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Going beyond service protection with flash storage and data protection combined


Today, I’m jumping over from my usual BURA blogging platform to talk about how service provider 99X is bringing fast, simple protection to its customers’ business-critical apps with all-flash storage availability and backup protection for VMware.

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HPE StoreOnce Recovery Manager Central (RMC) software integrates HPE 3PAR StoreServ storage with HPE StoreOnce Backup systems to provide a converged availability and flat backup service that augments traditional backup approaches. Let’s take a look at how a leading service provider in Norway is deploying 3PAR and RMC to combine the performance of snapshots with the protection of backups, and thus enable fast, efficient, reliable, and simple protection for their customer’s business-critical applications.  

First, about 99X

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, 99X is an IT outsourcing partner to small and midsized companies in the private sector. The company provides full-service IT delivery to around 8,000 IT users, hosting servers in the 99X datacentre and providing its customers with a single point of contact for everything IT related, including service desk. 


99X offers segmented and customised customer services – with dedicated network segments, firewalls, user-directories and collaboration platforms – built on top of shared services such as storage, data protection, core networking and compute. The company provides a rich offering of highly available services and geo-redundancy as part of its delivery strategy, and have a variety of infrastructure to support this, across its two data centres within synchronous distance.

Challenges for 99X

The service provider is dealing with:

  • Rapid data growth – 99X has been experiencing massive data growth as its customer base grows at more than 20% a year. The company currently has 1.5 PBs of primary storage which represents an average 100% data growth year on year for the last three years. Data growth rates are also increasing with the company experiencing 150% growth last year. 99X has a highly virtualised infrastructure with more than 3,000 virtual machines (VMs), with much of the company’s storage increasingly viewed as a central resource. Service-oriented billing combined with this rapid data growth has led to an increased focus on the price of storage
  • Expensive and error-prone data protection – Customers expect a professional quality service provider such as 99X to protect and back up all of their data, all of the time. On average 99X moves 1.8GB of data into backup storage every second, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Protecting customer data sets is a cost centre for 99X and was typically the single most expensive item on their customer’s monthly invoice. Backup was also proving error prone and time consuming to set up, configure and debug. Many of the failed backups had nothing to do with the backup software or hardware but were more related to the fact that data had to land on a variety of different physical infrastructure (firewalls, routers, backup hosts and staging hosts) and logical configurations before it finally got to the backup platform. Every hop was potentially the weakest link in a long chain of events leading to protected data. 

The solution?

99X wanted a data protection solution that met the high volume/low overhead requirement typical of a service provider. Specifically, 99X wanted significantly faster VMDK backups (a typical VSS consistent VM backup was taking almost 30 minutes to complete) and lower backup overhead with no individual VM configuration, as few hops for data as possible and simple administration.  Essentially they wanted “more for less” with the ability to meet increasing data protection demands with their current staff. 

99X chose to implement a 3PAR 20850 integrated flat backup solution with HPE StoreOnce RMC for VMware to lower TCO, simplify management, improve application performance and increase data protection.  

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Reaping the benefits

HPE StoreOnce RMC software converges 3PAR StoreServ high availability with StoreOnce backup protection. This provides 99X with fast and affordable end-to-end protection for virtual machines on its StoreServ array — directly from within VMware® vCenter. Benefits include:

  • Rapid online recovery – RMC allows 99X VMware administrators to create hundreds of non-disruptive, application consistent virtual machine snapshots and initiate rapid online recovery.
  • Faster backup and restore – RMC’s Express Protect feature enables the flat backup of VM snapshot data from 3PAR StoreServ to StoreOnce, independent of backup server software. StoreServ and StoreOnce RMC have enabled 99X to reduce the backup time for a single VM by a factor of 10! It now takes 30 seconds to backup each VM (whereas it used to take 30 minutes) and RMC enables them to backup a single LUN at a time with 50 VMs. Restore times are also many times faster.
  • Less cost and complexity – RMC flat backup streamlines and simplifies the backup architecture required for protecting and recovering VMs in VMware environments. 99X now has true LAN free backup with a reduction of the number of hops their backup data needs before it gets to the destination. In addition, new data protection schedules can be configured by 99X admins in 2 minutes with no need for any individual VM configuration. All backups are deduplicated using award-winning StoreOnce technology, thereby reducing backup storage requirements by up to 20 times on average.
  • Application managed data protection – 99X VMware administrators can monitor and manage snapshots, backup, and recovery directly and seamlessly from within HPE OneView for VMware vCenter.



  • Reduced risk exposure – VM backups stored on HPE StoreOnce are self-contained, fully independent volumes. These can be restored back to the original or a different 3PAR StoreServ array in the event of a disaster, or if physical problems occur in the production storage environment. This level of data protection cannot be achieved with snapshots alone.

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Protect the best with the best

StoreOnce RMC seamlessly integrates the world’s most robust flash-optimized primary storage system and the world’s fastest, most scalable and highly available backup system.

The result is a converged data protection solution that simply and efficiently delivers the end-to-end availability and backup that 99X’s customers demand.    

Hear 99X tell its storage story

Watch the 99X customer interview in The Cube at the recent HPE Discover in London.



Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Simon Watkins, WW Product Marketing Manager Backup, Recovery and Archive (BURA), HPE Storage.




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