Interview with Sohamn Chatterjee, Senior Business Systems Architect, Spirent Communications
VSM: Can you provide some background on Spirent and the nature of your business?
SC: Spirent is a global leader in communications test and measurement with 20 locations in 15 countries worldwide. We enable our customers’ success in development and deployment of communications networks, services and applications. Our broad solutions portfolio addresses data centers, cloud computing, virtualized environments, security, high speed Ethernet networks and services, and infrastructure test optimization.
VSM: How would you categorize Spirent’s IT philosophy as it relates to customer service and your use of innovative technologies as a competitive advantage?
SC: The Spirent IT department is continuously looking for ways to improve efficiency and maintain the highest quality of service to customers. For example, we recognized that moving our operations to the Amazon cloud would provide a variety of benefits. We saw an opportunity to gain significant flexibility, scalability, and efficiency by moving to the Amazon EC2 cloud. This move would let us grow quickly and to apply additional IT resources as our needs change.
VSM: Once you decided to move the cloud, what were your top priorities? What kept you awake at night?
SC: For the move to Amazon EC2 to be successful, our IT staff needed to provide high availability for our Siebel Gateway Server and File Server application environments. We could not move important applications to the cloud until we were sure that we would not be putting them at risk for downtime or data loss. The traditional shared storage clusters that we would have used in a physical environment require shared storage – which is not available in EC2. We needed an affordable, easy-to-deploy solution that would support native Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC).
VSM: With these objectives in mind, what choices did you make?
SC: We chose SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition to protect our business critical applications in the cloud. The SIOS software enabled us to create a traditional Windows Server Failover Cluster in AWS without the need for shared storage. We built two-node clusters in the Amazon EC2 cloud using standard WSFC and added SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition software as an ingredient. The SIOS software uses efficient, real-time replication to synchronize storage between instances in different AWS Availability Zones, making them appear to WSFC as a SAN. The SIOS software provided intuitive configuration wizards, enabling us to deploy applications in our SANLess clusters quickly and easily. Complete integrations with WSFC, meant our IT staff did not have to change system administration or add complexity. Because the SANLess clusters use local storage, there was minimal performance overhead and fast application response times.