IRIS wanted to bring the benefits of software-defined storage—high performance, resilience and flexibility—within the financial reach of all clients. By implementing SUSE Enterprise Storage, based on open source Ceph technology, IRIS gained a software-defined platform that supports massive scale with object-oriented storage built on commodity industry standard hardware.


Founded in 1987, IRIS has been a member of the Canon Group since 2013, and is a key competence center in Information Management for the global organization.

IRIS relies on a well-known reputation for innovation, offering a complete range of technological solutions, products and services. It aims to help organizations better manage their information, and transform their assets into digital data.

The Challenge

Most businesses today need to support several diverse technology platforms: on premise and cloud-based applications and databases; communication and networking systems; data storage, backup and recovery solutions. In many cases, the cost—in time, money and management focus—of maintaining internal personnel to manage all these technologies outweighs the perceived benefits. This represents a significant business opportunity for expert firms like IRIS, which specializes in managed services within a broad portfolio of business and IT offerings.

Geert Reynaerts, Delivery Director Hybrid Cloud Solutions & Services at IRIS, said: “Our clients want to focus on their core competencies, so they entrust some or all of their IT operations to us—either through support for their on premise technologies or as a fully out-sourced service.

“Seeing that clients were increasingly looking for low cost highly scalable object oriented storage, particularly for media files and other important but infrequently accessed data, we wanted to find a cost-effective, highly scalable, risk free solution for them.”

“By selecting SUSE Enterprise Storage powered by Ceph technology we gained access to all the benefits of Ceph without any downsides.”

SUSE Solution

Designing, deploying and managing enterprise data storage solutions has historically been a major activity for IRIS, and the company was already running a software defined storage (SDS) platform for its larger clients. Extending this solution to smaller clients was not viable, as high licensing fees from third-party software vendors put it out of their financial reach.

“We wanted an alternative approach for clients who liked the SDS concept but couldn’t justify the cost,” said Geert Reynaerts. “The open source Ceph solution was promising, but our tests showed that maintaining the solution would be time consuming, so the saving on licensing would be counter balanced by additional management costs. By selecting SUSE Enterprise Storage powered by Ceph technology we gained access to all the benefits of Ceph without any downsides.”

SUSE Enterprise Storage enables rapid provisioning and easy management of extremely scalable unified block, file and object storage on commodity industry standard hardware. Additional tools like OpenATTIC combined with methodologies, and expert support, from SUSE delivered a smooth deployment and simple management of the Ceph-based technology, enabling IRIS to offer enterprise class mass storage services at economical prices without compromise.

The Results

Choosing SUSE Enterprise Storage powered by Ceph Technology has given IRIS the ability to meet client demands for fast, resilient, low-cost mass-data storage within an easy to manage, scalable and highly reliable environment. The architecture naturally delivers exceptional resiliency and availability thanks to automated optimization and self-healing capabilities, and enables practically unlimited scalability without downtime.

As SUSE’s first accredited partner in Belgium, IRIS also has advanced skills in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications (on both x86 and IBM Power architectures) and SUSE Manager. Nevertheless, the company remains fully independent, with a multi-vendor perspective.

“We hold accreditations from several major technology companies, and we always propose the best solution after analysing each client’s situation, even if it’s not in our portfolio!” said Geert Reynaerts.

“We value SUSE technology for its stability, flexibility, manageability, openness and long-term support, and we find our corporate mind set is closely aligned with SUSE’s, which is great news for our joint clients.”