Cloudian Helps the University of Leicester Safeguard Its Intellectual Assets

To protect research data and other intellectual assets of international importance, the University of Leicester has to keep its Cloudian data back-up system running at all times. To help store and secure over 120 terabytes of data every week, the university uses Cloudian HyperStore and Cloudian HyperBalance (powered by Loadbalancer.org).

Challenges

As one of the leading research universities in the UK, the University of Leicester needs to safeguard over 1.5 petabytes of research data and intellectual assets generated by around 21,000 students and 5,000 staff. It decided to replace its aging storage area network (SAN) with Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage system and needed to deploy compatible load balancers to help it keep this vital back-up system running. At the time, the only load balancers used within the University of Leicester were ‘home-grown’ solutions, built many years before using open-source software by technicians who no longer worked at the university. As these solutions were difficult to manage and maintain, the university wanted to move to fully supported, commercial load balancers.

Solution

The University of Leicester started by setting up a proof-of-concept for Cloudian HyperStore and evaluated HyperBalance (load balancers powered by Loadbalancer.org) in this test environment.

“We were impressed by how easy it was to set up the load balancer solution and get going,” says Mark Penny, Systems Specialist (Infrastructure) at the University of Leicester. “We had a couple of calls with the (HyperBalance) team at Loadbalancer.org, and the whole experience was excellent. We didn’t look at anything else.”

Loadbalancer.org provides the technology and service behind Cloudian’s HyperBalance product. The two companies have a long partnership, so Loadbalancer.org is able to provide predefined configurations for HyperStore environments, giving customers what Penny describes as a “turnkey solution.” He says: “The (HyperBalance) Loadbalancer. org deployment guide gave us a really good starting point and the confidence that the load balancers would work with Cloudian (HyperStore).”

The university now uses two HyperBalance appliances (Loadbalancer.org Enterprise 40G), installed as a high availability pair across two data centers. These solutions balance traffic across 15 HPE Apollo servers, and back up or ‘churn,’ on average, 120 terabytes of data per week.

Results

The HyperBalance appliances (powered by Loadbalancer.org) play a vital role in ensuring the high availability of the university’s Cloudian HyperStore solution. “We have been very impressed with the way that the (HyperBalance) Loadbalancer.org solutions have reacted to storage node failures during testing,” Penny says. “The failover occurs so quickly that storage jobs don’t even know that an incident has occurred.”

Critically, the HyperBalance solutions (powered by Loadbalancer.org) have proven capable of handling an exceptionally high throughput with ease. At peak times, the load balancers handle 3.3 gigabytes of storage per second with no impact on performance. “The load balancers have not twitched,” Penny says.

Operating at Layer 7, the HyperBalance solutions (powered by Loadbalancer.org) also help to provide a high level of security. The university configured the HyperBalance appliances (powered by Loadbalancer.org) to provide a secure gateway from the private Cloudian HyperStore network to external services on the university’s public network. “This is a really neat bit of functionality, which improves security and saved us a huge amount of configuration time,” says Penny. The university’s data volumes are steadily increasing, so scalability is a key requirement for the load balancers. In the first five months alone, the university had to increase its storage solution from 12 nodes to 15 nodes.

According to Penny, “The (HyperBalance) Loadbalancer.org appliances will be able to support double this capacity.” Last, but not least, Penny and his colleagues have been very impressed with the HyperBalance support services (powered by Loadbalancer. org). “Support has been really responsive,” he says. “Even when we had a problem unrelated to (HyperBalance) Loadbalancer.org’s appliances, their support team was happy to get involved and help us resolve the issue. They’ve been really fantastic.”

Challenges

Ensure high availability of Cloudian HyperStore

HyperBalance Solution

  • HyperBalance (powered by Loadbalancer.org Enterprise 40G)
  • HyperBalance Support Services (powered by Loadbalancer.org)

HyperBalance Benefits

  • Simple set-up using HyperStorespecific deployment guide
  • High availability for critical object storage solution
  • Exceptional performance with large throughput
  • Effortless scalability to support anticipated storage growth
  • Improved security between public and private networks
  • “Fantastic” support from a responsive team

“We have been very impressed with the way that the (HyperBalance) Loadbalancer.org solutions have reacted to storage node failures during testing. The failover occurs so quickly that storage jobs don’t even know that an incident has occurred.”

—Mark Penny
Systems Specialist (Infrastructure),
University of Leicester

About Cloudian

Cloudian® is the leader in data management software for the hybrid cloud. With military-grade security, limitless scalability, and seamless cloud integration, Cloudian’s HyperStore S3-compatible object storage lets users optimize data access, meet data sovereignty requirements, and cut costs by consolidating information to a single, cloud-like platform. Cloudian’s geo-distributed architecture manages and protects object and file data at the edge, core, and in the cloud—for both conventional and modern applications.

Cloudian HyperBalance load balancers are fine-tuned to work flawlessly with Cloudian HyperStore and are powered by the technology and services of Loadbalancer.org.

More at Cloudian.com/HyperBalance.

Award-Winning

Proven at over 700 enterprise customers worldwide with nearly two exabytes of capacity under management, Cloudian Scored Highest for All Use Cases in the Gartner 2020 Critical Capabilities for Object Storage Report and was named a Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice in 2020, 2021, and 2022.