GCI has deployed an Enterprise Grade Multi-Tenant virtualisation platform across two of its primary datacentres in Lincoln and Salford. Built on a core of Service Provider grade technologies and operating on the leading hypervisor engine VMware vSphere 5, this multi-tenant platform is specifically designed to provide Enterprise IT services with guaranteed performance, resources and service availability to GCI clients at all times, whilst flexible deployment options enable active/active, active/passive and DR capabilities between the two datacentre facilities.
Secure filtered internet access, optimised WAN and MPLS connectivity and internal LAN connectivity provide multiple secure access methods that enable our clients to integrate with the multi-tenant platform from any location and based on any configuration necessary.
Being configured in multiple N+1 Clusters, along with on-going capacity management and detailed monitoring and reporting systems, means we can guarantee the availability and performance of our services whilst resource pools with Storage and Network Quality of Service ensure that all our clients have guaranteed access to their committed resources whenever they need.
Storage Area Network (SAN) technology is used to provide high-speed tier 1 disk storage for mission-critical applications. By default, virtual machines are backed up every hour providing OS consistent rollback points throughout the day, with these backups being off-sited to the partner datacentre daily. This ensures total security of your data whilst such regular backups ensure disaster recovery processes can be effectively maintained and implemented should issues arise.
GCI understand that security and data integrity is of primary concern. As such, a defensive and in-depth approach to security has been taken:
- Enterprise-grade firewalls are deployed at the perimeter to secure ingress and egress to the platform
- East/West firewalling is handled through virtual firewall systems operating both at the hypervisor layer and at the virtual appliance layer
- Hypervisor-based anti-virus and anti-malware offers further protection from trojans and worms
GCI Enterprise Storage
The GCI Enterprise Storage platform is intended for high-speed, transactional workload processing and provides the core of our multi-tenant GCI Cloud platform, with SAN technology being deployed in our Lincoln and Salford datacentre locations for use by Datacentre, Cloud and on-net customers.
Broad Network Access
Enterprise Storage is available using Network File System (NFS) and iSCSI over the 10GbE virtualisation core network, both within the datacentres and out across the secure MPLS network to our nationwide Points of Presence. Local SCSI interconnects are also available depending on business requirements.
Optimised Data Processing
Each datacentre contains a dual-controlled, highly-available SAN cluster with tiered traditional storage shelves to accommodate differing workloads. All workloads are then passed through an SSD cache tier which dynamically optimises read/write activities for optimal performance.
Data written to disk is snapshotted every hour giving an OS consistent 1 hour RPO, with these hourly snapshots being maintained in high-speed SAS disks for 72 hours. By default, all data written to disk at a primary site is replicated off-site to the partner datacentre, ensuring a robust backup system is implemented for maximum data security whilst providing the capability for Disaster Recovery procedures to meet a 24 hour RPO target.
Data Segregation and Assurance
Data is divided into multiple storage areas allocated for specific customer use, each one being fully secure—customers don’t share storage areas for a high level of security and added peace of mind, and upon contract termination the customer’s allocated area is irrecoverably destroyed along with all the data contained within. GCI will be happy to provide a certificate of data destruction upon request.
Immediate Expansion Capability
The Enterprise Storage suite provides customers with immediate access to additional storage to support workloads as and when needed—GCI operate strong capacity management processes which ensure there’s storage available for customer expansion at all times, offering a fully scalable and flexible solution that can grow in-line with your organisation and easily adapt to changing business needs.
Enhance Cloud Platform Interaction
Enterprise Storage is integrated directly with the hypervisor platform, allowing the Cloud Compute platform to offload tasks for fully optimised operations—the likes of VM Snapshots, VM Cloning and VM Thin Provisioning can all be accelerated thanks to the integration functions of the Enterprise Storage platform.
SLA Backed Service
Enterprise Storage is a fully SLA-backed service offering from GCI at 99.99% on data availability. Furthermore, we’re committed to reaching operational targets enabling us to perform tasks such as service on-boarding, disk expansion, backup restoration and disaster recovery to the highest of standards whilst meeting and exceeding client expectations.
GCI Enterprise Backup
GCI have a tapeless backup strategy utilising SAN technology to replicate data off-site each day, ensuring data is readily available at a second datacentre site so it can be effectively used for both Backup and Disaster Recovery processes.
For Enterprise Storage users, replication of the SAN is achieved using replication technology to its sister SAN in the partner datacentre. This is configured to work bi-directionally, ensuring that even in the event of primary SAN failure the remaining SAN would hold the production data as well as incremental backups, offering a wholly robust solution and a class-leading level of data security.