NIFTY Corporation

About NIFTY CORPORATION

NIFTY Corporation, one of Japan’s leading Internet Service Providers, delivers ISP operations, hosted web services and cloud computing to a fast-growing customer base.  Since entering the cloud service business with the introduction of NIFTY Cloud in 2010, NIFTY has expanded the range of its services to include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) to more than 5,000 IDs.  

A Critical Challenge

In June 2016, NIFTY Corporation launched NIFTY Cloud Desktop (Dedicated), a cloud-based virtual desktop service, as a new service offering of NIFTY Cloud.  The service uses VMware Horizon DaaS as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software which is offered in the dedicated environments on NIFTY Cloud. Before this product was launched, NIFTY had to overcome a number of performance challenges when it implemented its own internal VDI for employees in 2011.  Running VDI on the company’s legacy spinning disk storage system created significant latency issues that produced negative user experiences among its workforce due to unacceptably slow response times.  "What's important for VDI in terms of user experience, is to make the user feel like they’re using a local PC with the performance they are accustomed to,” said Kei Hamanaka, Manager of the Cloud Infrastructure at NIFTY Corporation’s Cloud Business Division.

Enter Pure Storage

In order to increase customer demand for a cloud-based virtual desktop service, NIFTY evaluated a new storage infrastructure for NIFTY Cloud.  Pure Storage participated in a proof-of-concept test, initially to address the latency issues associated with VDI. “We validated that we could provide the quality that meets customer expectations and began production deployment with confidence,” said Hamanaka.

After the evaluation, NIFTY implemented a Pure Storage FlashArray//m20 as a strategic part of its infrastructure to ensure highly stable virtual desktop services. Using all-flash storage has dramatically reduced latency, a common challenge posed by virtual desktop environments, which provides a user experience equal to that of locally-attached PCs.  “By switching to all-flash storage, we were able to gain enough performance to offset the latency over the network,” said Hamanaka.

VDI performance gains were only one advantage provided by Pure.  As a cloud service provider, NIFTY Corporation recognized the need for its new storage infrastructure to deliver new levels of scalable capacity, reduced CAPEX and OPEX overhead, high reliability and streamlined management.  

"The design of a cloud service platform that can minimize cost factors – especially when it comes to the underlying storage infrastructure – is critical because it directly influences the pricing and margins of cloud service offerings,” said Kohei Sakai, Infrastructure Engineer with NIFTY’s Cloud Infrastructure Department.

 “In the evaluation process of flash storage platforms, we prioritized data deduplication as a means of reducing data center rack space and power consumption. The deduplication capabilities provided by Pure has consistently and significantly freed up usable storage capacity that enables us to support more customers with less cost. Since the launch of our DaaS service, we are seeing 8:1 data reduction levels."

“We validated that we could provide the quality that meets customer expectations and began production deployment with confidence.”
Kei Hamanaka, Manager of the Cloud Infrastructure, NIFTY Corporation

LOOKING FORWARD

But NIFTY Corporation is taking a broader view of its cloud service offerings above and beyond DaaS.  “More and more companies are migrating their enterprise systems to cloud-based IaaS, Paas, and Daas solutions to capitalize on infrastructure automation and reduce CAPEX/OPEX overhead,” said Hamanaka.  “A big driver of this migration is the accelerating need for companies to collect and analyze exploding volumes of data, not only for compliance purposes, but for analytics as well.”

With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), the amount of data generated continues to grow exponentially, placing greater pressure on enterprises to effectively and efficiently utilize data-capture and analysis processes to their competitive advantage.

“If you try to store a vast amount of data in-house, you will need to buy high capacity storage devices,” explained Hamanaka.  “That requires significant CAPEX and maintenance investments.  With NIFTY Cloud powered by Pure, we have a highly flexible and scalable storage infrastructure that is very attractive to customers who want to concentrate on optimizing their business operations rather than worrying about their IT systems.  The impressive data reduction, tremendous reliability, high performance and non-disruptive upgrade capabilities of Pure Storage arrays make this approach to business operations possible.”