FirstNet benefits from storage competitive edge

FirstNet’s customers benefit from superior storage performance and flexible consumption models with Infinidat’s InfiniBox® arrays.

  • 6 months ago Posted in

The cloud has become the go-to technology solution for agile, responsive and ‘Always On’ applications and services. FirstNet Technology Services, a leading cloud, connectivity, voice, and security solution provider for South African and international clients, is meeting the demand for cloud solutions, and has established data centres in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The ability to deliver high performance, highly reliable storage with Capacity on Demand (COD) is critical to FirstNet’s offering, and they need predictable costs to be able to service customers effectively.

Storage to meet a variety of demands

As a cloud provider offering Everything as a Service (XaaS), FirstNet’s customers range in size from Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) running simple, less demanding workloads, to large organisations with the most demanding workloads and SQL databases. They needed a storage solution that would cater to these variable demands with ease, delivering high performance and ‘Always On’ availability at a price point that makes sense for markets on both ends of the spectrum. In 2015, the company implemented their first InfiniBox storage array, which replaced a smaller-scale storage solution that the business had outgrown, and they have not looked back since.

“After more than six years, Infinidat is still competitively priced and the only vendor that delivers the technology and features we need, without the need for additional licensing, fees and administration,” said Sean van Niekerk, Technical Manager, FirstNet Technology Services.

“The InfiniBox storage array is a complete rack, a prebuilt solution that is delivered as a ready-configured unit with advanced features and functionality as well as lightning-fast performance. These factors are what made Infinidat stand out for us. The solution delivered exactly what we needed at the time, and we have since acquired an additional two

InfiniBox units, one in 2018 and another in 2021,” said Sean van Niekerk, Technical Manager, FirstNet Technology Services.

Proactive solution for evolving customer needs

The InfiniBox storage array is geared for multi-petabyte capacity, an essential consideration for any cloud XaaS provider. In addition, the native features and functionality included in the solution, such as a web-based Graphical User Interface (GUI), Infinidat’s ‘set it and forget it’ ease-of-use, make it simple and intuitive to deploy. These factors, along with the extreme

performance capabilities delivered, were some deciding considerations for FirstNet.

Vaughan Gerson, Managing Director, FirstNet Technology Services explained, “As a cloud service provider offering, among other things, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), demand is continuously changing and expanding. The set it and forget it capabilities of the InfiniBox are invaluable to us. Once the solution is deployed, we have monitors and alerts in place to bring to our attention any areas of concern. In fact, Infinidat notices any red flags before we are even aware of them, allowing us to proactively address potential problems and deliver a seamless customer service.”

VMware Integration

A key consideration for FirstNet, which uses VMware for its software-defined data centre infrastructure, was the ability for the storage array to run hypervisors and VMware stacks. The InfiniBox storage array is the first petabyte-scale storage platform available in the VMware Cloud Solutions Lab and features extensive VMware capabilities, helping to streamline operations across multi-cloud infrastructure.

Time is Money

“Several of FirstNet’s enterprise customers were asked to benchmark performance changes with the implementation of the InfiniBox storage array. All of them noticed positive changes for very demanding workloads where run time of daily SQL tasks was reduced by up to 60%. In addition, the time to backup and restore data is hugely improved, and this improvement

is invaluable in addressing a common customer pain point,” said Vaughan Gerson, Managing Director, FirstNet Technology Services. “The Capacity on Demand model was also a strong selling point for us. We pay based on our consumption but have additional capacity available to deploy when we need it. This means that when our customers want to expand, it is as simple as the click of a button to provision this. As a result, we can onboard customers quicker, so we can start generating revenue quickly. The value here is immense,” he adds.

Value out of the box

“We initially selected the InfiniBox storage array in 2015 and we have never looked back. The return on investment versus the price and the ongoing support we received thereafter have been hugely beneficial. Everything is included - there are no additional backup and support fees and no hidden costs involved,” said Sean van Niekerk, Technical Manager, FirstNet

Technology Services.

FirstNet has also realised several tangible benefits since the implementation of the InfiniBox arrays. Vaughan Gerson, Managing Director, FirstNet Technology Services explained, “System performance has revolutionised several tasks which would previously have taken hours and can now be completed in around 30 minutes. When our customers migrate from their on-premises solutions to our FirstNet cloud, they immediately notice a dramatic improvement in workload speeds. We also spend less time managing and maintaining our storage, which means we can free up resources for other tasks that add greater value.

He concludes, “We are fiercely competing directly with hyperscale cloud providers and Infinidat gives us a competitive edge. We can guarantee speed, access to the environment and value-added services, so our ability to deliver on availability and performance-based Service Level Agreements is unmatched, thanks to our storage solution from Infinidat.”

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