Disk provisioning issues disrupt software testing cycles

Using 100Gb of capacity a day

Downtime is a disaster for any business and at Perth-based DDI Health it was disrupting daily operations as the IT team struggled with constant disk provisioning issues.

"Out of disk space" warnings which force systems and applications to shut down were an ongoing headache at DDI Health which provides software solutions for the diagnostic health services sector.

The company's head of software development, Paul Graham, said while one set of servers would be full, another set would have disk space to spare.

"This made the provisioning of disk space between systems an ongoing and fairly labour-intensive undertaking," he said.

"We use VMWare extensively in the software development process, particularly in terms of testing.

"During a typical software release cycle, DDI might typically use up to 100Gb of capacity in a day by creating virtual environments."

To better manage disk provisioning, Graham said the company has deployed DataCore's SANmelody virtual SAN software to manage its storage and support its software development servers and VMWare systems.

With SANmelody in place to automatically allocate disk space to physical and virtual servers as well as workstations, he said the administration team's disk management headaches have disappeared.

"DataCore has removed a great deal of the complexity and management burden from our IT staff by automating tedious tasks that were error prone, disruptive and time consuming," he said.

"Our overall productivity and the high levels of system uptime being achieved has improved greatly. This is because now it is an automated process."

Today DDI equips each storage-hungry server with at least two terabytes of virtual capacity via DataCore's thin provisioning technology.

Graham said the applications running on the six servers that DDI maintains have each been allocated a 2 TB portion of the overall storage pool.

He said thin slices of storage are automatically allocated from the SAN when needed and administrators no longer have to worry about resizing partitions.

"But more importantly, we don't have to worry about any users being disrupted by systems running out of disk space," he said.

DDI Health fits the profile of a small-to-midsize enterprise (SME), which develops and sells software-based solutions to healthcare entities across Australia, in many cases to radiology practices as well as primary healthcare providers.

There are currently 30 development staff using SANmelody which serves as a backbone providing capacity on-demand.

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