Tenix improves disk latency with flash storage

Deploys Nimble’s CS420GX2 flash-based storage technology

Waiting more than 19 hours for some reports to run on a five-year-old SAN drove the IT manager of utility delivery partner Tenix, Andrew Pamflett, up the wall.

This is what made Pamflett turn to Nimble’s CS420GX2 flash-based storage technology, which Tenix deployed in September 2013.

Pamflett replaced 48RUs' worth of HP's EVA SAN gear with six RUs that can store 8 terabytes of data.

“We get charged per month, per rack so that was a huge return on investment for us,” Pamflett said.

The cost per month including power is $2150; one rack over 12 months is $25,800 per annum, he said.

Read: Harbour ISP switches to flash storage.

Tenix is mostly a Microsoft and Cisco shop, with around 1400 HP servers and a data centre in Melbourne that serves 1200 users. Early this year, Tenix started replacing the old SAN with flash.

Forty of the company’s virtual and physical serves are connected to Nimble, including a range of JD Edwards applications and VM snapshots.

Pamflett said SQL reports that used to run for more than 19 hours now take just two hours and 23 minutes.

“All [the old SAN] did was go away and read and read and read, and open databases and read and read and read. It was the most inefficient thing I have ever seen in my life.”

Being able to easily monitor and manage the performance was another advantage of the switch to flash, Pamflett said.

“When we looked at the Nimble box we could see what was happening with the IOPS; we could see the random IOPS, we could see all the streaming happening, we could see and measure it. Whereas on the EVA, all we could see was the controller was busy doing something. We didn’t know what it was actually doing,” he said.

Compression has also reduced Tenix’s data centre footprint, saving on power costs. “What we were getting was taking up 5.28 terabytes on our SAN, the Nimble took up a 0.48; it was a 91 per cent compression improvement,” Pamflett said.

Before choosing to take up Nimble’s storage technology, Pamflett considered upgrading Tenix’s SAN. He said the deployment of the flash storage technology was one-fifth of the price of the upgrade, and Tenix was able to “plug it in within a day” into its pre-production environment.

The active/standby controller architecture was another attractive feature for Pamflett. If one controller fails, application IO passes over to the standby controller without any interruption to service.

“The ability to pull a controller out while the thing is running and have nothing happen was exciting,” Pamflett said.

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Tags storageflash storagetenixStorage Area Network (SAN)nimble storage

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