Panda Energy

Panda Energy Gets Flash-Powered Performance, Archive Economics and Big Admin Time Savings

www.pandaenergy.com

INDUSTRY Energy
CHALLENGE

Find a high-performance storage solution with secondary storage economics to process and maintain the company’s power plant data.

RESULTS

35-40% better performance

3.5X effective capacity for applications such as MS Access and email

5X to 7X data reduction for MS SQL

25 hours per week of storage system maintenance down to zero

Outstanding proactive support — “never received better support from any organization in my 35 years in IT”

 

“I get the performance of all-flash, but the authoritative copy of my data is deduped, compressed and deduped again, then stored on low-cost, high-capacity SAS drives. Datrium provided us an affordable way to keep years of high performance data literally at our fingertips.”

– Darel Stokes, IT Director

Company Challenge

Maintain Growing Power Plant Data Indefinitely

The IT team at Panda Energy contends with a large and ever-growing data store. Compounding its storage challenges, the company must maintain power plant records indefinitely; in fact, at least 80 percent of the Panda’s data goes back more than 10 years.

As Panda explored the market for a replacement for its Dell EqualLogic solution, IT decision-makers found the same challenges with nearly every solution they evaluated.

 “Our current solution demanded a significant amount of planned and unplanned maintenance, but many of the alternatives were not much better,” says Jay Pickett, Senior Network Systems Architect. “We needed a high-performance system with great economics that actually gave us time back.”

 

Results

All Flash Performance, Archive Economics

Datrium, however, was a different story. With the Datrium DVX Open Convergence platform, IO processing happens on the server, leveraging commodity flash SSDs for extremely fast and low latency read performance. Data deduplication and compression occurs in-line, in real time, then is globally deduped across all servers and stored affordably on a low cost, high capacity network data server called the NetShelf.

In Panda’s trial of Datrium, the solution delivered as promised in terms of real-time data reduction and high performance for Access, email and other office applications, as well as for SQL data or image files. Overall, Datrium performed 35-40% better than a high-end Dell solution that would have cost considerably more in both expense and time.  For office applications, Panda observed 3.5X data reduction (3.5 to 1) with always-on deduplication and compression. On the SQL side, Datrium achieved a 5X to 7X data reduction. After including video and PDF images—data already compressed by the application—the overall data reduction currently averages 2.2X, which Panda expects to increase to upward of 3X over time.

“I get the performance of all-flash, but the authoritative copy of my data is deduped, compressed and deduped again, then stored on a low-cost, high-capacity data server,” says Darel Stokes, IT Director. “Datrium provided us an affordable way to keep years of high performance data literally at our fingertips.”

 

Zero Staff Time Managing Storage   

Datrium replaced one SAN and two NAS units with a single DVX comprised of host software and a 2U persistent data server. In addition to data center space savings, the company also handles its unpredictable data growth in much less time, retaining a single pool of capacity headroom within the DVX solution to handle whatever comes its way.

Panda likewise appreciates the ease of managing Datrium through vCenter. Plus, Stokes and the team no longer need to manage storage artifacts, and can spin up a new VM in minutes.  “Previously, we were losing probably 25 hours a week of staff time on care and feeding of three storage devices,” Stokes says. “That, literally, has gone to zero. The box simply runs. It’s the ultimate IT product for me.”

Similarly, for user acceptance testing, Stokes performed five tests that would have previously required 50 minutes of load time alone on the previous SAN. With Datrium, the load time for dropping/reload of the database took just two minutes, saving Stokes 48 minutes of test time. “The downtime between the beginning and end of this data migration was significantly reduced due to Datrium performance,” he says

Previously, we were losing probably 25 hours a week of staff time on care and feeding of three storage devices. That, literally, has gone to zero. The box simply runs. It’s the ultimate IT product for me.” Darel Stokes, IT Director

Stokes credits the time-savings to the ease of management as well as Datrium’s proactive support team, which alerts Panda rapidly regarding any issues. “Datrium support calls me before I know I have a problem in one of my switches, before the server vendor even notices – and we pay for 24x7 Pro support from them,” Stokes says. “That service level and time savings is a bonus we did not expect with the Datrium solution.  Hands down, I would have to tell you that I have never received better support from any organization in my 35 years in IT – ever!”

 

About Panda Energy

Founded in 1982, Panda Energy has developed, financed, constructed and operated large-scale energy facilities across the United States as well as internationally. Altogether, the company has raised over U.S. $5 billion to develop and build more than 9,000 megawatts of generating capacity. In 2005, Newsweek Magazine recognized the company as one of the 10 most eco-friendly energy companies in the United States. Today, Panda Energy continues a legacy of high performance by providing world-class operations and management solutions to the energy sector.