Case Study: Traffic Managers, Virtualized Storage Cut Costs in Private Cloud - Page 2
The BIG-IP devices provide the redundancy and uptime we require, even when the local ISP or a server goes down, so our users always have reliable access to applications and services. They allowed us to simplify our application delivery model while also providing a level of multi-data-center redundancy that would not be possible with other products.
To meet the cooperative’s needs for advanced file virtualization, storage tiering, and data archiving capabilities we deployed F5’s ARX Series solution in July 2010. We chose it over a leading competitor who couldn’t provide features we needed to manage our growth, and who would have locked us in to their environment as well as to expensive professional service engagements.
The SSL offloading, compression, caching, and other optimizations that BIG-IP provides help increase our server capacity and improve our bandwidth utilization. That, along with their ease of administration, has helped reduce application delivery costs. We particularly like the built-in iRules language that doesn’t require a certified network expert to understand or use.”
Largely because of these capabilities we can charges our members only $200 per server, compared to an estimated $4,000 they would have to pay to deploy one themselves. It also eliminates the need for staff and teachers to manage IT resources.
Reducing storage costs is a key driver for most IT organizations, as it is for school districts with the massive amounts of student data (not to mention multimedia such as presentations) they must store. The less data that must be kept on expensive “Tier One” Fibre Channel storage, the better.
That’s where the policy-based management and automatic storage tiering capabilities of the ARX solution came into play. We started off with 30 TB of tier 1 Fibre Channel, and recovered 80 percent of it using just one ARX storage policy. Saving that space let us defer purchasing more Fibre Channel storage for a year. If we need more capacity before then, we can buy SATA drives that, on a cost-per-gigabyte basis, are 65 percent less expensive than Fibre Channel disks.
Reducing the amount of Tier 1 storage also reduces backup requirements, which in turn helps lower our operating costs. We don’t need to worry about managing as much storage, watching our resources, and keeping up with storage growth in unstructured file data. That’s worth at least half of a full-time employee’s time.
ARX’ use of industry-standard access protocols makes it compatible with most NAS storage devices. This enabled us to tier data from a 3PAR T400 storage system containing 300 GB of 10 K Fibre Channel drives to an Oracle Sun Storage 7410 system running 1 TB SATA drives. With ARX, we can use policy-based migration features to manage our unstructured data growth, and can set and enforce custom file sharing and placement policies.
One such policy automatically moves any data that hasn’t been accessed for one year to tier 2 storage, which reduces long-term storage costs without the need for manual intervention. ARX also gives us the flexibility to set policies based on file type, so we have another policy that automatically stores multimedia directly onto SATA drives. The policy-based management provided by ARX makes data migrations transparent to users. In short, the ARX storage virtualization solution not only exceeded our expectations in terms of capabilities, but paid for itself within a year. I wouldn’t run a data center without it.