Software-Defined Technology Improves Performance

By Bob Violino Print this article Print
Software-Defined Technology

Organizations are looking to enhance their efficiency and flexibility with software-defined systems, which affect the way IT delivers services to the business.

Saving Money, Improving Response Times

The first major impact of the strategy was a cost saving. "For what it would have cost us to add a relatively small amount of additional storage, we now have a complete storage solution that has reduced our typical allocated storage for our XenDesktop virtual machines by around a factor of 20 to 1," Kreidl reports.

"In doing so, the response time has also eliminated the lag we used to see with users doing simple operations, such as scrolling though cells in spreadsheets. We are getting about a 90 percent read cache hit, meaning very efficient I/O to the clients, with typically under 10 [milliseconds] of I/O latency.

"Performance has been really good and has exceeded our expectations. Most importantly, users do notice a difference."

In addition, the system also provides flexibility. "Being able to carve a single storage volume into disparate types of storage according to need is a huge benefit," Kreidl says. "We are able to reallocate resources very simply and quickly, all while being able to monitor performance and adjust accordingly."

The software-defined storage capability allows the university to leverage the capabilities of a single entity "instead of having to physically shuffle connections around," Kreidl says. "It is also a very modular system, meaning that expansion, when needed, is straightforward. We are also able to use fairly generic parts when piecing storage subsystems together, and not being locked into a single vendor for all aspects of the storage is a plus."

NAU is already planning to move more of its existing conventional storage onto NexentaStor. "Having gained back so much space, [we want to] further leverage the licensing we currently have," Kreidl says. "This will also make overall storage management easier. If we need more space, we can readily add on capacity by purchasing additional licensing."

The results that Northern Arizona University is seeing with SDS are what will likely gain more attention for software-defined solutions, as a growing number of organizations look to increase the efficiency of their IT infrastructures.

This article was originally published on 2015-05-01

Bob Violino, a Baseline contributor, is a freelance writer and the editorial director at Victory Business Communications.

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