What does it take to get results with an all-flash NVMe-oF storage solution? The technology is maturing, with many options available on the market. However, aligning the storage platform with an organization’s distinctive requirements takes planning, along with the right solution. In this article, a network manager at a manufacturing company discusses how his team has found success with the Pavilion HyperParallel Storage Platform™. As he explained in a review on IT Central Station, it takes a combination of performance, density, flexibility and ease of use.
The network manager initially adopted Pavilion because, as he put it, “I was looking for a storage solutionwhich could meet the performance that I needed.” Now, he said, “the performance is stellar.” The platform suits his company’s data ecosystem, which uses block storage for VMware infrastructure.
Previously, they had systems with internal storage using Fusion-io cards. “At the time, those were the fastest things that you could possibly get,” he explained. “You couldn't get more performance than Fusion-io, but we really needed to move towards a centralized storage solution. Therefore, I was looking for something that wouldn't be a step backwards in performance, and Pavilion's NVMe over Fabrics technology was really the only thing in the market that could meet the performance demand.” Now, his company runs virtualized workloads using Pavilion. These include high-performance databases and engineering tasks as well as Exchange and file shares.
The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform offers a level of storage density that accommodates the company’s constant storage growth. The network manager remarked, “NVMe flash is only going to get denser and cheaper, so we can make use of that every couple of years by just throwing newer disks into it at a fraction of the cost of a new SAN.” Density has enabled them to consolidate storage into the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform, which is now the company’s only storage solution. He added, “When new drives come out, we are able to take out half of the drives in the system, put in new drives, move our VMs over to the new drives, take the other drives out, and populate those with new drives.”
The network manager values the flexibility of the Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform. He shared that “it is extremely important that Pavilion offers flexibility in terms of storage and density. I have gone through many cycles in my career where I bought a SAN. The seller would talk a good game about how the SAN was expandable, but all that meant was that I could buy an additional SAN in the future and make them talk on the same network. That is not what anybody wants. They just want to be able to replace the older technology with something newer, not bolt something else on and take up more space in the data center.”
Ease of Use
Intuitive management performance and convenience have continued to impress the network manager, who related, “Back when I looked at Pavilion, a lot of SANs had special SAN management software that you had to install on your computer in order to make it work. Some of this stuff had dependencies, like old versions of Java, Flash, or other aging technologies.”
In contrast, one of the things he liked about Pavilion was that all their management was on the box through a web interface. He said, “That was something that made me extremely happy, coming from a background of managing HPE SANs and Dell EMC SANs, where you really couldn't do much through the web interface. The Pavilion HyperParallel Data Platform could be completely managed on the web, e.g., a local interface that I could pull up in a web browser. That is what I needed.”
Building their entire storage network on Pavilion means the company trusts Pavilion’s support. Too much is riding on the solution for there to be questions about whether issues can get resolved on a timely basis. “The technical support is absolutely stellar,” the network manager said. “They have the best tech support that I have ever worked with. There is no queuing system. When you call them up, somebody answers. They will block out time and work with you on downtime issues.”
Thinking about Capacity
The network manager is factoring future capacity growth into his storage. As he shared, “It certainly exceeds our expected capacity for years. Right now, our device is populated to about a fourth of the total volume of the inside of the array. So, we are running at about 25 percent of the device's capacity.” He is happily surprised with its shelf life, stating, “I expect [it] to survive another 10 years, and in the IT space, having equipment survive that long is incredible.”
“Pavilion is my preferred storage solution,” the network manager further noted. “We have two Pavilion devices in our environment now. We do not have any plans to deploy other storage. Though, that really depends on the growth of the business and if we need more data centers. If we have to make another data center somewhere, then we will absolutely be buying another Pavilion for that location.”
The company has discovered savings through the adoption of Pavilion. The network manager offered insights, saying, “Over the life of the device (four years), Pavilion has probably saved us a half million dollars instead of replacing it with something else.” The solution has helped his company’s budget, with the network manager revealing, “It has saved us money over other solutions. It is not like the storage pays us to run. We need to have it. It is cheaper than our other options. So, it was an immediate ROI. We bought it and it is cheaper than the other things that we could have done.”
The solution continues to be cost-effective, where his company has no need to hire more staff as they grow. “Pavilion provides us with DAS [direct attached storage] performance and SAN manageability at an affordable price. This has allowed us to continue a very rapid growth of our business.” He added, “We have been able to run a tremendous number of VMs on our Pavilion system. We haven't seen a change in staff. I wouldn’t consider any solution that I have to bring on additional staff to support. It is mostly about cost savings in hardware, and a happiness factor for all our users that everything will work so quickly. We really only have two network technicians that need to touch it. If you have the password for it, then you can get in and manage it. It is fairly easy to understand because it has an intuitive interface.”
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