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"After just a few copy jobs, the de-duplication went to 3x, and kept getting better and better. Since it was global de-duplication, Cohesity provided better storage efficiency than the Veeam software deduplication used at the main site."

Marteinn Sigurðsson, Infrastructure Architect

Overview

Thekking is an Icelandic IT Service Provider offering a variety of managed services for local businesses. Founded in 1999, the name “Thekking” is the Icelandic word for “knowledge.” It signifies the goal of the company to have competent staff that can utilize and relay their knowledge for the benefit of its customers. The company is consistently recognized for its intimate focus on the client, with exceptional quality and high service levels.

The company’s origin dates back to 1974 when the IT department of a local retail and wholesale company (KEA) was founded. Thekking later emerged from that department as a separate company owned by KEA and key employees. Today the company is one of the leading local players in the hosting and services segment of Iceland, employing around 70 motivated staff, based in two locations in the northern part of Iceland (Akureyri) and capital region (Kopavogur).

Challenges

As an independent company, Thekking has the flexibility to choose and recommend best of breed technology, both for its own hosting platform and on behalf of the customers they service. Their infrastructure consisted of Cisco + NetApp FlexPod at both data center sites, supporting a large VMware environment as well as physical hosts.

Standardizing on VMware for virtualization and implementing a robust solution for protecting virtual machines was critical for Thekking. Veeam software manages the backup of virtual machines to local storage, and a Veeam copy job ensures that data is secured offsite for disaster recovery purposes. It is critical for Thekking to conduct daily backups, that are stored onsite, for quick recovery, while copy jobs for longer retention needs be placed on some sort of secondary storage.

As a blogger, local VMUG leader and vExpert, Marteinn is always on the lookout for new technologies that can simplify his operations, improve his SLA’s and improve Thekking’s competitive offering.

With business growing, the team needed their storage at both the main site of Kopavogur and the secondary site of Akureyri to scale accordingly. The challenge was to determine if the economics would be compelling enough to displace their current storage targets, and improve their de-duplication rates beyond what was provided by Veeam.

Solution

Marteinn was introduced to Cohesity at VMworld 2016. The timing was perfect as Thekking was due to refresh the backup storage at its secondary site in Akureyri.

When asked what motivated the Thekking team to consider Cohesity, Marteinn explained, “When looking at alternative de-duplication appliances, we found a clear benefit of the simple scale out design of Cohesity, where compute power behind the de-duplication process would scale linearly when adding new storage nodes. Having previous experience with other brands in this space such as DataDomain, knowing how the controller’s compute power did not scale with the added storage capacity, it was an obvious advantage for us that Cohesity architecture was based on hyperconverged nodes composed of both compute and storage.”

Results

A proof of concept allowed Thekking to thoroughly vet the Cohesity technology. Ease of setup, system stability, and instant node expansion of the cluster were key operational requirements validated by Thekking. Technological criteria of setting up Veeam copy jobs to a NFS mount point were accomplished in a matter of minutes and within an hour, the first copy jobs were running. Finally, the de-duplication was monitored to ensure that the storage efficiency achieved would allow for a solid business case, which was critical for Thekking management.

The technology validation was a tremendous success. “Our conclusion after the POC was that it was a perfect fit for our needs and the investment was justified primarily on the de-duplication rate achieved”, explained Marteinn. “After just a few copy jobs, the de-duplication went to 3x, and kept getting better and better. Since it was global de-duplication, it provided better storage efficiency than the Veeam software de-duplication used at the main site.”

Thekking went into production immediately after the PoC, replacing 2 legacy storage systems in its Akureyri site. The additional IOPs and compute power of the Cohesity nodes further allowed Thekking to better utilize key Veeam features such as Instant VM Recovery and Virtual Lab. “I tested Instant VM Recovery from the Cohesity system with Veeam, and it worked like a charm”, confided Marteinn.

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