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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Oxford University and University of Birmingham - UK Educational Institutions Turn to DataCore to Overcome Critical IT Challenges

DataCore Software has announced that a growing number of UK educational institutions are deploying its scalable storage services platform, SANsymphony to address their critical IT challenges, increase performance and reduce infrastructure costs. From leading data and research-rich university seats of learning - including Oxford University and University of Birmingham - through to independent and state secondary schools, DataCore's solutions are seeing an increased uptake for storage savings, failover, resilience and much faster performance. Spencer Webb, the University of Birmingham noted:
"Prior to the install of DataCore, failover was complicated and fully manual. We needed automatic resilience without human intervention. It needed to be fast, easy and cost effective, to work with our existing storage and support VMware."
Modern Educational Institutions Today Demand a Faster and More Reliable Architecture to Drive their Key Applications and Workloads without the Enterprise Price Tag:
Just as enterprises need better performance and higher SLAs from their key applications, educational institutions now need the same, but typically have stricter budget considerations than their enterprise cousins. Successful education establishments need to seamlessly run any application, 24x7, deploying apps on any storage across many different environments. They can now do this and protect their existing investments by allowing legacy storage to sit behind DataCore to gain intelligent storage services such as auto-tiering, faster performance and a single management interface and view of their storage infrastructure.
So no matter how diverse the storage may be, or which topology the education establishment has chosen or inherited, DataCore's software-defined solution offers the following benefits:
  • Applications run faster and uninterrupted.
  • Existing storage is pooled, tiered and data protected automatically.
  • Storage assets are centralised and managed universally.
The net result is better performance and availability for databases, VDI, and other applications, both virtualised and physical, at a much lower cost. That's a critical point as another leading London University noted:
"DataCore is installed at both data centres and is critical to keep services running. We used to suffer downtime, now we can fail over to either site and we can still meet our SLAs - upgrades and maintenance can occur without any downtime on critical apps. As a result of running DataCore, Regents University have reduced storage related costs by 25%." Zubair Fakir, Regents University, London.
Meanwhile, in the secondary school sector, whilst the number of uses and data sets are reduced and planned windows of maintenance are increased in the school holidays, availability of data and apps are now deemed as critical. One leading independent grammar school in the North of England noted:
"We are now thrilled with our optimised and highly available virtual environment. You simply get what you pay for in life. With DataCore, the install has been a breath of fresh air and I'm very confident in its ability to protect and optimise us for years to come." Simon Thompson, Network Manager, Bradford Grammar School.
Benefits these institutions are receiving with DataCore include the ability to:
  • Maximise the value from storage investments, current and future.
  • Optimise performance of latency-sensitive applications.
  • Automate and centralise storage management.
  • Enable "zero downtime, zero touch" availability of data.
Schools & Further Education Colleges Need Hyper-converged Too - To Gain Greater Productivity, Ease and Flexibility:
One such further education college in Southampton that wanted all the benefits of compute, storage, networking and virtualisation from a single hardware appliance, was Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, with over 1,300 students. Here, the IT team were keen to adopt hyper-converged across 40TB of usable storage space, which was delivered as a mirrored hyper-converged host using DataCore's Virtual SAN Hyper-converged solution. At the sixth form college, local storage was presented as an iSCSI target to local VMs, and mirrored in an active-active configuration to the other host. Using DataCore's inbuilt Auto Tiering functionality, the college is now able to utilise SSD Flash technology for rapid access to all their hot data, while seamlessly apportioning less utilised ‘cooler' data to large SAS disks, saving on budget. The sixth form college was also able to downgrade their former maintenance contracts from the costly 24x7 with 4 hour response SLAs, to next business day SLAs, given that their hyper-converged mirrored system now seamlessly defaults to the other host. 
"For schools and colleges of all sizes, it's about maximising IT infrastructure performance, availability and utilisation by productively using smart software to virtualize and add the needed flexibility to meet changing demands," said George Teixeira, CEO and Co-Founder of DataCore. "Educational institutions' IT infrastructures are often complex and decentralized, being the product of many years of accumulations and different departmental agendas. Additionally, their high-performance applications require predictable performance and scalability for a wide variety of mission-critical workloads such Oracle and SQL Server databases. By offering the best price-performance on the market, DataCore can ensure industry-best response times - making institutions' IT faster and meaning their infrastructure can be massively consolidated, eliminating complexity."
The last words revert back to Spencer Wood, University of Birmingham:
"Within the data centres, DataCore has exceeded our requirements. Day to day, we are not sure how we would operate without it. It immediately improved the performance of the VMs. We are now Auto Tiered to make the most of our storage which has lowered our costs, as we have been able to move off Fibre Channel. Downtime is now really simple for us. We can simply take a data centre offline and no services will be disrupted."

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