School district CIO explains switch to Tegile Systems

School district CIO explains switch to Tegile Systems

Summary: When a Colorado school district's 100-desktop VDI pilot program crushed a HP P6300 Enterprise Virtual Array, the CIO looked to another supplier to support the back end storage area network. Here is the decision-maker's reasoning for the move.

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TOPICS: Data Centers
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Jeremy Heide, CIO of Brighton Colorado's school district 27J, was kind enough to expain the district's choice of a Tegile Systems storage solution over an HP P6300 Enterprise Virtual Array to support a VDI roll out. Thanks for taking the time to explain what happened and a bit about the choice to go with Tegile Systems Jeremy.

Please introduce yourself and your organization

Jeremy Heide, CIO of School District 27J in Brighton, Colorado.

The mission of School District 27J, with the support of the family and community, is to ensure that all students have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for present and future competence and success.

Beliefs that support the mission and serve as a foundation for the general learning outcomes are:

  • All students can learn.
  • Success breeds success.
  • Schools with community support manage the conditions for success.

What were you doing that needed this type of technology?

The district launched its VDI environment with a 100-desktop pilot program with the expectation that it would later scale to 800 desktops to complete the first of a three-phase rollout.

Having had experience with a virtual SAN server environment before, we designed and implemented an architecture featuring an HP P6300 Enterprise Virtual Array.  As the system went live on the first day of the school year, the resulting boot storm from teachers logging in crashed the backend of the infrastructure.

A VMware consultant who was onsite for the launch did some whiteboard calculations that revealed that the HP SAN was undersized and basically was not going to work.

What products did you consider before making a selection?

We originally installed an HP P6300 Enterprise Virtual Array that crashed.  My staff and I began looking at other storage options that could quickly overcome the hardware failure they had experienced.

One option was to try for more IOPS by inserting a tray of solid-state drives into the EVA but that was going to take HP 30 days to deliver and the district needed help sooner than later.

We also looked at products from Dell and Nexsan before taking a ‘leap of faith’ and trusting a solution from Tegile Systems to overcome the issues they were facing.

Why did you select this product?

Tegile came out and looked at what we had, assessed our needs in the timeframe we had and implemented a solution in the middle of an outage.  They worked with the VMware engineer that was helping us to design a storage system that would address our unique challenges and was able to deliver the Zebi solution within a week of us placing the order.

What tangible benefits have you received through the use of this product?

School District 27J currently is utilizing two Zebi units for two pools to support 866 virtual desktops.  Desktop delivery times that were initially measured in hours on the HP system now only take 14 seconds with Tegile.  With its built-in compression and deduplication features, the school district was able to reduce the 25 TB of storage written to their Zebi array by 90% to only 2.5 TB.  And the units’ performance enhancements have convinced staff that they can successfully accelerate their 3-year plan for offering VDI from teachers to libraries to students.

What advice would you offer others facing similar circumstances?

Taking the conservative disk array approach from a large company like HP definitely didn’t work. Tegile came out and looked at what we had, assessed our needs in the timeframe we had and implemented a solution in the middle of an outage.  They worked with the VMware engineer that was helping us to design a storage system that would address our unique challenges and was able to deliver the solution within a week of us placing the order. This is where working with a smaller, dedicated vendor with innovative technology excels.

Switching your way of thinking to a new approach will make all the difference.

Topic: Data Centers

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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3 comments
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  • HP sucks

    Not a huge suprise thye used be very customer and service focussed now they like many other companies rely on VARs that range from horrible to mediocre. The flip side of this coin is the IT engineers themselves no SA worth his salt woull have implemeted VDI in this fashion without taking into account the simple metrics VMware had to do.
    ammohunt
  • being in education I would have expected...

    More fiscal prudence. My guess is that you paid quite a bit for that SAN and will continue to do so in maintenance. Did you look at something like SMB clusters with Server 2012 with massive RDMA and Spaces? The biggest downfall is granular IOPS control, but performance and cost are a MASSIVE savings over our previous FC SAN!
    omdguy
  • Try a better approach to VDI, with hybrid-cloud backup/DR added

    Particularly for School Districts that don't have a huge enterprise infrastructure support team it doesn't make sense to blow up your server/storage footprint to VDI 100 clients. We offer a client-side virtualization solution that runs on your local PC, Mac, laptop etc and just uses your backend storage for saving and synchronizing files. We then paired that with our Datto hybrid-cloud Backup/DR solution so that all your data and server images are stored locally and replicated to the cloud (in our secure data centers). Recover of data or a server outage is nearly instant...and, if you have to run off premises in a DR scenario you are 100% functional. For budget conscious schools this will save you alot of money and headaches! - LevelNextConsulting
    LevelNextCloud