Intelligent CIO North America Issue 22 - Page 63

CASE STUDY the university realized it needed a storage system that could deliver on some key requirements :
1 . It needed to provide reliable storage for the entire IT infrastructure .
2 . It needed to be dense enough to deliver value in limited floorspace .
3 . It also needed the storage to be flexible enough to grow and evolve with its users . As new systems and features have come online , the storage needs to be able to scale appropriately and work with the other various hardware and software systems they may need to acquire .
Despite these needs , the university ’ s fee-for-service IT model required that the storage system be procured cheaply enough for the university to be able to essentially re-sell it at a price point that would make it more attractive to its users than bigger cloud storage options such as Amazon or Google .
Plus , in addition to being competitive , the university hoped to at least cover its expenses , if not even produce some revenue to re-invest into additional services . IT employees found it to be very difficult to find a solution that could do everything they needed at a low-enough price .
The solution
After a two-year research and testing process , UCLA selected and purchased a series of Nexsan E-Series Model E60 storage systems . The IT department decided to create five ‘ storage pods ’ – each with one E60 SAN system and two E60X systems connected to the central E60 .
Within the pod , UCLA decided to deploy active-active controllers , each with a pair of dual 10GB ports . As a result , each pod features eight 10GB ports and 18 LUNs that feed directly into the university ’ s 40GB switches and interconnects .
Being that all drives in the system are 4TB , and the entire infrastructure contains almost 1,000 spindles , the system can currently scale up to several petabytes of storage – enough to serve its users ’ current needs .
The deployment was done in phases ; one pod with 250TB of storage came online within six weeks of purchase , and the rest came along within the next 12 – 18 months .
Results and benefits
On all accounts , the Nexsan storage systems have exceeded expectations at UCLA .
• From the initial purchase order to having a system in production , the procurement and deployment process went off without a hitch and took just eight months , minimizing time to value and maximizing ROI for UCLA .
• Throughput , bandwidth and performance have been excellent . The storage pods spread out the data load across the system with the help of thin provisioning ,




eliminating bottlenecks and taking full advantage of the switches and interconnect hardware .
• It has proven to be ultra-reliable . Since full deployment more than one year ago , there has been only one spindle failure – and that one incident caused no downtime .
• The entire infrastructure – with the ability to condense 240TB into 4U – fit into limited space and has been deployed with limited operating expenses , beating the ambitious density requirements UCLA hoped to achieve .
• The simplicity of the system ’ s design has emerged as a significant value-add . It ’ s easy to service while still keeping the system online when needed , and it ’ s easy to train junior people to work on .
• While simple , UCLA designed the infrastructure to expand easily . The Nexsan storage supports this perfectly , as more capacity can be achieved by simply adding more or bigger disks . Then , when deployed , storage blocks can be provisioned for users within 10 minutes .
• User feedback – both inside and outside the UCLA system – has been universally outstanding . In particular , UCLA has received many comments saying how users appreciate its storage because it ’ s simple enough to use on their own without any IT expertise or outside assistance .
• The costs to acquire and operate the Nexsan systems were lower than other similar solution options and well in line with the IT department ’ s business models , enabling executives and administrators to provide superior service and other added value to users . p
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