Since 2006, value-added resellers, systems integrators, and managed service providers seeking a faster and less costly way to enter the cloud market have turned to Peak, an enterprise-class cloud services provider, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Well known as the service providers’ service provider, Peak’s "White Label" cloud services enable channel partners to serve tens of thousands of customers and grow their businesses under their own cloud brand. Peak also offers "Red Cloud" dedicated private cloud services and "Blue Cloud" public cloud services.

Backed by NetApp®, VMware®, and Cisco® technology, these cloud offerings are supported by 11 cloud nodes across eight geographies: Seattle, Santa Clara, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York, and the United Kingdom.

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Bringing the best to market

Peak has provisioned more clouds than most other providers have, and that trend continues as popularity of Peak’s cloud services grows. To maintain for- ward momentum, improvements and innovation must be ongoing—not only across Peak’s services portfolio, but also across service delivery and pricing models. Choosing the right vendors to support its ongoing evolution is critical.

As a premier VMware Service Provider Partner and one of the first cloud infrastructure providers to receive the VMware vCloud® Powered designation, as well as a certified Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP) partner, Peak values the advanced functionality that NetApp storage technology brings to its VMware and Cisco environments. In fact, the synergy between the three vendors’ solutions has been instrumental in advancing Peak’s reputation as a leading cloud services provider.

Since late 2011, Peak has relied on NetApp FAS3200 series storage systems running NetApp clustered Data ONTAP® to provide fast, flexible, and reliable storage virtual machines (SVMs) for its cloud instances. Supported by the latest NetApp, VMware, and Cisco technology, Peak can instantly provision IaaS services to on-board new customers in days not months for faster time to value. Customers benefit from flexible, private environments that facilitate on-demand access to everything from higher IOPS to greater-capacity and rock- solid SLAs, as well as “pay as you go” fee models, all within Peak’s highly secure, easily managed cloud environments.

“Our cloud services work hand in hand with VMware, NetApp, and Cisco,” says Luke Norris, CEO of Peak. “With these integrated technologies, customers can ship their virtual machines in and out of the cloud with ease. They are at the core of our competitive advantage— and of our customers.”

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Taking Peak services to new heights

With a single customer installation recently breaking the 2PB mark, a steady stream of new customers, and expansion to eight regions in just a few years’ time, Peak is experiencing tremendous growth on all levels. To better accommodate that growth and deliver even more power, agility, and savings to customers, Peak is currently migrating from NetApp FAS3200 and FAS6200 series storage systems to 10 FAS8000 series systems that run the clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 operating system.

Housed within the company’s 11 HIPAA, HITECH, and SSAE 16 SOC 1 and 2 Type II–compliant and PCI-capable cloud nodes, this advanced storage infrastructure is configured in new eight-node clustered pairs. These clustered pairs solidly back Peak’s 100% uptime SLAs and support massive scale-up and scale-out capabilities to keep pace with Peak’s triple-digit growth. NetApp Flash Pool intelligent caching economically optimizes workload performance by leveraging solid-state drives (SSDs) and less costly hard disk drives (HDDs) at the aggregate level.

On the server side, Cisco UCS® blade servers, along with Cisco Nexus® switches, seamlessly integrate with the NetApp platform to form a fully certified FlexPod® solution. Cohesively aligned with Peak’s VMware vSphere® and vCloud technology, the FlexPod infrastructure, equipped with NetApp clustered Data ONTAP technology, provides an even more powerful and agile storage foundation for Peak’s cloud services.

Strengthening service offerings with added capabilities

NetApp clustered technology has not only enabled Peak to provide a private NetApp SVM to each channel partner, but also has enabled each partner to support individual SVMs for each of its customers. Secure multi-tenancy capabilities facilitate the delivery of each SVM with a unique target and initiator as well as a unique access point and management, allowing individualized control.

“We currently have over 100 dedicated portals, and each one is branded to unique white label partners of ours,” explains Norris. “Some of those portals actually have up to four vCenter environments, and the ability to give those white labels access to the vCenter, and a plug-in to securely connect back to a NetApp SVM, once again gives us a differentiator in the market when it comes to our white label service offering.”

