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SaaS Customer Stories with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Storage services are crucial for SaaS companies. They require a reliable service that is highly responsive, secure, and cost efficient. In this post we’ll take a look at how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP is being used by three SaaS companies to solve their storage management challenges and ensure successful SaaS operations.

Jump right down to the case studies section here.

What Makes SaaS Storage Challenging?

The storage element underpinning a successful SaaS environment has to meet a number of crucial goalposts:

  • High Availability to meet RTO=0 and RPO < 60 seconds goals
  • Performance that can scale up and down to meat usage peak demands
  • Data protection and security to meet enterprise-grade requirements
  • Agility to speed dev/test pipeline processes and reduce TTM
  • Centralized management capabilities for better data governance across diverse and complex environments
  • Cost efficiency

For more detail on these SaaS management challenges, check out this blog post on accelerating SaaS development. Now let’s see how Cloud Volumes ONTAP is being used at three major enterprises to successfully deploy SaaS applications with cloud-based storage.

SaaS Customer Stories with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

In this section we’ll look at how Cloud Volumes ONTAP is being used in enterprise SaaS applications in a number of different industries.

Desire2Learn: Migrating SaaS Applications to AWS

Desire2Learn (D2L) is an online learning platform in use by millions, providing learning technology services from grades K through 12, at the university level, and beyond. D2L was heavily invested in their legacy data centers, but that was beginning to limit their ability to grow without massive CAPEX spending.

By migrating to AWS with the help of Cloud Volumes ONTAP, D2L was able to:

  • Safely migrate sensitive student and institutional data at use in their SaaS applications between the legacy deployment and the cloud using SnapMirror® data replication.
  • Increase their SaaS storage scalability by a factor of 10.
  • Reduced storage consumption for their and SaaS-generated data by 60% through Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s storage efficiencies. These powerful NetApp technologies—thin provisioning, data compression and deduplication, and data tiering—aren’t offered natively on AWS or anywhere else in the cloud.

Read more about the Desire2Learn case study here.

Willis Towers Watson: Storage Platform for SaaS Offerings on Azure

A worldwide leader in risk management, financial advisory services, and insurance, Willis Towers Watson is one of the top three largest insurance brokerage houses worldwide. Their operations span 140 countries across the globe and they employ over 45,000 individuals.

Willis Towers Watson was leveraging a new, customer-facing SaaS application. This presented the company with critical scalability, availability, and data protection SaaS requirements that they could not meet with their existing deployment. The native solutions they reviewed on Azure left gaps in those requirements, gaps which they were able to fill by leveraging Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure.

Deploying their SaaS with Cloud Volumes ONTAP at the storage layer provided them with:

  • High availability that can meet the strictest RPO and RTO points—zero data loss and recovery in under 60 seconds—with the Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA configuration. Using a dual-node deployment in disparate AZs means if one node goes down, the other takes over seamlessly, with all the changes synced back to the other node once it is operable again.
  • As an existing ONTAP user, all the functionality Willis Towers Watson used on-prem was still available in the cloud via the NetApp Cloud Manager control interface. This data management console is able to orchestrate data management across their entire deployment, whether on-prem or in the cloud.
  • Cloud Manager also provided RESTful API calls that developers were able to leverage to automate the storage processes and treat infrastructure as code. Read more about how Willis Towers Watson unlocked the full potential of cloud storage using Cloud Manager in the customer blog here.
  • Significant savings due to storage efficiencies, particularly Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s automated data tiering feature that shifts infrequently used data between low-cost Azure Blob storage and high-performing Azure disks as needed.
  • Disaster recovery capabilities with drag-and-drop replication and reliable failover and failback processes.

Learn more about the Willis Towers Watson story here.

Wirestorm: Reduced Development Time in Multiple Clouds

Wirestorm is an IT consultancy that advises major enterprises including Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Corbis and more companies on the Fortune 500 list on how to leverage business intelligence, big data, IT modernization, technical staffing, and cloud computing.

As a consultancy partner, it’s Wirestorm’s job to help other companies better address their IT needs. Wirestorm does this thanks to the benefits it gains from Cloud Volumes ONTAP:

  • Increased business growth 10x based on cloud deployment.
  • Harnessing both AWS and Azure in a multicloud architecture with Cloud Volumes ONTAP that enables data to move seamlessly between these two clouds, as well as Google Cloud and on-prem ONTAP deployments. This makes storage operations more flexible and avoids vendor lock-in.
  • Reduced development time from 6 months to just 1 month, largely due to FlexClone® data cloning technology. FlexClone writable volume clones not only take zero time to create, and they also consume zero space for the copy—no matter how large the source storage volume. Storage is only consumed for delta data created in the copy during the testing process. FlexClone’s speed and storage efficiency not only speed up the development cycle and decrease TTM, but dramatically reduce the costs of development.

Read more about the Wirestorm success story here.

Beyond SaaS Case Studies

Key to meeting SaaS goals is ensuring the storage layer supports the entire application, keeping development agile and cost-efficient while maximizing uptime for the end users. The more that a SaaS grows, the more costs will also become a concern, which means the storage layer not only needs to scale, but to do so while keeping costs under control.

As you’ve seen in the SaaS customer stories above, SaaS development and deployment with Cloud Volumes ONTAP can solve these challenges and support your enterprises SaaS operations with storage management features that enhance cloud, hybrid, and multicloud SaaS storage deployments on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager