Gael Force Group
"After a great trial and hands on experience of some loan equipment, the entire team was quickly blown away by the speed and performance Synology all-flash arrays provide: the team having never used these previously, this helped overcome any initial doubts and questions we had. The price per performance was unparalleled against anything else we tried and beat out traditional enterprise storage without breaking a sweat. We now wouldn't go back and are already looking at increasing our Synology usage throughout the group." Daryl Titcomb - IT Administrator
Founded in 1983, Gael Force Group is a trusted marine equipment and technology supply partner to aquaculture and marine markets. Their core product areas include feeding barges and feed systems, mooring systems, underwater technology and fish pen systems, to name but a few. Now with around 260 employees across the UK and Canada, Gael Force has grown to become a globally recognised key supplier with the full capacity to offer highly durable turnkey solutions for fish farm site installations.
In 2018, Gael Force Group were looking to review their IT infrastructure and bring about a major overhaul. Originally each department had their own local storage, making it less scalable as well as the cause of throughput issues the company were experiencing with the current design. The IT team were also looking to move to ESXi, with the view of improving the usability of the current Hyper-V setup, so this was the perfect opportunity to review and upgrade the storage. They also wanted to ensure the solution would provide the aforementioned scalability with excellent performance for the Hypervisors.
The IT Administration department had been evaluating various vendors for the storage node of the system, and was introduced to Synology by their local IT partner, Cloud Cover IT. Synology had recently launched their FlashStation Test & Buy programme, and this provided Gael Force with the opportunity to review the DSM operating system as well as test the performance of their All Flash systems. The implementation went ahead with a second FS3017 placed 500m away on the same complex alongside the secondary host. Using a direct fibre link this allowed to create a High Availability cluster, providing maximum uptime and keep the storage instantly available should the secondary Hypervisor be brought into operation. Both units were loaded with 24 x 2TB SSD each, with Synology's RAID F1 designed to enhance the resilience of the All Flash storage pools. To further improve redundancy, 3 SSD's are kept as hot spares. The FS3017 cluster acts as a fast pool of storage for the 40 VMs, which run key services, including IOPS intensive SQL databases or IDS servers.
The solution has proved very cost effective and economical, allowing to halve the investment on storage compared with traditional brands. In addition to this, they have found the ease of use beneficial to them through DSM OS, making the initial setup and daily management particularly straightforward, further eliminating staff productivity costs which occur on a day-to-day basis with less intuitive solutions. Most importantly, performance has proved to be robust: the latency of the flash storage averages 1ms, rarely exceeding 2ms, essential to virtualisation storage. Gael Force has found the Dual CPU of each FS3017 to easily handle the workloads and had the 10GbE connection maxed out: with that in mind, an additional PCIe dual 10GbE card has been added for each unit.
- FS3017 × 2
- DSM OS
- Synology High Availability (SHA)
- PCIe-based 10GbE card