Expanding on the NetApp software- defined storage strategy, the NetApp clustered Data ONTAP quality-of-service (QoS) feature gives Peak control over how storage resources are individually consumed across its cloud offerings. This capability opens up the ability to provide performance-based guarantees and also gives customers more options to match services to needs and get the best price point. For example, with IOPS QoS control, Peak can offer customers a price for a performance medium that determines whether random reads and writes cached onto Flash Pool SSDs will tier to SAS or SATA drives.

“Initially we thought these QoS capabilities were just going to be a way to prevent one tenant’s workload demands from affecting others,” says Norris. “What NetApp storage QoS has actually become is a true business enabler that helps us compartmentalize each customer’s environment and customize a solution around the IOPS that they want to buy with a guaranteed SLA.”

NetApp storage QoS has also enabled Peak to make the most of its storage investments. “Before, we could load up a box only to about 40% or 50%, keeping what was left in reserve to help with higher tiers and spikes from some of the customers,” explains Norris. “Now with NetApp QoS, we are able to put the right number of customers on the right number of heads to actually maximize our own revenue out of those particular units.”

In addition, Peak recently began offering a new, cost-effective way to address customers’ long-term data retention and object store needs through the NetApp StorageGRID® solution. An object-based storage solution that combines the efficiency of NetApp technology with metadata- based data management, StorageGRID enables content to be stored and accessed across multiple sites.

SOLUTION COMPONENTS

FlexPod Components

NetApp FAS3200, FAS6200,

FAS8000 series storage systems NetApp E-Series controllers

Cisco Unified Computing System B-Series blade servers

Cisco Nexus switches


Virtualization Components

VMware vSphere 5 vCenter

VMware vCloud Director


NetApp Software

Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 Flash Pool

StorageGRID


Protocols

NFS iSCSI

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  • Offer performance-based SLAs made possible by NetApp clustered Data ONTAP QoS capabilities
  • Deliver 100% uptime SLAs for continuous operations
  • Manage 5PB of active storage across eight geographies with two storage administrators
  • Scale to support 400% growth over the past three years

Simplified management and resource efficiencies

Despite the exponential growth that Peak has seen over the last few years, the company has only two senior administrators managing greater than 5PB of storage across eight geographies. Extensive integration between NetApp, VMware, and Cisco technologies makes this possible. “The VMware solution doesn’t just see the NetApp infrastructure as a single SAN, but can see it as multiple SANs,” explains Norris. “This means we can take advantage of all the access controls and security restrictions in place, yet still give administrators points of access to easily manage such a large storage infrastructure.”

A tailored fit and greater innovation

Today, Peak and its customers are able to take even greater advantage of the unsurpassed flexibility and security that NetApp, VMware, and Cisco technologies bring to Peak’s cloud services. “If an enterprise wants to keep certain departments separate, we can put each environment in its own secure container, yet still have the flexibility to migrate them, upgrade them, and move them as needed,” says Norris. “NetApp, VMware, and Cisco solutions have been real game changers for us.”

One of the more welcome benefits of NetApp cluster mode and its QoS capabilities is that a channel partner can on-board one of its customers on a pure SSD solution and let that customer run applications to determine what kind of IOPS are required. The channel partner can then lock in that IOPS count and seamlessly move the volume to the proper medium based on the price point that works best for that customer.

“As a white label, a channel partner will buy a large chunk of IOPS from us,” says Norris. “We put that into an SVM and then they’re able to chop up those IOPS on the volumes as needed, and further apply that QoS down to the volume. QoS can even be tied down to a file on an NFS store now, so you could have a VMDK from a VMware host with a specified amount of IOPS.”

Backed by NetApp, VMware, and Cisco technology, Peak is able to take the value it can deliver with SLAs around IOPS and leverage that in a secure cloud solution, which makes for a highly competitive offering. These integrated technologies also position Peak to support InterCloud, an IEEE standard for cloud-to-cloud interoperability and federation that enables clouds to peer with other clouds for different services and capabilities.

“InterCloud is about harnessing best- of-breed services among and between cloud providers,” says Norris. “Peak is already practicing the InterCloud concept with AWS, whose enterprise customers can purchase NetApp storage as needed in an opex model that is sold to AWS as a service through our channel partner Avnet.”

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