Asteris Relies on Western Digital and AC&NC™ to Deliver Veterinary IT Services with Microsoft® Storage Spaces


THE ORGANIZATION

Asteris, Inc. exemplifies that veterinary healthcare can be as advanced as human healthcare. Founded in 2004, the company’s Keystone platform offers telehealth capabilities for veterinarians, radiologists, cardiologists, and veterinarian technicians. Providers from single practioners to animal hospitals, universities, and groups of specialists use the innovative Asteris solution to store, transfer, retrieve, and view medical images and reports easily and securely. The cloud-based, image-archiving and communications system expedites workflows and care for animals. Colorado-based Asteris has customers on five continents, including all fifty states and such countries as the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. 

THE CHALLENGE

Veterinary healthcare faces the same IT challenges as human healthcare. Providers must safely store and distribute files, such as large radiological images used for diagnostics. Asteris’s rapid growth, however, outpaced the capacity of its legacy storage systems to house customer data. This in itself was a challenge, but the firm faced other issues.

Asteris is a truly digital company without brick-and-mortar facilities. Its employees work from home offices and it leases racks from an infrastructure provider for its data center. 

“As a virtual enterprise, Asteris is very forward-thinking, but we don’t have a dedicated data center,” said Jason Otis, CEO of Asteris. “Having limited rack space, we required solutions that are very compact, but still deliver enterprise-class capacity.”

Moreover, Asteris relies on its patented software, and Windows Storage Spaces, to manage, compress, encrypt, and store files. It deploys HBA controllers in its servers and thus needed JBODs (Just-a-Bunch-of-Disks) to support its software-defined storage technology. 

“We didn’t want the cost and complexity of storage arrays with their own controllers,” said Otis. “Of all the vendors we spoke with, AC&NC best understood our requirements.”

THE SOLUTION

Two HGST Ultrastar® Data60 Storage Platforms from AC&NC SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

• Two HGST Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms from AC&NC

• Two Dell servers

• Windows Storage Spaces

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

To support its growth, Asteris installed two Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms from AC&NC in its data center to anchor its software-defined digital imaging and communications storage solution. 

“The Ultrastar® Data60 Storage Platforms are enterprise-class JBODs that support our proprietary software,” said Otis. “With them, we can deliver the speed and capacity that veterinary healthcare providers demand without needing to architect a SAN or NAS with expensive, complex storage arrays. Moreover, they don’t require on-site staff to manage them, which is important to a virtual company.”

The 4U, 60-bay Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms are hybrid solutions that support both hard drives and SSDs and offer up to 720TB of raw storage in a compact form factor. “We love their density, which maximizes our leased rack space,” added Otis. “Despite all their drives, their patented IsoVibe technology reduces vibration, ensuring no performance degradation.” 

Additionally, their patented Arctic Flow technology enables the chassis to operate at lower temperatures, further reducing vibration, lowering power consumption, and enhancing reliability.  “They operate noticeably cooler than our old solutions, despite their much greater capacity and density,” noted Otis. 

Someday when Asteris needs petabytes of storage, the firm can simply daisy-chain additional Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms to those it already has, enabling it to satisfy customers well into the future.

“With their solid build quality, redundant components, and excellent speed, the Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms show how useful and cost-effective JBODs can be. For us, it was a no-brainer. AC&NC delivered exactly what we needed.”

HOW WE DID IT

Asteris installed two Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms in its leased racks and provisioned each with 30 10 TB and 30 12 TB HGST Helium hard drives, for a total of 60 drives in each chassis. With 12Gb/s SAS connections, it linked each platform to a Dell server equipped with Windows Storage Spaces and an HBA controller. Each JBOD has two partitions, so the servers see only four virtual drives on the two platforms.

“The platforms’ Helium drives provide impressive I/O speed and reliability,” said Otis. “We haven’t had even a bad sector, let alone a drive failure.”

Asteris’s software algorithms obviates the need for any RAID configuration. When incoming files arrive at one of the load-balanced servers, they are written first to that server’s JBOD and then to the other chassis, ensuring multiple copies of all customer data. For even greater data protection, files are also sent to a cloud repository.

Asteris’s software compresses files without any loss of diagnostic image data before they are stored on the Ultrastar Data60 platforms. With files averaging about 55 percent of their original size, the company has approximately 70 compressed terabytes of data on one JBOD and 62 compressed terabytes on the other.

“Deployment was straightforward,” noted Otis. “AC&NC was in touch to ensure everything was working properly, which we appreciated.”

CONCLUSION

With its Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms, Asteris is positioned to meet its customers’ burgeoning storage needs and to maintain its leadership as a supplier of image archiving and communications services for veterinary providers. 

“Our Ultrastar Data60 Storage Platforms are enterprise-class solutions that feature important technologies other solutions don’t,” said Otis. “They’re an ideal match for any firm seeking to implement software-defined storage for control and economy. Thanks to AC&NC, we have a key tool for continued growth and success.”

ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC)

AC&NC™ / JetStor meets the evolving needs for data storage, protection, and management. We leverage leading technologies to offer high-value solutions for NAS, SANs, clouds, and hyper-converged infrastructures (HCIs). Since 1994, our customers have spanned virtually every industry, and range from Fortune 500 enterprises to small and medium-sized firms. We support environments from data centers and clouds to branch offices and remote sites.

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