Virtualization Technology News and Information
Waterstons Recommends Software defined, flash accelerated affordable storage
DataCore Software, a leader in Software-Defined Storage, have announced that Offshore Group Newcastle Limited (OGN) in Tyneside has optimized their virtualized estate further using the power and flex of DataCore's SANsymphony-V solution. The company provides engineering, procurement and construction services to the offshore oil & gas and renewable energy industries. Working at the forefront of innovation and engineering excellence, the company's modern data centers are equally well equipped, future-proofed and consolidated. Fully virtualized and filled with VMware virtual hosts sharing fiber channel storage, the IT Department deliver and support multiple intensive applications from offshore planning to business critical services such as SQL and ERP. However, as the business has blossomed with prestigious contract wins and a switch to 24 hour operations, so the pressure upon IT has mounted. Expansion of the company's SAP Enterprise Resource Planning platform alongside Microsoft Exchange, SQL databases and file servers was squeezing the storage infrastructure to such an extent that bottlenecks were becoming more commonplace.

"The problem we saw at OGN manifested entirely from ongoing successful business growth. The modern, highly virtualized VMware ESX environment that had been executed meticulously a few years back had almost trebled in size, and storage could no longer cope with the demands the business placed on burgeoning critical applications." Simon Birbeck, Executive Technology Consultant, Waterstons.

Waterston's Solution: Turbo-Charge the Estate & Unleash the Power of DataCore.

OGN were already running metro-cluster synchronously mirrored storage, with the stretch cluster running on a pair of DataCore SANsymphony-V nodes housed on Dell T620 commodity servers and MD1220 SAS-attached storage, with a fully redundant 8Gbps Brocade fibre channel fabric across the iconic site. This infrastructure provided the business with continuous availability even during periods of data center maintenance, with a no single point of failure design. To deal with the unprecedented growth of the environment, a straightforward turbo charge of the Head Office virtual estate was implemented with the relatively low cost introduction of a new storage tier; a Micron P420m PCI-e flash card. The resultant additional 1400GB of low latency storage harnessed DataCore's Auto Tiering feature to automatically maintain the production working data set across all key virtual machines on flash. Auto Tiering adapts continuously to changes - making sure the right data is held in the right place at the right time.

One Million IOPs Achieved Overnight: After install, all eyes turned to see how the extra flash IOPs (Input/Output Operations per Second - the measurement of storage performance) would perform in handling line of business applications in the turbo charged environment. Approaching a million IOPs, the Team realised they had executed one of the fastest infrastructure performance improvement projects with little outlay, and infrastructure overhead and no disruption to operations.

Jonathan Taylor, OGN's Corporate Head of IT observes:- "By utilizing ‘off-the-shelf' components in a creative solution, Waterstons were able to dramatically increase performance of our systems across the board. Crucially, the performance uplift was sufficient to enable us to defer adoption of costly ‘in memory' ERP appliances, at least until that technology becomes suitably mature." Simon Birbeck, Executive Technology Consultant, Waterston's concluded:- "The IOP count showed even greater performance improvements than we had initially envisaged. And these weren't just benchmark figures. Six months down the line, OGN continues to enjoy lightning fast storage response for their line of business applications which helps to give them a competitive edge."

Published Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:06 PM by David Marshall
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