Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – A Journey to Microsoft Storage Spaces Part 1

Jun 02

Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – A Journey to Microsoft Storage Spaces Part 1

In earlier blogs DataON Storage made the bold pronouncement about the death of tradition SAN based storage based on iSCSI, FCoE and FC and we discussed the emergence of software defined storage such as Microsoft’s Storage Spaces.  This pronouncement was not made just to sell products, it was made because the system architectures, applications, hypervisors, virtualization, operating systems, hybrid clouds and networking technology are all changing in concert to create a new IT model where scale-out solutions are faster, require less management overhead, cost less to deploy and offer higher levels of resiliency that tradition SANs.

The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is a four year college specializing in engineering, science and mathematics.  Over the past few years, the Rose Hulman Institute had experienced a number of unplanned outages directly related to the college’s legacy iSCSI SAN solution which was wrought with complexities, inefficiencies and inconsistent performance and a change was required to grow and scale for the future. The school was recently voted one of the nation’s best engineering schools by US News and the Enterprise Information Technology (EIT) team is central to providing systems that are critical educational experience for the students and faculty. As the college grew to add a third data center, they wanted to investigate more scalable, less expensive and more reliable storage alternatives than their current 1GbE iSCSI SAN.

Together DataON Storage, Microsoft, Mellanox and HGST worked with the EIT team to build a new software defined storage solution.  Rose-Hulman spent significant testing cycles with the DataON platform before moving forward with the DataON deployment. This validation included testing two Hyper-V nodes connected via SMB 3.0 network (using 10GbE RDMA) protocol to a Microsoft certified DataON Cluster-in-a-Box for highly available failover protection with Microsoft’s Storage Spaces. The initial benchmark tests to evaluate throughput using large file transfers proved to be “spectacular” according to Stephen Jones, CTO of Enterprise Information Technology, compared to the traditional iSCSI SAN results. This “spectacular” performance improvement was driven by the high speed architecture of the DataON Storage Cluster-in-Box (CIB), Microsoft’s scale out file systems with 10GbE RDMA NICs and HGST Flash drives.

Rose-Hulman experienced first-hand how DataON’s Microsoft highly tuned scale out file system (SoFS) was more cost effective, more reliable, and more resilient than their old iSCSI SAN for applications such as SQL Cluster based on SQL 2014, Microsoft Exchange, and SharePoint. In out next blog, we will talk about the data protection strategy and review the deployment architecture.

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