back to article Manchester college swaps out disk for rackful of hybrid flash

A hybrid flash/disk array is replacing several disk arrays at a UK college and shows the way mainstream disk array replacement is heading towards flash for primary data applications. Bolton College in the UK has replaced eight Dell EqualLogic disk arrays used for databases, virtualised servers and virtual desktop environments …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    " Because flash arrays are so much faster, the college has found a 57 per cent reduction in its storage requirements" - huh? Since when has speed anything to do with storage space?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      My thought exactly - I suspect they used to over provision capacity in order to be able to use more spindles for performance reasons.

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Maybe.

        It's also possible that various departments had stuff cached locally, to increase performance.

        Of course, it's also possible they had never properly planned their storage systems, merely letting the systems grow as needed, and as a result, never implemented a proper deduplication system, so had duplicate copies of a lot of data for that reason.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "never implemented a proper deduplication system, so had duplicate copies of a lot of data for that reason."

          That's what I took from the article. Very large amounts of data take time to dedupe, especially across 8 separate arrays of spinning rust. Deduping on flash all in one box and using the flash to assist the dedupe of the spinning rust makes it much fast and more manageable without hitting on the array performance.

      2. twister68

        Performance = Inline Data Reduction Services

        Actually for the record (excuse the pun) the superior performance enabled inline compression and inline deduplication the result of which is far reduced physical capacity and a performance multiplier.

        No over provisioning required. Perfect use case for AFA & Hybrid in same Array.

        Twister

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Performance = Inline Data Reduction Services

          There's nothing magical about flash that makes it better at dedupe and compression. It is just that because flash cost a lot more when all flash arrays were first being designed, they were forced to invest more money in the controller to make it capable of dedupe/compression to keep the data requirements down. If they used the same controller in a disk based array it could get the exact same savings.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Performance = Inline Data Reduction Services

            The killer limitation on dedupe isn't flash or rust, it's ram and to some extent CPU horsepower. Deduplication is a 2^n problem and older controllers with tiny amounts of ram simply couldn't cope with large amounts of dedupe.

            There's a lot of discussion of the problem in ZFS fora - the concensus is that dedupe is generally best left OFF except for specific uses in small areas such as mail spools or document stores.

    2. Jonathan Knight

      They've skipped a bit in the logical argument. The Tegile array uses compression and deduping so they've traded off some of the extra speed in using a compression layer so they get the extra space.

  2. The Nazz Silver badge

    Geography fail?

    Since when is Bolton in Manchester?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Geography fail?

      It would be correct to say Greater Manchester but as you say it isn't Manchester.

  3. chewyfruitloop

    could you not find a picture of bolton then?

    I know people may have heard of Manchester and not Bolton but why the picture of the BBC at night?

    1. davefb

      Re: could you not find a picture of bolton then?

      It is. Well was. Its kinda looking across where the new interchange is being built .

      Heaven forbid have a pic of the rather snazzy looking college though.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought that equallogic arrays were 'scale out' in that you add a 'whole array' each time to the current array, each disk cabinet was an array (controllers etc) but they linked to the other arrays in the array cluster, and were managed as one unit from the same interface. I have never used one, but that was what was presented a few years back by dell when we looked into them.

  5. druck Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Disaster Recovery?

    So they are now relying on one storage array, what measures have they put in place to avoid ending up like Kings College London?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually for the record (excuse the pun) the superior performance enabled inline compression and inline deduplication the result of which is far reduced physical capacity and a performance multiplier.

    No over provisioning required. Perfect use case for AFA & Hybrid in same Array.

    Twister

  7. Korev Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Advertisement?

    Shouldn't articles like this be marked as an "Advertisement"?

  8. robertcirca

    A single array ...

    I am quite old and so is may brain.

    However, I still remember that a university in London had data problems recently.

    A single array ??? (a thousand more "?"s).

    What about replication. Do they have a disaster recovery plan. And just in case they do, I bet they have not tested it.

    The system was probably designed by an outsourced sales SPECIALIST from India.

    Good luck, very good luck.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: A single array ...

      My thoughts exactly. We use about 20Tb and i went for 2x SANs that could replicate in different buildings as i was paranoid (backups are separated again, this is just for the cluster nodes and sans).

      No way in hell id run a single point of failure and we only have about 2k users not 13k.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    8u for that amount of raw storage is terrible. Density certainly is not these guys strong point obviously.

    Also i'm sure these guys will be legally bound and gagged (like all the others have been) when they experience the infamous issue of data loss on these platforms.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News Flash. New array faster and than the ones we bought 7 years ago!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had a (brief) look at Tegile to replace our aging Netapp (4 year old controller pair, and the oldest shelf dates back to 2009?), and while it was certainly impressive, the cost was... not. (the purchase cost was more than renewing the maintenance on said netapp by a good margin, and slightly less raw capacity.)

    We ended up going to a nimble CS500 with a pair of the H90 expansion shelves; it was about 2/3rds the cost vs the renewal, a good deal more capacity, and easily the same performance figured as the netapp.

    Anon to protect my paycheck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >> Anon to protect my paycheck.

      Meaning you work for Nimble? No one from the IT world would get to the level of precision say "about 2/3rds" and purposely uses a lower case "n" on Nimble and NetApp while keeping the caps on the CS500 and H90.

      Your post deserves a down arrow.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there an open source version of Tegile's software?

    Since it's all based on Open Solaris? Or am I mistaken?

    1. SniperPenguin

      Re: Is there an open source version of Tegile's software?

      Yes. ZFS ;-)

      BTW - The college is massively proud of its new building, why the rubbish pic of the estate opposite?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is there an open source version of Tegile's software?

        Thanks for clarifying. What else are they adding?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Erm?

    Is this an advert?

    I guess this is why Tegile is just about to be consumed by its major shareholder, the fact that the best case study it could find to shout about is a small college in a small uk town.

    Must have been a slow news day for thereg too if this non news story made it to the page.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few tired 8 year old storage arrays get cyclical tech refresh and are consolidated into a newer, faster, denser box. No news here....lets hope not too many spofs also...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020