30 JUN, 2020

The new accounting policy for a Windows license will allow you to pay only for the time you actually use it

“Following global trends and listening to customer needs, we have introduced a new accounting policy for the Windows license. This is a positive news for customers, as the new arrangements will allow them to pay only for the time they actually use. The price is not substantially increased, but it has a 720 times reduced calculation step – if previously the minimum accounting step was the minimum one calendar month, now it is only for every hour when the particular instance is switched on. For example, the customer needs to test a backup restore scenario with temporary use of 4 vCPU Windows server for 2 hours – if previously he was charged a minimum monthly fee of 32.80 EUR, now for 2 hours his cost will be 0.09112 EUR (2h x hourly price per vCPU x 4vCPU), ”says Zigmārs Brants. By accumulating a large number of customers in its cloud service, it becomes technically possible for Telia Latvija to calculate fairer payments to customers for the provided service, which is actually consumed for a short time. Although Telia Latvija’s settlement step against Microsoft is one calendar month, it can amortize changes in customers’ short-term consumption at the expense of the widespread use of the service.

Technical data storage solutions in cloud services provided by Telia Latvija

Telia Latvija has been offering various public cloud computing services on the market for the eighth year in a row. The main core service in our portfolio is IaaS (virtual infrastructure as a service) to our customers and other our cloud services are built upon this platform. Eight years ago, when the architecture of this service was designed, the architects of the solution were faced with the choice of which way to go – either go with hyperconverged systems, or through converged infrastructure (classic 3-tier data center architecture – Networking-Storage-Compute). Looking at this path and the experience gained over the years, we can say that the decision to go for a converged infrastructure architecture was the right one, because it is one of our special features that our customers know us – the ability to implement extremely individual and highly customized solutions. If you need a dedicated database server with 4 processors, 200 GB of memory and a lightning-fast virtual disk subsystem – no problem! Do you require transcoding for 4K video live stream, which requires an instance with 10GB of memory, but 60 or even 100 vCPU of computing resources – you can have it. The virtual instance requires a 10G public connection to the Internet – give us a few minutes and we will set it up for you! The ability to provide unique flexibility for each of the 3 most important basic pillars (computing resource – network – data storage systems) goes hand in hand with our success in offering these services to our demanding customers. In response to questions from our customers, we will provide a more detailed explanation of one of these pillars in our infrastructure, thus trying to break the industry’s tendency to hide important information with a impassionate listing GB/month costs in the price list.

Data storage systems. An absolutely critical component of the cloud infrastructure that is tasked with storing, never losing, and quickly serving data to virtual instances, applications, and other information systems. For the primary storage of the virtual infrastructure service, we use only enterprise-level storage systems. Mostly of them are NetApp data storage technology solutions (both FAS and All-Flash systems). Over the years, they have proven to be extremely reliable components of the infrastructure, and with these systems, there has been absolutely no loss of customer data over the years. An innovation in our infrastructure protfolio is a number of IBM FlashSystem highly available systems, whose disk offering will be positioned in the missing gap between classic drives (spindles) and the top-level All-Flash offering. Various disk storage offerings have been appearing in our price list for a long time, and we will try to provide more details about these offerings and main differences between them:

All-Flash disk offering, also known as SSD offering – the most comprehensive offering in performance and reliability with NetApp All-Flash systems. For the virtualization level, they are exhibited as NAS volumes, which make it possible to create copies of disk array snapshots on the infrastructure. Although these copies are not directly available to the customer and are not described in our SLA, from time to time they play a critical role in the event of an unforeseen failure of the customer’s virtual servers and when their backups cannot be used. If we have the technological capabilities to help the customer, we will definitely do so and provide our support by restoring the servers from regular snapshots. In these disc offerings we usually make copies every hour for the last 6 hours, with a maximum retention of up to 2 days. From a performance standpoint, this offer is recommended for business-critical system virtual servers that require 2,000 or more IO operations per second, while guaranteeing IO latency to be consistently low.

New! NL SSD – disk offering which is based on IBM FlashSystem storage systems. Exhibited for virtualization as FC (Fiber Channel) block storage, thus obtaining a particularly fault-tolerant connection, but also some technical limitations to create snapshot copies at the infrastructure level. This disk offering is especially suited for virtual instances, which require significantly higher IO performance than the classic NLSAS offering, but there is no need to use the top-level All-Flash offering. For example, such a disk offer could be very suitable for terminal servers or web-frontend servers, where the main task is to serve data very quickly. Another special note about the this disk offering is that it is possible to create data replication scenarios when data is replicated (synchronously or asynchronously) between data centers. However, the implementation of these scenarios is not possible in the self-service mode, so if necessary, contact us for more detailed technical explanations.

NL SAS – our most popular data offering, as about 60% of all customer information entrusted to us is stored right here. The physical storage media are NL SAS disks in NetApp FAS systems, which are logically combined in small RAID groups with NetApp® RAID-DP® protection (RAID-6 derivative). To ensure a consistently low latency, absolutely all disk aggregates are accelerated with either FlashPool or FlashCache technologies. This acceleration allows to dynamically create a hot data areas from where data would be quickly served to the virtualization level without turning toa rotating disk. This is mostly the case for read operations, as write operations take place in the controllers memory and are carried out to disks when they are less busy with read operations. Similar to the All-Flash offering, the NL SAS disc offering has regular volume level snapshots copies with a retention time of up to 2-3 weeks.

SATA – disks offering for storing backups, data archives or any other such type of data. Technically, this is accomplished with a variety of technical solutions, either mid-range disk arrays (such as Synology) or software-defined storage solutions. Although they not far behind the NL SAS disk offering in terms of performance, the purpose of using this disk offering is not to be used as primary data storage for virtual servers.

Object storage (S3 API compatible – one of the fastest growing services in our service portfolio. Fully compatible with the Amazon S3 API, which has already become the industry de-facto standard. Technically, this solution is implemented on special servers with many disks, where the necessary management, fault tolerance and API is provided by software-defined storage layer. Compatibility with Amazon S3 also means that very often integration with existing applications is very simple, as the required configuration changes are only in the connection URL and access key. Existing customer scripts or integrations can work with data in both Amazon S3 and Telia Latvija object storage service. Storage prices are similar, but the difference is in the fact that Telia Latvija does not charge for the amount of data transmitted in any direction. One of the use cases of object storage is storing off-site backup copies in direct integration in widely used Veeam.

“To our All-Flash, NL SSD, NL SAS and SATA offerings, I would like to add that the creation of virtual instances with data disks in different data centers in Latvia region is supported, regardless of which of the data centers the computing itself operates,” says Zigmārs Brants.

More information on disk offer availability, limitations, prices, and performance gradations can be found here: Storage offering