Customer Case Study: IONOS

IONOS is the leading German cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) specialist. Under the umbrella of United Internet, owner of other well-known brands such as 1&1, 1&1 Versatel and Strato, the company offers the industry’s highest-performing cloud services to medium-sized businesses, enterprises, and solution providers. Hosted in Tier-1 data centers, IONOS’ cloud services deliver unmatched flexibility through its integrated Data Center Designer (DCD) tool that makes it simple and easy for customers to design, configure, provision and manage their own virtual data centers.

Need for a New Storage Tier

While IONOS made its name in performance, its customers increasingly demanded an additional tier of lower-cost storage for backup data, archives, and file storage. “Our block-based storage infrastructure – with SSDs for high-performance storage and HDDs for less-demanding applications – served our performance-oriented market well,” commented Uwe Geier, head of system operations at IONOS. “But they did not address the growing opportunity in large-capacity, second-tier storage.”

This opportunity initiated the search for a new storage solution, with three important criteria guiding the selection process. First, the solution had to be fully S3-compatible. Customers would demand full interoperability with a range of backup and data management solutions that employ the S3 API, the de-facto standard for cloud storage. “We needed a solution that would not only complement our existing services, but one that would also be compatible with the ubiquitous S3-API that most of our customers use,” said Geier.

Second, the solution had to be GDPR compliant. With five physical data centers, three of them on German soil, IONOS offers services that adhere strictly to German data privacy regulations, which were already tough when GDPR had not yet become effective. The solution would need security and data locality features that would support this operating model.

Third, a new solution had to deliver exceptional management simplicity.
IONOS prides itself on service innovation, and a new storage solution would need to support this with fast, flexible management, simple scalability, and rock-solid functionality.

Cloudian Stands Out in the Evaluation

In selecting the new solution, the team decided to evaluate three vendors: Cloudian HyperStore, Scality Ring, and Red Hat Ceph. They compared these products across a dozen key attributes including feature set, ease of integration, and management flexibility. Each vendor was subjected to both a paper analysis and live testing.

In the end, IONOS selected Cloudian HyperStore. Key Cloudian advantages identified included:

  • Modular Scalability: Allows capacity to be expanded to an exabyte, without disruption.
  • Multi-tenancy: Provides isolated storage environments within a shared system to ensure data privacy. Also incorporates billing and quality-of-service features to help meet performance SLAs.
  • S3 Compatibility: Proven support for the full range of S3-compatible applications in use at customer sites.

On top of those advantages, IONOS valued the platform’s APIs. Cloudian’s REST-API allowed for seamless integration with IONOS’ virtual data center design toolkit, Data Center Designer (DCD). With this, processes could easily be automated to accelerate routine management tasks.

For GDPR, Cloudian offered features that enhance security by ensuring data locality, data encryption for added protection, and integration with the customers’ user authentication methodologies.

Finally, the team appreciated Cloudian’s multi-cloud management features. The ability to run Cloudian instances at multiple sites — including cloud platforms— and manage them all from a single console could pave the way for a future multi-cloud rollout.

Simple Implementation and Flawless Performance

The initial deployment included a total capacity of 4PBs on eight tailored SuperMicro servers delivered by Rausch Netzwerktechnik. Thanks to the IONOS team’s experience and Cloudian’s straightforward operating model, the team installed the entire system themselves, only consulting with the Cloudian technical support team to verify the software installation.

“We started out with eight nodes, including two for redundancy, and opted for a large number of small drives in each node to guarantee a high level of performance,” Geier explained. “Installation was uneventful and the system has continued to run smoothly. We expect to grow this installation and do not foresee any problem as Cloudian easily scales by simply adding new nodes.”

With Cloudian HyperStore, IONOS now offers an easy-to-scale solution for customers who require fully S3-compatible cloud storage. And because Cloudian complies with the demands of GDPR, IONOS customers are now able to freely integrate public cloud into their storage portfolio environments while remaining in accord with strict German data privacy standards.


Managed Service Provider


  • Industry’s highest level of S3 compatibility
  • Modular scalability for seamless expansion
  • Feature set enables GDPR compliance
  • Multi-tenancy, billing and QoS for out-of-the-box services support

“Comparing the solutions showed that Cloudian had by far the biggest feature set – it basically ticked all of the boxes.”