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Jack Spencer Saves Big Bucks with DataCore SANsymphony-V

Jack Spencer is VP of operations and CIO of the non-profit American Society Health-System Pharmacists. Last Fall, his IBM Fast T 700 storage server, which had been in place for about five years and upgraded numerous times, started to fail during the registration period of one of the organization's national meetings that produce a large portion of its yearly operating budget.

"We had a lot of pain with IBM trying to get something done with that, and of course it turned into more of a sales call than any kind of a support thing, so it came to the point where we knew there had to be a better way," Spencer said.

Fortunately, he was able to stabilize the Fast T 700--which had a controller that was failing and several bad drives that were being masked by the controller's symptoms--it could complete the meeting's registration duties. He then immediately went to work on crafting a new system, which involved implementing a SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software system that used HP EVA disk arrays. DataCore refers to SANsymphony-V as a "storage hypervisor."

Even though his new storage configuration was up and running, Spencer didn't want to throw out the Fast T 700 because it was still usable, and DataCore told him he could put that plus some Dell MD series disk arrays behind SANsymphony-V.

"DataCore gave me a solution that allowed me to keep all those resources, and not get them out of the architecture, but still use them, maybe not in production, but in a test environment," he said. "So now we don't see the new system as an individual piece of equipment that has storage--we just see storage, and I'll tell you, the training curve for my LAN crew who manages that has decreased by 80 percent at least."

Spencer said his new system manages, optimizes and spans all the different price-points and performance levels of electronic and mechanical storage, including electronic memory, SSDs, and disk devices. It also features automated disk tiering, which automatically relocates disk blocks among pools of different storage devices. This enables large workloads to keep operating at peak speeds, while less critical and infrequently accessed disk blocks naturally gravitate towards lower cost disks.

The VP/CIO is very pleased with disk tiering. "So I get the date and the data that's aging, move it off the expensive storage, and it's a little bit slower when I want to call it up, but it could be faster if I wanted to put more higher speed storage down there too, so the tiering is great," he declared.

ROI-wise, Spencer said he saved between $50,000 and $100,000 alone by being able to keep using his legacy storage systems. He claimed to have saved another $20,000 to $30,000 by slashing his training requirements.

Does he go along with the "storage hypervisor" characterization of SANsymphony-V?

"Oh absolutely. I can go out and look at whatever storage I want and just throw it in behind," he stated. "It's pretty straight-forward, pretty simple, and pretty elegant.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/13/2011 at 12:48 PM


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