“Due to the software-defined storage approach of DataCore’s SANsymphony-V, we are free to choose any hardware and no longer locked-in to a storage vendor, which gives us greater purchasing power," said Johan Reinalda, senior director network infrastructure and support services, Thunderbird School of Global Management. “This solution has allowed us to take a cost-effective approach when addressing our storage need. Additionally, functionality such as DataCore’s auto-tiering and self-tuning capabilities has led to performance increases in improving response times to VM within our VMware environment.”
No Dependence on Expensive Hardware – with Software-Defined Storage from DataCore
Thunderbird faced the IT challenge of being dependent on aging SAN controller infrastructure from NetApp, as well as various storage devices that were facing “end of life.” The school’s IT organization also sought to open up its purchasing options and free itself from this hardware and system vendor lock-in. Data storage growth rates were high and rising– so there was also the need to cost-effectively deal with the challenges of increasing growth and need for more capacity.
The institution was looking for a way to avoid the high cost of upgrading under its existing NetApp solution, which was deployed as a metro-cluster. Thunderbird wanted to protect its existing investment and therefore still has NetApp running, however, IT has been able to modernize its overall storage and has moved all mission-critical storage to a software-based DataCore SANsymphony-V storage virtualization platform. In fact, the DataCore implementation cost was only a fraction of what Thunderbird would have spent for the upgrade path from the incumbent vendor.
“We saved 60 percent on our storage upgrade – based on the quote from our original vendor, NetApp,” explained Reinalda. “We replaced all parts of the SAN – a total revamp, including disks, whereas the previous vendor option was to replace mostly the controllers. This was the overwhelming reason we went the DataCore route – that and no vendor lock-in for storage.”
Realizing the Benefits & Eliminating Downtime: Defining Storage Its Own Way at Thunderbird
In addition to a whopping 60 percent cost savings relative to the entrenched SAN vendor, the agility and flexibility the IT staff now has through DataCore – as far as scaling and expanding its infrastructure to best meet the organization’s needs – is now the norm at Thunderbird. For instance, system administrators can now add multi-vendor storage behind SANsymphony-V and have a single unified management interface.
The IT department is reporting a three to four times performance increase in response times of the storage for its virtual machines (VMs). Thunderbird is not using high-end storage behind SANsymphony-V, but they are using DataCore’s auto-tiering feature along with solid state disks (SSDs). The institution has embraced a high availability (HA) implementation in which SANsymphony-V is synchronously mirrored across two different data centers that are metro-clustered across the campus and as a result the IT team can perform upgrades without any downtime to its VMware “internal could” environment.
Reinalda emphasized that DataCore has ushered in a new day as far as making its storage infrastructure more resilient through storage that is software-defined. “The HA environment means better uptime. We have experienced no downtime in the six months we have been ‘live’ with SANsymphony-V,” he noted.
A complete case study concerning the DataCore deployment at Thunderbird School of Global Management is available here: http://datacore.com/testimonials/thunderbird.