CASE STUDY

Amid steady file server growth, Toshiba lowers costs 30% with Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage

December 19, 2023

Toshiba Group, one of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers, has more than 100,000 employees worldwide. Toshiba Information Systems Corporation, with 765 members, is responsible for building, operating, and maintaining the group's internal IT systems based on strategies and rules formulated by the Information Systems Department at Toshiba headquarters. 

The company's IT Platform Promotion Department is mainly responsible for the deployment of information and telecommunications infrastructure such as networks, servers, and cloud services within the group. The department also operates Toshiba's “Cyber Security Center,” and plays an integral role for DX in the Toshiba Group. 

Challenges 

There were two major challenges in the Toshiba Group: “expanding the data volume” and “increasing management cost.” 

Katsuhiro Nigorikawa, general manager of the IT Platform Promotion Department at TOSHIBA I.S. CORPORATION mentions data challenges: “Toshiba Group operates a massive-scale file server with a data capacity of 1 PB. Moreover, the volume of data is growing about 10% per year as data accumulates through daily operations” 

The company uses on-premises NetApp as a file server to store the data. However, purchasing a suitable scale of on-premises storage in anticipation of data growth for the next four to five years is a significant investment. Moreover, it was clear to Nigorikawa that “buying more storage would be a waste of money ” until the data reached to the expected volume. 

Meanwhile, as Nigorikawa investigated data access to the file server, he found that only about 10% of the data was accessed within the last month. 

“Most of the data had not been accessed within a year. Some data was not accessed in more than five years,” said Nigorikawa. 

Solution 

As a solution for these challenges, Nigorikawa decided to adopt the NTT Communications’ Wasabi Tiering for NetApp services. This solution utilizes NetApp’s “Tiering” function to automatically transfer and store infrequently accessed data (cold data) stored in NetApp to Wasabi’s scalable cloud storage. 

Toshiba Group has been implementing this solution on a full scale since September 2022. It was designed to keep 15% of data in NetApp, mainly hot data accessed in the past month, and store the other 85% of data in Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage. Since users access the on-premises NetApp as they did before the migration, the user experience remains the same. In addition, the migration enabled significant cost savings by placing most of the data in low-cost Wasabi storage

By off-loading NetApp's data storage to Wasabi, we have been able to greatly expand our storage area while maintaining usability at a lower cost. We have already achieved a 30% reduction in management costs, and the more we use it, the more effective it becomes. We would like to use this system to collect and utilize an even larger volume of data, including data from each site and logs from each country's offices in the future.”

— Katsuhiro Nigorikawa, General Manager, IT Platform Promotion Department, TOSHIBA I.S. CORPORATION

NetApp's tiering feature is compatible with Wasabi via the S3 API, which made integration simple. Nigorikawa explained the reasons for choosing Wasabi as follows. “One of the reasons we chose Wasabi was its low cost, and the other was its compliance with Toshiba's cloud standards. In addition, since we outsource our NetApp integration to NTT Communications, Wasabi's ability to integrate within NTT Communications' data centers was also a clincher. Toshiba has distributed its file storage in Tokyo and Osaka for BCP purposes, but NTT Communications' data centers allow us to distribute NetApp and Wasabi in each region.”

toshiba diagram

Results 

The implementation of Wasabi started with a verification targeting a small number of users. “Even though only 10% of the data is accessed daily, if it is ‘too slow’ when we need to access old data, it will be useless,” said Nigorikawa. 

Although Nigorikawa noted that “it took some time” at the beginning of the verification due to the huge volume of data and the large number of departments using the system, the index was optimized after several months of operation. Nigorikawa cited the following three points as the effects of the implementation.  

  • Reduce management costs by 30% 

  • Scalable response to data storage needs of the business  

  • Reduce operational burden by eliminating file servers in each department 

Regarding cost savings, Nigorikawa stated that “the more data capacity we have, the higher the savings”. In anticipation of future business changes, Toshiba is planning to leverage the vast amount of data that is not currently in the cloud. Wasabi is expected to serve as the storage for collecting and storing that data.  

”We are satisfied with the quality of Wasabi. As it is deployed on NTT Communications' stable platform, there have been no major incidents. We would like to use Wasabi not only in Japan but also globally in the future,” said Nigorikawa. 

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