Home Forward

Home Forward Cuts Management Time and Rack Footprint by 90% While Converging Primary and Secondary Storage

www.homeforward.org

CUSTOMER Home Forward
INDUSTRIES Government
CHALLENGE

When aging Dell storage precipitated an upgrade, Home Forward sought the capabilities of new storage models but feared the cost would be too high.

RESULTS

Cut storage management time by 90% – provisioning in minutes instead of hours

90% smaller rack footprint, and reduced storage footprint by 50%

Faster database transactions, reporting

2-3X faster server snapshots

Converged primary and secondary storage

 

“We’ve substantially reduced the time to crunch numbers for reporting. We didn’t think we would be able to afford a solution with the performance of an all-flash array or even a hybrid, but fortunately we were wrong.”

–Michael DePaepe, Director of Information Services and Technology

 

 

Company Challenge

Bloating Capacity and Management Complexity

For years, Home Forward has stored its mission-critical applications on Dell Compellent, including its ERP database, virtual infrastructure, the phone system, all database servers and other office applications. Over time, duplicate data had significantly expanded the organization’s storage footprint. Therefore, when the time came to swap its aging Dell storage, deduplication and compression topped the IT team’s wish list.

In evaluating solutions, Home Forward looked again at the latest Dell Compellent solution, as well as HP 3PAR. With Dell, the organization would need to upgrade to the latest hardware and software, as well as add storage. And both vendors’ solutions would require another level of management. “With Dell and HP, it was another operating system that we would have to learn and run,” says Michael DePaepe, Director of Information Services and Technology.

 

Results

90% Less Management Time  

As Home Forward expanded the search to new storage solutions, it found an open converged infrastructure option in Datrium DVX. With Datrium, Home Forward gained simplified, centralized management right in VMware vSphere, always-on deduplication and compression, and more capacity for the money.

The IT team now manages performance and capacity right in vSphere, transforming a once-tedious process and reducing hours of weekly storage management time by 90 percent. The team oversees a single capacity pool, and has eliminated the need to deal with any LUNs or storage artifacts. When it’s time to spin up a new virtual machine, they also no longer have to think about where to put it; the Datrium solution handles all their provisioning needs and bringing a new VM online takes just minutes.

“Managing storage was tedious before with constantly having to decide which disk drives to put data on, or a LUN would fill up and we’d need to make it bigger,” DePaepe says. “Now it’s one big pool and we don’t have to worry about LUNs or storage tiers at all. It’s much, much simpler.”

Beyond the solution itself, the Datrium team likewise helps Home Forward get the most out of the solution, and again, save precious time. “The Datrium support group is fantastic – even identifying issues that have nothing to do with Datrium,” says Charles Zuercher, Network Infrastructure Manager.

 

90% Smaller Rack Footprint

With deduplication and compression, Home Forward cut its overall capacity footprint in half. The agency also leverages server resources for IO processing, eliminating the space needed for dedicated array controllers. These two benefits combined to reduce rack space demands from half a rack down to a single 2U Data Node.

“With Dell or HP, we would have had to buy another storage box to gain IO processing power, whereas with Datrium we just leveraged existing hosts and the Data Node to accomplish the same thing for a much lower cost,” Zuercher says.

 

Faster Reporting, Happier DBAs

With Datrium, Home Forward can also use any type of host or host-flash. Compared to array-flash, host-flash typically comes in at about one-quarter to one-eighth the cost. Datrium accelerates performance by keeping all reads local on the host (Compute Node), and speeds writes to NVRAM in DVX Data Nodes.

The database administrator now reports faster transactions since all database data is maintained in local flash on hosts. “By adding hosts, we increased performance and boosted our IOPs,” DePaepe says. “We’ve substantially reduced the time to crunch numbers for reporting. We didn’t think we would be able to afford a solution with the performance of an all-flash array or even a hybrid, but fortunately we were wrong.”

 

Datrium has allowed us to expand our DR in ways I’m not sure the Compellent or HP solutions would have. Leveraging Datrium’s cost optimized data node, we’re now taking 2-hour snapshots to support our disk-to-disk-to-tape installation. Having Datrium allowed us to expand that capability very easily and cost-effectively.

-Michael DePaepe, Director of Information Services and Technology

 
Converging Primary and Secondary Storage

The copy data management capabilities and overall economics of the Datrium solution meant Home Forward could effectively converge both the company’s primary storage and data protection requirements. With the combination of Datrium and a new 10G backbone, DePaepe and Zuercher noticed improved speed across multiple processes, including backups, server boot-up, file copying and more. Server snapshots are now 2-3X faster than before.

“Datrium has allowed us to expand our DR in ways I’m not sure the Compellent or HP solutions would have,” DePaepe says. “Leveraging Datrium’s cost optimized data node, we’re now taking 2-hour snapshots to support our disk-to-disk-to-tape installation. Having Datrium allowed us to expand that capability very easily and cost-effectively.”

 

About Home Forward

Home Forward is dedicated to providing safe, decent and affordable housing for individuals and families who are challenged by income, disability or special need. As the largest provider of affordable housing in Oregon, Home Forward offers a variety of housing options to low-income individuals and families: more than 6,000 apartments to rent, including approximately 1,980 units of public housing, and approximately 9,390 Section 8 rent assistance vouchers. Home Forward is a public corporation serving all of Multnomah County. Home Forward partners with more than 100 community agencies in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. The services provided by community partners include financial services, education, substance abuse and youth programs, job training and life skills.

 

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