World Wide Technology, Inc
Case Study

Investment Management Firm Validates OpenStack to Deliver Consistent Experience Across Devices

A proof of concept in the WWT Advanced Technology Center emulates production environment to test access to Ceph’s object storage system.

Challenge

With more than $1 trillion in assets under management in more than 100 markets, this global investment management firm generates hundreds of petabytes of data per year. The firm’s IT team was charged with looking for ways to increase service velocity and agility, deliver more consistent user experiences across devices and gain cost efficiencies. This, in turn, led the customer’s storage architecture team to consider Ceph, an open source massively scalable distributed object and block storage system running in the Linux kernel on a Red Hat OpenStack platform.

In particular, the firm was drawn toward Ceph because of its ability to auto-scale to the exabyte level and beyond and the fact that the architecture is self-healing and has no single point of failure. Also of interest is the fact that Ceph is a portable storage platform that can be used within public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

But to adequately evaluate how this solution would perform, the customer needed to test Ceph within an environment that closely emulated their own production environment.

Solution

Initial conversations between the investment firm and an OEM partner identified the need to perform a full proof of concept (POC). However, neither the OEM partner nor the investment firm had the capability to construct an emulated environment in which to test OpenStack and Ceph. Knowing our lab services technical resources and physical capabilities inside our Advanced Technology Center (ATC), the OEM turned to us to perform the full POC.

Global Investment Management Firm Validates OpenStack to Deliver Consistent Experience Across Devices 3

The POC preparation took approximately three weeks, and the test itself was conducted over a two weeks. The OpenStack pod within WWT’s ATC had two OpenStack Regions with Ceph Object Gateways, 12x Cisco UCS Nodes (rack and blade) consisting of:

  • 2x OpenStack Control
  • 4x OpenStack Compute
  • 2x CEPH Object GW and Replication
  • 4x CEPH Storage

The ATC ran a Kablue policy routing via a virtual machine for 35-70 millisecond latency generation and Citrix VDI instances.

The POC tested access to Ceph’s object storage system between sites at variable latency and loss scenarios and other test parameters. Among the tests performed, the customer’s network latency and traffic characteristics were mirrored and varied during the POC to provide a thorough assessment of the capabilities of Red Hat OpenStack and Ceph.

Conclusion

The POC achieved all predefined success criteria, including the successful emulation of their production environment, including data packet speed and other performance measures to prove the ability to use Red Hat OpenStack in their multi-region environment. Through the use of WWT’s ATC, we were able to prove out the promise of Ceph as a massively scalable, open source, distributed storage system remained viable in the customer’s complex IT environment.

WWT was able to provide a full test environment, which neither we nor the customer could have on their own. — OEM Partner 

Business outcomes as a result of this POC included:

  1. Confidence in Decisions: The tests performed in the POC were deemed a complete success. They provided valuable lessons learned during the testing process to the firm and assured them that if they move forward with a Ceph solution, it will be grounded on sound data.
  2. Quality Assurance: The POC test plan ensured all steps were executed and all observations were captured for accuracy.
  3. Risk Reduction: The POC tested access to Ceph’s object storage system between sites at variable latency and loss scenarios to identify potential bottlenecks and any areas of risk.