EMC lab tests lead to Trade Me win

Trade Me evaluates new storage solutions and picks EMC

When Trade Me needed to replace its HP StorageWorks enterprise virtual arrays, which had reached end-of-life, it had to address performance and capacity constraints because transaction volumes were growing rapidly.

It also wanted to replicate three core databases between the production and disaster recovery sites.

Trade Me evaluated solutions from several vendors, based on two requirements.

“The first was performance, getting the lowest latency and maximum number of IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) at the right price,” says Matt van Deventer, head of infrastructure.

“The second was the ability to replicate our core SQL databases between the two datacentres, and fail over quickly and easily.”

EMC was chosen after it built a scaled-down replica of Trade Me’s environment in its labs in Singapore to test EMC RecoverPoint and EMC Symmetrix VMAX SE.

“The test proved the EMC solution would work in the real world,” says van Deventer. “We had varying degrees of success with other vendors but from a technology and capability perspective we felt EMC offered the best solution.”

EMC provided a dedicated project manager to help develop a timeline for the hardware installation and configuration and database migration.

Trade Me installed a Symettrix VMAX SE storage array with 3TB of capacity in each of its Wellington and Auckland datacentres, which are linked by a 1GB network connection.

The company runs a transaction database and two other databases that underpin the Trade Me application on the storage arrays.

By running three databases on Symmetrix, Trade Me has improved the performance of its website, which receives 60 million page impressions and generates 6TB of network traffic a day.

“The databases are the most fundamental part of our infrastructure. They contain information about all the transactions that take part on the website, including auction items, classifieds and member details,” says van Deventer.

“After implementing the solution, we increased the number of web pages we served while improving load times on our most frequently visited pages.

“Some pages were loading twice as fast, from 200 milliseconds to 100 milliseconds.”

He says there is a correlation between the speed of the site and the bottom line.

Before implementing the new solution, Trade Me’s failover process was largely manual, involving backing up data to a storage system in the disaster recovery site.

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