Case study: Data, customer growth drives Infoplex to unified storage

The Cloud storage provider has seen a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in data usage per customer.

Infoplex purchased unified storage from EMC to better service its rapidly expanding customer base, according to the company’s general manager, Matthew Madden. The company chose EMC’s VNX unified storage platform at the end of 2011 and completed build out in late June.

Formed in 2006, Infoplex was formed to service the Leighton Group, but today serves more than 120 enterprise and corporate customers, Madden told Computerworld Australia. It’s also seen immense growth in the amount of data that customers want to store and demand for reliability, he said.

“We’ve gone from half a petabyte per annum in 2007 to well over 16 petabtyes per annum”, looking at customers combined for backup storage, he said. Per customer, Madden said he’s seen a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in data usage per customer. “The size of mailboxes is just massive” due to larger attachments and removal of size restrictions, he said. Also, the growth of mobile devices means people are connecting to the network with greater frequency, he said.

Security is an increasing concern for Infoplex customers, Madden said. “They actually want [data loss] part of their contract terms,” he said. That tactic lets them cut “their own risk and [give] it to someone else,” but it means that Infoplex has to seriously protect reliability, he said.

EMC has been a partner since Infoplex’s founding in 2006. It’s “an entity that has been in the market for a long time,” Madden said. Infoplex also opted for EMC over alternatives HP or IBM because it does not compete directly with EMC, he said.

With its acquisition of EMC’s unified storage, Infoplex sought to move away from a platform built around an enterprise environment to one built around a service provider environment, Madden said. “We decided we needed something a little bit more flexibility in order for us to expand, and we decided that unified storage was a better approach.”

“We had to look at [the business] in much more of a multi-tenant environment and it also gave us an opportunity with an aging platform to look at a new approach,” he said.

Building the platform in two locations—Melbourne and Sydney—took only six months; it usually takes 12 to 18 months, Madden said. Starting from scratch helped speed the build and additionally provided a “competitive advantage” for Infoplex, he said. “We didn’t want to do a renovation on an existing platform,” he said. “We’re not putting any bad habits back in.”

Madden said unified storage is more flexible than older platforms because it employs auto-tiering of data blocks. That capability lets Infoplex “limit human intervention where possible so that the customer can engage with the platform seamlessly,” he said. Older storage platforms involved “a lot of admin hours that are spent manipulating and managing the blocks,” he said. “When I first came in and saw the guys doing it, I thought they were playing Tetris.”

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