Virtualization Technology News and Information
C&S Companies and LA Metro Optimize VMware Virtual Server and VDI Environments with Hybrid Flash Array

NexGen Storage, the value-driven data management leader, today announced that C&S Companies (C&S) and LA Metro have deployed NexGen’s N5 Hybrid Flash Array to optimize performance and flash utilization within their VMware virtual server and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments. To meet their business needs, both companies required storage with predictable performance to confidently support VDI and multiple other applications on a single SAN. With NexGen N5 arrays, C&S and LA Metro were able to consolidate applications on a single storage solution, prioritize performance across mixed workloads, eliminate contention issues and boost flash utilization – all while reducing time, space and expense, and increasing customer satisfaction.

C&S optimizes business value of data in mixed workload environment

C&S, a nationwide engineering, architecture, planning, environmental, and construction services firm, came to the realization that their current infrastructure was outdated and would no longer support their storage needs. The company’s IT department wanted a single storage array for its VMware server and VMware VDI environments. “It was important that we could support a mixed workload on a single SAN,” said Jeff McGowan, senior network administrator at C&S Companies.

C&S deployed the NexGen N5-300 Hybrid Flash Array, and achieved the goal of one array for its mixed workload, running both the virtual server and VDI environments on the NexGen N5. C&S migrated its payroll, accounting, Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint, CAD licensing servers, archive data, and growing VDI implementation onto the new SAN. C&S’ environment is now 99 percent virtualized with vSphere 5.5 and manages its virtual desktop environment through VMware Horizon View 5.3.

With the mixed workload, NexGen’s performance prioritization was critical to maximizing user satisfaction. C&S set a mission-critical policy setting for VDI and Exchange to ensure they get the highest priority for performance, while the archive server was set at a lower priority, and the business-critical payroll application was set in the middle.

“We’re able to look at what’s important to the business, and prioritize through NexGen’s Quality of Service (QoS) feature,” added McGowan.

Additional benefits C&S has experienced with the NexGen array include:

  • Average write latency decreased 400 percent, improving business users’ productivity and satisfaction;
  • Average disk queue depth dropped from 5.8 to .23 and VDI recompose process reduced from more than 90 minutes to 20 minutes, increasing response times;
  • Storage footprint decreased 62 percent, from 8U to only 3U, reducing space requirements and operating expenses.

LA Metro eliminates performance gridlock

Los Angeles County’s metro transportation system, LA Metro, supports an average of 1.5 million daily passengers, and its IT department manages schedules for its 2,000 clean–air buses and six rail lines. LA Metro’s IT team began receiving user complaints and experiencing system performance issues during a refresh of its VMware VDI environment. The team began looking for storage alternatives, and it quickly became clear they needed a storage platform that could scale capacity and performance as requirements evolved.

“When we first implemented VDI, we would receive a lot of complaints that the system was slow,” said Richard Bezjian, senior systems project manager, LA Metro. “We not only needed a performance boost, but also an increase in storage capacity in a smaller footprint with plans to replicate to a disaster recovery site.”

LA Metro chose the NexGen N5 because of its ability to fulfill all of those requirements – economic benefits from streamlined management and reduced storage footprint, and its ability to scale with LA Metro’s plans to increase the number of VDI users by 10x – growing the environment from 200 to 2,000 VDI users. The NexGen N5 allowed LA Metro to consolidate VDI and other applications, including Microsoft Exchange, SLQ, Oracle and SharePoint, on a single SAN, and delivered a massive increase in storage performance for all LA Metro applications.

Additionally, the NexGen N5 storage solution allowed LA Metro to:

  • Eliminate issues related to VDI “boot storms;”
  • Increase available performance to more than 100,000 IOPS;
  • Support more than 2,000 VDI users;
  • Reduce desktop refresh time from more than 5 minutes to 30 seconds.

“The biggest benefit of the NexGen solution is that our users are happy, which makes us happy,” said Bezjian. “We haven’t had a single technical issue since we deployed the system, and we’ve been amazed by the performance gains. We’re looking forward to growing with the NexGen hybrid flash array as it can support us where we are now and where we want to go.”

“As C&S and LA Metro illustrate, NexGen Storage is ideal for VDI and virtual server workloads, as our flash-first hybrid architecture and storage QoS are designed to prioritize workloads by business importance and to deliver faster response times for users in virtual environments,” said Chris McCall, senior vice president of marketing, NexGen Storage. “Through validated integration with VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop, we deliver customer-centric storage solutions that provide IT administrators the real-time agility they need to adapt to ever-changing business requirements and priorities.”

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 4:39 PM by David Marshall
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