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We were looking for a cost-effective and high-performance all-flash storage solution that was Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe)-capable in the backend and also able to offer NVMe in the frontend, keeping one eye on future plans. It soon became clear that Huawei, with its new OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage series, was ideally suited to our needs.

Aleksander Baumann Head of Information Technology (IT) Operations at Sympany

For Swiss health insurance provider Sympany — billed as "the refreshingly different insurer" — 2020 was the time to find a new storage solution, given that projected data growth was threatening legacy storage resources. After extrapolating the required capacity, a shortlist of potential successor solutions was drawn up. In the end, the company opted for Huawei's latest OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage solution.

While digitalization across industries is leading to explosive data growth, in many instances such data simply has to be stored locally, so that it can be easily retrieved. This is exactly the case for Sympany who, on average, needs to upgrade or increase its storage capacity every five years. With projections for future capacity requirements always factored into the upgrade process, Sympany’s data growth has, however, been far, far higher than expected: as a result, in 2020, a new low cost, high performance solution was urgently required.

"We were looking for a cost-effective and high-performance all-flash storage solution that was Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe)-capable in the backend and also able to offer NVMe in the frontend, keeping one eye on future plans," explained Aleksander Baumann, Head of Information Technology (IT) Operations at Sympany. Duly, a shortlist of potential solutions and vendors was drawn up: "It soon became clear that Huawei, with its new OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage series, was ideally suited to our needs," Baumann said.

Cost-Effective Flash Storage

For a long time flash storage has been considered expensive and out of the reach — and budget — of most. However, with its innovative OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage products, Huawei now offers flash storage solutions at extremely competitive prices, paired with performance levels unrivalled in the industry: 20 million Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS). In actual fact, when Sympany first looked into Huawei, the latest version of OceanStor Dorado was not yet available on the open market. But a number of customers, including another major Swiss health insurance provider, were already expressing interest in it. "In such cases, we typically offer a type of trial version that potential customers can test onsite," said Marco Kley, an Enterprise Account Manager at Huawei. This makes it possible for enterprises to experience the promised performance in practical tests in a real-world environment.

With OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage, Huawei guarantees a compression rate of at least 2.6 to 1, all while offering extremely high reliability, tolerating the failure of up to seven out of eight controllers. This is a confidence boost for enterprises when it comes to overall performance and protecting their investment. "Huawei’s new product delivers everything it promises," Baumann summarized, adding that the Proof of Concept (PoC) option — where enterprises test the new product on their own site — is ideal for eliminating any uncertainties lingering about being an early adopter of such new technology.

OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage tolerate the failure of up to seven out of eight controllers.

Straightforward and Rapid Implementation

Belsoft Infortix — a Swiss IT infrastructure service provider and a long-standing Huawei Gold Partner — was brought on board at the implementation stage. "We greatly appreciate the breath of fresh air the Chinese manufacturer is bringing to the market. It’s always particularly exciting to be able to help integrate a completely new solution with innovative features," Simon Häni, Head of Enterprise Solutions at Belsoft Infortix, said. This Huawei partner installed OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage in Sympany’s data center, laid the associated cabling systems, and also carried out basic configuration, with the entire process taking under two days. And once the system was put into operation and the first performance test was carried out, a compression rate of 4.6 to 1 was achieved — a welcome surprise for Sympany and almost double the guaranteed rate while still delivering outstanding performance.

At these compression rates, we’re gaining even more storage space than expected, and such compression rates are also available when storing real-time services. The system is powerful and we have a comfort zone, given the additional capacity. And that’s why this project can be described as a genuine, real-world success.

Aleksander Baumann Head of Information Technology (IT) Operations at Sympany
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