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Bezeq displaces all-flash array for data warehouse infrastructure with Excelero NVMesh

Bezeq displaces all-flash array for data warehouse infrastructure with Excelero NVMesh

Case StudiesData CentresEuropeNetwork & StorageNetworkingTop Stories

Bezeq, a leading telecommunications provider in Israel, has cut its database run times up to 90% and boosted throughput 2x-3x after deploying simple, scalable Excelero NVMesh shared NVMe storage.

Bezeq, a leading telecommunications provider based in Israel, has deployed the Excelero NVMesh as the centrepiece of a new scale-out storage architecture behind its mission-critical data warehouse.

Replacing a high-end all-flash array with the simplicity and scale of an architecture using Excelero NVMesh along with Fujitsu servers and Mellanox 100 Gbps Ethernet switches, Bezeq has achieved a 2x to 3x throughput improvement and cut database run times by up to 90%.

Bezeq’s results with Excelero, a disruptor in software-defined block storage, typify the advantages that NVMe over fabrics architectures deliver in superior throughput, ultra-low latency, scalability and flexibility.

Bezeq offers phone and Internet services, smart devices, cybersecurity and cloud backup services.

Its data warehouse holds more than 118 TB of vital data on sales, services, financial transactions, engineering device and customer interactions – data used to generate reports that help management streamline operations.

The data warehouse is also supporting an expansion into promising new lines of business such as high-performance computing and hosted cloud services.

Bezeq’s previous storage solution was experiencing insufficient throughput, slow response times and an inability to be expanded, leading the IT team to seek a revamp.

“The Excelero NVMesh software-defined technology is the only technological solution that meets our performance demands and has proven to be an excellent decision,” said Muginstein Igal, Storage and Backup Team Manager at Bezeq.

“As a leader in the national communications market, we are on the look-out for promising new technologies. NVMesh is a highly advanced solution and we have quickly seen the tangible benefits of replacing the complicated server with internal SSD and all-flash array with the simplicity and scale of Excelero NVMesh.”

The new infrastructure incorporates Excelero NVMesh running on a Fujistu RX4770 server, featuring 96 cores and 1TB memory, and Fujitsu RX2540 storage nodes with 4 TB NVMe drives – totalling 48 TB.

The servers are connected with Mellanox 100 Gbps Ethernet switches and NICs. A key benefit of NVMesh was the flexibility to choose the most suitable and cost-effective commodity hardware for Bezeq’s requirements, eliminating vendor lock-in.

Early trials showed that in contrast to the maximum 8 Gbps throughput of the Fusion IO devices, the NVMesh environment delivered 16-23 Gbps – well above Bezeq’s requested 15 Gbps throughput.

The Excelero storage also reduced run times by an average of 30% compared to the legacy all-flash array environment and, in some workloads, reduced run times up to 90%.

Replacement was simple and while formal metrics weren’t established, Bezeq’s IT team detected reduced CPU demand, helping it squeeze maximum compute power from existing resources.

“The winners in the new telecoms landscape will be those forward-thinking organisations that are most effective in extracting information from their data,” said Lior Gal, Excelero co-founder and CEO. “We are extremely proud that Excelero’s NVMesh is exceeding the requirements of Bezeq’s data warehouse and enabling the company to run its day-to-day operations with an important competitive edge.” 

Intelligent Data Centres spoke to Muginstein Igal, Storage and Backup Team Manager at Bezeq, to find out more about the solution and its benefits.

Can you provide some background on Bezeq and its company objectives?

Bezeq is Israel’s leading telecommunications service provider. Established in 1984, the company has led Israel into the new era of telecommunications, based on the most advanced technologies and services.

Bezeq fixed-line offers domestic services including Internet infrastructure services, basic telephony, transmission and data communications as well as cloud and digital services.

The fixed line infrastructure comprises an NGN (Next Generation Network) – FTTC (Fiber to the Curb) network – with approximately 1.8 million access lines and tens of thousands of fibre-optic lines, allowing for the delivery of a full range of value-added services.

Bezeq has installed more than 1.6 million high-speed retail and wholesale broadband lines and enables broadband high-speed services, advanced IP telephony and OTT TV services. Broadband services over the NGN network can reach up to 100 Megabits per second and enable consumers to enjoy the most advanced telecommunications and content services.

What were the key challenges Bezeq was looking to address ahead of selecting Excelero?

We wanted the flexibility to expand the storage layer of our DWH infrastructure. We also wanted performance improvement, to reduce our OPEX and CAPEX, prevent lock into hardware vendor and establish a new storage shared layer for new applications with high performance demands (instead of internal devices without sharing and protection).

Why did you choose to work with Excelero and why did you opt for this specific solution?

The Excelero solution was the only one we found to fit our performance demands (at least 15GBytes/sec) based on block storage. Excelero provided the flexibility to choose the most suitable and cost-effective commodity hardware for Bezeq’s requirements, eliminating vendor lock-in. The company also offered collaboration with the local development team and made adjustments to our OS and DB platform.

How was the implementation process – did you encounter any challenges, if so, how were these resolved?

The main challenge was to adjust a modern solution like NVMESH to a relatively low OS version and Oracle version. The Excelero team developed a special version for those limitations (only RAID 10 instead of RAID 5) that could be configured with higher versions.

How far has the system future-proofed the organisation?

The greater question is that of meeting the company’s future needs and we considered those when we designed the system on one hand and when we scouted for the right technology on the other hand.

We had already migrated our central storage to all flash array and applications like DWH, that demand high performance, will be established on Excelero infrastructure (NVMe storage devices). We can achieve the same high-level performance of local NVMe devices over centralised, redundant networked storage.

How do your customers benefit from the solution?

We have established high performance DRP for DWH (lower cost and same performance as production environment) as well as reduced run times by an average of 30% compared to internal Fusion IO devices or the legacy all-flash array environment, and in some workloads, reduced run times up to 90%

Are there any trends/emerging trends you expect to see in the data storage space of which infrastructure managers should be aware?

I believe that modern data centre storage infrastructure has to be based on all flash array for traditional loads and scalable high-performance NVME-over fabric for high performance applications.

The second trend we expect will be object storage for unstructured data and backup silos. 

New NAS solutions have to combine high performance and collaboration needs (we implemented CTERA solution – software with flash devices and internet access to portal with object storage). 

Combination of storage and backup products for CDP demands, instant recovery, WORM solutions (software with object storage)

In summary, what are the key benefits of the solution?

High performance, cost-savings, simplicity and scalability, and eliminating hardware vendor lock-in.

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