Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Vancouver School Board and Tiering; DataCore Automatically Triages Storage For Performance

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) in Canada has been using storage virtualization for over 10 years.

...As the start of a new school season looms, the Vancouver School Board (VSB) is looking to automated storage tiered technology to help its systems cope with spikes in workload and storage demand.

Serving a staff of 8,000 and students numbering more than 50,000, the VSB network infrastructure is subjected to storage and workload demands that can rapidly peak at any given time during the school season. The IT department supports the email accounts of employees, human resources applications, financial systems, student records, the board’s Web site, as well as applications needed for various subjects and school projects.

“Getting optimum use of our server network is critical in providing optimum system performance and avoiding system slowdowns or outages,” said Peter Powell, infrastructure manager at VSB.

Rapidly moving data workload from one sever that may be approaching full capacity to an unused server in order to prevent an overload is one of the crucial tasks of the IT team, he said.

“The biggest single request we get is IOs for storage, getting data on and off disks,” said Powell. “We normally need one person to spend the whole day monitoring server activity and making sure workload is assigned to the right server. That’s one person taken away from other duties that the team has to do.”

Recently, however, the VSB IT team has been testing the new auto tiering feature that was introduced by DataCore Software in its SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software.

The VSB has been working with DataCore for more than 12 years in other projects. The board based its storage strategy on SANsymphony-V back in 2002 when the IT department found that it was getting harder to keep up with the storage demands of each application. SANSymphony-V’s virtualization technology allowed the IT team to move workload from servers that were running out of disk space to servers that had unavailable an unused capacity.

“In recent test runs we found that the system could be configured to monitor set thresholds and automatically identify and move workloads when ascribed limits are reached,”Powell said. “There’s no longer any need for a person to monitor the system all the time.”

Automatic Triage for Storage: Optimize Performance and Lower Costs
George Teixiera, CEO of DataCore, separately stated that the Auto-tiering feature acts “like doing triage for storage.”

“SANsymphony V can help organizations optimize their cost of storage for performance trade-offs,” he said. “Rather than purchase more disks to keep up with performance demand, auto tiering helps IT identify available performance and instantly moves the workload there. DataCore prioritizes the use of your storage to maximize performance within your available levels of storage."

In terms of capacity utilization and cost, DataCore's ability to auto-provision and pool capacity from different vendors is key. He said, some surveys indicate that most firms typically use only 30 per cent of their existing storage, but DataCore can help businesses use as much as 90 per cent of their existing storage.

Post based on the recent article in ITworld: Vancouver school board eyes storage auto-tiering

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