Data Center Turns To Scalar Libraries For Instant Scalability

Data Center Provider Uses Scalar Tape Libraries to Meet Escalating Customer Demand

As a data center service provider, Expedient Communications must be flexible and able to maintain stringent service level agreements with a wide range of customers. To gain operational efficiencies, the company installed Quantum’s Scalar® i6000 tape libraries in all of its data centers. The result: Rock-solid reliability and instant scalability.  

Varying Demands, Inconsistent Processes

Expedient Communications operates a network of data centers where it hosts equipment or provides services for thousands of customers, from startups to Fortune 500 corporations. Therefore, Expedient requires a storage platform that can meet widely varying service requirements of its customers. For some, nightly backups are fine, while others demand backups to be done every half hour.

Additionally, Expedient acquired many of its data centers over the last decade, and they often had different backup equipment and processes. This created inefficiencies and added complexity to operations management.

“As a service provider, it is important for us to be operationally efficient, so it’s critical that we have consistency across our platforms and among our data centers,” says Alex Rodriguez, Vice President of System Engineering and Product Development for Expedient. “We decided that we needed to standardize to keep costs down and service levels up.”

Because its data centers had operated independently, Expedient already had years of experience with a variety of tape library systems from companies such as Quantum, StorageTek, Overland, and Qualstar. The one that stood out was Quantum. As a result, Expedient moved to a standard of Scalar i6000 tape libraries in all of its centers.

Benefit: Scalability on Demand

The Scalar i6000 uses LTO-5 tape drives, which can hold up to 3TB of data at a 2:1 compression ratio. With the ability to scale from 1 to 96 drives and hold 100 to 5,376 cartridges, the Scalar i6000 can store up to 16PB of data.

Using Quantum’s Capacity-on-Demand feature, Rodriguez likes that he doesn’t need to buy
more capacity than he needs. He can add a hundred slots at a time without having to buy a whole
extra frame.

“There can be a day when a customer comes in and drops 50 to 100TB of data that they need backed up for a significant retention period,” he says. “When that happens, we have to be able to respond within days, if not hours, to meet our client’s needs.”

Rodriguez also says that the Scalar tape libraries help it to differentiate its service offerings so it can stay one step ahead of the competition.

“Our biggest competitor is in-sourcing,” he says. “We have to make sure we provide our customers a service that, when compared to building it themselves, costs less, is easier to work with, and is more scalable and available. That’s how we provide real value to our customers.”

With the Scalar tape libraries, Expedient is able to deliver reliable, secure backup that meets individual customer service level agreements.

“We are so pleased with Quantum’s performance, its value from a pricing perspective, and its capabilities and expandability that there is no reason for us to switch to anything else,” says Rodriguez.