A key project for 2016 was to further improve the performance, reliability and cost effectiveness of our underlying storage infrastructure. After extensively analysing and testing many of the SAN (Storage Area Network) alternatives available, we made the decision to go with industry-leading Nimble.

The outcome (with some technical comments):

  • Replaced the underlying storage for the majority of the virtual clusters in our Auckland data centre
  • Implementation was completed with zero downtime and zero interruption to guest virtual machines
  • High throughput, low latency storage system with flash (SSD) disk performance
  • Utilises innovative Cache-Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL™) technology
  • Highly fault tolerant with 99.9999% availability
  • Sub-millisecond read/write latencies

Is this possibly OneNet’s last SAN (Storage Area Network) upgrade?

According to Information Age (a website focussed on technological strategies) “SAN was once a brilliant solution to a real problem, and had a good run of innovation and enabled the early stages of server virtualisation. However now, advances in software-defined storage provide the same types of storage pooling as virtual SAN, but without all of the layers of protocol and I/O management that make it so inefficient.  Equally, hyper converged infrastructure is eliminating the need to worry about storage and SAN all together.”

OneNet will be keeping a close eye on converged infrastructure and its applicability to our operating environment.

Server platform refresh

As part of OneNet’s commitment to adopting current technologies, we are in the final internal testing phases of running Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 as our underlying virtual host Operating System. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 was released to production in September 2016, providing enhancements in these three key areas, along with additional benefits detailed in this article:

1. Advanced Multi-layer Security

Major security breaches occur on a daily basis, even to industry leading organisations with extensive IT budgets and huge resource pools. Attacks have become more sophisticated, so organisations must respond with a more sophisticated environment that presents new layers of defense at every level of potential compromise. As the operating system that runs mission-critical applications and databases, Windows Server can play a strategic role in an organisation’s security arsenal. Windows Server 2016 gives IT the power to help prevent attacks and detect suspicious activity with new features to control privileged access, protect virtual machines and harden the platform against emerging threats. Learn more about the new security features.

2. Software-defined Datacenter

With the emergence of Azure comes Hyper-V deployments at a hyper scale. This means they use Windows Server and Hyper-V at a massive scale to deliver some of the most efficient datacenters in the world. Not every organisation needs this type of scale, but every organisation can definitely benefit from the new models of cloud efficiency. Microsoft has worked hard to build that into this release so every customer can benefit. As a result, Windows Server 2016 delivers a more flexible and cost-efficient operating system for any datacenter, using software-defined compute, storage and network features inspired by Azure. Learn more about the new software-defined datacenter features.

3. Cloud-ready Application Platform

Applications are at the heart of every organization and its ability to serve customers and compete effectively for their loyalty. As the digital transformation accelerates in every organization, nearly every application needs to transition or transform. Windows Server 2016 delivers new ways to deploy and run both existing and cloud-native applications – whether on-premises or in Microsoft Azure – using new capabilities such as Windows Server Containers and the lightweight Nano Server deployment option. And to make life easier for developers, Microsoft has announced with Docker a new agreement that will make the Commercially Supported Docker Engine (CS Docker Engine) available to Windows Server 2016 customers at no additional cost. Learn more about the new application platform features.

What’s Next? Azure Stack Early Adoption Initiative

OneNet is excited to be working with Lenovo and Microsoft as part of the Azure Stack Early Adoption Initiative.  Azure Stack will provide OneNet’s clients with a local environment with which to evaluate the applicability of Azure to their operating environments and provide a template to adopt Hyper-Scale Azure Services.

If you would like further information on how these infrastructure initiatives impact you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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