Jisc RSC Eastern Technical Managers forum 14th May 2014 'Palmers college storage2' presentation
• Medium sized 6th Form -2200 Full time students- 180 staff.
• Single site- Apart from separate Sports center.
• 800-900 Devices connected.
• Common Storage Issues – We need more space!
Existing Kit and our Dilemma
• Approximately 20 physical Servers- IBM with some virtualisation
backend servers - conservative with data Always wanted what was
deemed one of the best — fired for buying IBM?
• Our IBM DS range Fibre channel SAN- not enough storage for
• Loved virtualisation - Visit to Havering College & showed datacentre
with ‘live vmotion’.
• Core HP Switch kit also needing an update
• Dilemma on how we were going to afford kit fast enough for large
scale virtualisation plus a large increase of storage?
• Contacts made with Technical IT companies on what they thought
would be the best solution.
• Mostly the Big players i.e. EMC, IBM, HP, Dell but also spoke
• Started getting in prices but mostly iscsi…Ouch!—Would iscsi
cope? FC overly complex and out of price range?
• Colchester 6th Form – Chris mentioned his issues with their
current SAN infrastructure and how it would cost £££’s to improve
– more disks - hated the vendor lock in. Support costs.
• First mention of CORAID at an RSC Tech Managers Meeting.
Coraid and my worries!
• We immediately started to take a look at Coraid in some detail –Visit
to Colchester as they had an SR unit setup in their Lab- visited
• Tech guys thought it was great – Very fast lots of IO – Very simple to
set up, instruction ‘book’ just 12 pages.- list of commands- no GUI-
Mix & match disks in same unit. Protocol –AoE – ATA over Ethernet
(not FC not iscsi)
• Found a 2nd hand SR series and tried in our lab.
• Where was I going to get finance from ?- SALIX Green Computing.
• Never heard of Coraid-Too small? No UK base at the time- not on
Vmware official list!!!– Spoke to 3rd party IT company who was
positive about them. Spoke directly with Coraid in US.
Purchase & Installation
• Purchased two SRX3200, 2 xVRX (mirroring) + foc SRX2800 –
IBM Host servers x 3. 10 Gig HBA’s .All installed within a day-
2nd day PtoV conversion.
• Budget allowed for 10Gb Switch gear at core to handle Vmware
• 2nd SRX unit used in secondary data centre in Sports centre for
DR & maintenance…eventually dropped DR contract.
• Utilized ‘Free’ SRX 2800 to run a small Vmware View
deployment of 80 Win 7 Desktops- 4 SSD’s.
• Two days before Staff & students arrived back decided to install
• One day before…Oh $£^!!
• Calls to Vmware (no issues with Coraid support), IBM and Coraid
• Hotfix spotted by us – and the culprit was ??????????? – never
• Has run flawlessly since 1st day of full production.
• Kept it Simple with Coraid.
• “We initially looked at Coraid because of the low TCO but we
were then blown away by the performance and the simplicity” –
Nick Dixon, Tech sales director, Axis first US – We saved ££££’s
on deploying Coraid in comparison to traditional vendor.
• Do not just look at the big players- lots of smaller start ups out
• Coraid have newer faster arrays since our install.
• Storage vendors that have come to my attention since our
Coraid Install :