Consolidation of ALEF’s Training Center infrastructure built on CISCO & NetApp

    IT Training is an integral part of ALEF’s overall business. ALEF’s training unit operates through eight training centers across Eastern and Southeast Europe. Most of these training require live labs and the newest, up-to-date software releases.

    To keep smooth operations, we need to use a dependable, secure, and robust IT infrastructure.
    For this, for more than a decade, we are using:

    • CISCO blade servers
    • NetApp Hybrid storage systems
    • VMware as the virtualization platform

    New training means growing data storage needs. Our advantage - We don't require external support to manage the system as we can handle everything internally.

    Continuously upgrading and staying current

    We started with CISCO rack servers and NetApp FAS2220, later adding FAS2240-2 and FAS2552. Such infrastructure became complex and inefficient to manage. We wanted to introduce a single system that
    would consolidate all data and, at the same time, try to extend the life of some of the existing systems. During consolidation, FAS2220 and FAS2240-2 were EOS, so we decommissioned them. We kept only FAS2552 to store cold, infrequently used data blocks from the new AllFlash system.

    Move to FlexPod architecture

    We followed FlexPod best practices by combining CISCO compute and networking with NetApp AllFlash technology for data storage. We replaced rack servers with CISCO blade chassis and chose FAS2750 for primary storage in an All-SSD configuration. Cloud Tiering technology was used to tier cold data to FAS2552 in real time. 

    BTW - Cloud Tiering is free when used between any ONTAP-based S3 systems. This allowed us to save 50% on SSD capacity without complicating the environment or losing functionality. Cloud Tiering is invisible to external servers.

    We extensively use ONTAP's efficiency features (deduplication, compression, and compaction) on our newly acquired FAS2750, saving us an extra 75% of SSD space. With both Cloud Tiering and efficiency features enabled, we have 0.5ms latency, which meets our needs for the foreseeable future.

    For more additional information, please download the pdf file bellow ↓