saving over using our primary storage, which is our traditional enterprise NAS. We used a single supplier for our hardware but we always look around when we do new. The ability to grow, both vertically and horizontally, because of the SwiftStack deployment model, is so easy that we really don't even think about it. We, literally say, "Hey, we need to get more storage. Do we need capacity or do we need performance?" Performance really hasn't been an issue, so in some cases, we may just buy SaaS JBOD shelves and hang them off our existing servers, which we've done once already. Or we might buy lower-performing servers with a lot of storage slots and add nodes across our cluster. That saved us quite a bit of money. I can't say exactly how much it has decreased our cost of storing and utilizing data, and the big reason is that data growth doesn't stop. But I know it's less expensive. With our enterprise storage, to get the same level of protection that I get with SwiftStack out of the box, I might have to pay for my initial storage, then whatever protection level they have - whatever RAID level - and then I'll have to buy two or three software packages on top of that to do the mirroring and data protection at that level. And then, I might actually have to use more backup software licenses to back up that data as well. By the time that all adds up, we would probably be at the $4,000 per terabyte level. I know what my backup software costs, and it's outrageous, per terabyte. Whereas, with SwiftStack, I'm $500 or less per terabyte. Done. All in. Those numbers are general numbers. They're not accurate by any stretch of the imagination. But they are pretty close to the level of difference between the two. View full review »
Scientific Information Officer at a consultancy with 201-500 employees
It has helped us with the ability to distribute data to different data centers. As part of our DR strategy, we have nodes automatically replicating data from one data center to the other. This makes it easier for us to not have to shift tapes around or do anything else like that. We have seen a tremendous increase in the amount of data that is being produced, but at the same point in time, we haven't needed to increase our head count to manage this backup storage. We have seen eight times more data without having to increase the head count to manage the solution. In theory, we could stop using SwiftStack tomorrow and still have the solution up and running. It would just be up to us to manage and maintain it. However, their solution makes it a lot easier to manage the OpenStack Swift environment, so we don't have to have a dedicated resource who knows the ins and outs and nuances of OpenStack Swift. SwiftStack makes it easier to use this solution. View full review »
Head of Cloud Operations at a tech vendor
I don't think it has improved the way the organization functions. It just delivers a better cost point. We can sell storage more cheaply by utilizing this product and it gives us resilience. It gives us the ability to deliver a better SLA to our customers. In addition, SwiftStack has decreased our cost for storing and utilizing data, definitely by half. Our evaluation versus using Amazon S3 showed we're certainly cutting our costs in half. View full review »
Chris Gatch
Chief Technology Officer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
We launched a product. We don't use it internally for our own use. We deliver it as a service to other customers. The impact on our business was that we launched a new product which has allowed us to generate additional revenue for our business with it. We repurposed existing servers for our initial deployment of this solution. This allowed us to save because we didn't have to buy new hardware for one of our initial deployments. That was a nice feature. We were able to buy because of the wide range of hardware that they support. We're able to buy affordable type of white box hardware (commodity, efficient hardware) that drives our cost down. It helps you store more data with less head count. Today, we are storing about eight petabytes of raw capacity. View full review »
Nirbhay Tomar
Software Engineer 3, Cloud Engineering at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
* Management of clusters is easy * Simple to reduce the man hours needed for a deployment * Control * Troubleshooting. View full review »

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