“One of the benefits of Qumulo that works well for us is that if we need more performance or space, we don’t have to transition everything to a new platform; we can just add nodes to our existing cluster and the performance scales with the nodes we add.”

Nathan Conwell, Senior Platform Engineer

COMPANY

Vexcel Imaging is a leading provider of aerial imagery and downstream data products via the company’s photogrammetric and remote sensing expertise.

USE CASE
  • Geospatial imaging
  • Lidar
REQUIREMENTS
  • Reliability and availability
  • Rapid scale and performance
  • Flexibility in terms of scale and performance
  • Long-term partnership and vendor investment

Qumulo’s Hybrid Cloud File Storage Helps Vexcel Imaging to Map the World in High-Definition.

High stakes business requires reliable infrastructure.

Vexcel Imaging boasts over twenty years of photogrammetric and remote sensing expertise. The company’s UltraMap photogrammetry software solution offers customers an extremely rapid and efficient solution for generating aerial imagery and downstream data products.

Today, the company’s mission is to map the world in high-resolution. It currently holds half of the world’s market share in aerial survey cameras.

One of the biggest industries that Vexcel serves is insurance. When there are major catastrophes such as fires, hurricanes and the like, insurance companies see a surge in claims from homeowners; it can be difficult to determine which claims are legitimate, or potentially fraudulent. This is where the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) comes in – a fellowship of more than 1,200 insurance companies in the U.S., and focuses on fighting crime, primarily insurance fraud.

Vexcel Aerial Photographic View of Neighborhood

Vexcel and NICB created the Geospatial Intelligence Center to make high-resolution aerial imagery available to insurers. It provides “before imagery,” which is its blue sky data program that maps the U.S., as well as imagery taken immediately after a catastrophe that helps insurance agencies to compare the before-and-after images and accurately assess homeowner claims. This also allows insurance agents to manage claims remotely, in many cases without having to visit the home site, and ultimately process insurance claims faster.

Vexcel also shares its imagery data with first responders and government agencies such as FEMA, allowing them to see damaged areas in high-resolution. Frequent feedback from FEMA and other organizations to Vexcel is that they would be unable to respond as quickly without the imagery and data, providing a valuable and positive impact to impacted communities.

“Keeping an eye on the real-time performance metrics has been helpful in educating us in terms of how our processes actually work. The ability to fly around your three petabytes of storage and know where everything is, and how much space it’s taking, is life-saving in our business.”


Nathan Conwell, Senior Platform Engineer

The impact of scalable infrastructure on Vexcel’s growing business

Demand for Vexcel’s services is growing, and as such so are its storage needs. “When the data lands on my door for processing, it’s a huge challenge to keep up. We’re talking 50TB of data arriving every single day,” said Nathan Conwell, senior platform engineer of the mapping platform business, Vexcel.

“Storage is critical to our business, which is basically a massive fire hose of data. We could not do our work without a high-performance, high density, scalable storage solution of some kind.”

In the beginning, Vexcel was using Synology as its storage provider, but as the company’s data levels rose and imaging processes became more complex, Conwell and his team worried about the system’s ability to withstand the workflows without generating a negative outcome. In time, Conwell realized Vexcel needed a more robust storage solution that offered higher scalability, performance and capacity. His team began evaluating storage providers, and found its way to Qumulo.

“All of our projects are in the hundreds of terabytes range, and we’re processing entire cities at once. Those are very large blocks in terms of storage space; we needed to have a really large cluster that could handle performance, and we knew it was going to be intensive both in terms of throughput and IOPS.”

BENEFITS
  1. Scale. Better management for high numbers of small files in a growing company.
  2. Real-time Visibility. Better insights into the data led to better business decisions.
  3. Storage Efficiency. Higher return on investment in capacity.
  4. Customer Value. Meaningful partnership and investment from support.
Vexcel Aerial Photography View of Marina

Real-time visibility offers priceless insights into Vexcel’s business

Conwell also notes Qumulo’s real-time analytics as a way to gain better insights about the system’s performance and any data bottlenecks. “The real-time ability to know the exact file counts has been extremely impactful. We don’t have to wait for properties to load – I can just hover over the folder and know which ones to prioritize in terms of the pipeline.”

“Keeping an eye on the real-time performance metrics has been helpful in educating us in terms of how our processes actually work. The ability to fly around your three petabytes of storage and know where everything is, and how much space it’s taking, is life-saving in our business.”

Vexcel Aerial Photography View of Disneyland

Flexibility makes Qumulo “a much better fit” for Vexcel’s business needs

When evaluating competitors, Conwell noted that the Isilon infrastructure was “either very fast and very expensive, or very slow and cheap. We needed something more versatile. Qumulo was a much better fit for our business needs.”

“One of the benefits of Qumulo that works well for us is that if we need more performance or space, we don’t have to transition everything to a new platform; we can just add nodes to our existing cluster and the performance scales with the nodes we add.”

“Storage is critical to our business, which is basically a massive fire hose of data. We could not do our work without a high-performance, high density, scalable storage solution of some kind.”


Nathan Conwell, Senior Platform Engineer

The impact of a meaningful partnership and an invested support team

Qumulo’s commitment to customer success also helped Conwell be more confident in his selection. “My experience has been really great. It gave us a good feeling that if we’re investing this money on infrastructure, we really wanted it to be supported in a serious way by the people selling it to us.”

Conwell isn’t speaking just as a satisfied customer, but also as a former customer support representative. “When I was on the support team for our camera business, I was always really proud of our service and felt like it was world-class. It wasn’t until I met the Qumulo Success Team that I felt like we might have met our match.”

And it’s not just Qumulo’s Customer Success team that Conwell appreciates. Whether it’s a sales contact or a consultant on Slack, “It does feel like you’re talking to one culture in the company. Everyone is very customer-focused and customer success-focused. It’s a pleasure to work with Qumulo professionally.”

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