Hats (and coats) off to David Hart, who braved the blizzards and snow earlier in the month to pose for the covershot for SNS
The shoot had to be postponed twice as David found himself snowed-in as Britain battled against two weeks worth of snow….and although the grounds of the college looked picture perfect, the snowscene did limit the shelf-life of the Spring magazine!
Coat back on now David – it was actually -2 degrees when the photo was taken.
And here’s a little more about the implementation that David was happy to freeze for:-
Pinnacles of learning, Oriel and
DataCore’s SANmelody optimises VMware environments with new degrees of flexibility and robustness.
Dave Hart is the IT Manager tasked with delivering and managing this environment for both Colleges and following a recommendation from his peers in
“Our initial goal was to address server consolidation, disaster recovery and introduce a platform for further expansion,” explains Dave, “We currently have about 30 Dell Servers and 200 PCs across both college sites and approximately 1,000 staff and students – with an environment that is continually growing and making increasing demands on the IT infrastructure.”
Working with NCE, Dave has now implemented a solution that encompasses both Server & Storage Virtualisation using VMware and DataCore Software.
From a server virtualisation perspective, there are a pair of VMware ESX Servers in each college running Vmotion, DR and HA. “This provides the colleges with a greater level of resilience than the previous structure” Dave adds “and also a quicker path to Disaster Recovery.” Beneath enhancements in functionality it delivers other benefits to the colleges: “Consolidating servers to a virtualised solution has presented quantifiable savings. Once complete, a total of around 20 servers will have been rationalised and moved over to the virtualised solution. We estimate that the cost of running each server (power, cooling, spares etc.) is around £700 per annum, which timed by 20 represents a significant saving over a period of several years.”
Robustly supporting the VMware applications – DataCore’s™ SANmelody™:
Storage virtualisation has been provided using DataCore’s SANmelody solution. Dave didn’t jump both feet first into investing in this aspect. “When we saw the DataCore solution and grasped that it would run on a standard windows server and could also utilise existing hardware, we quickly realised that this would represent a better buy. Couple this with its ability to thin-provision storage over our existing Ethernet architecture and Fibre Channel connectivity, and we were comfortable that this would be a good choice.
The ability to thin-provision storage allows the university to centrally provide capacity on demand, presenting virtual volumes from the central storage pool to the applications, allocating capacity only when really needed.
High Availability and Disaster Recovery secured:
Each college currently has 1.5TB of “real” usable storage capacity beneath SANmelody, offering synchronous mirroring and auto-failover for path and data for transparent high availability. DataCore’s “AIM” (Asynchronous IP Mirroring) feature is used to replicate data of the two colleges over a low bandwidth link for disaster recovery purposes offering synchronous mirroring and auto failover for path and data. This resultant high availability solution allows full restoration automatically within minutes.
Higher degrees of Management through effective storage allocation:
What Dave and his team have also found is that utilising two SANmelody’s has allowed them to share their primary volumes more evenly to achieve effective load balancing. And the flexible management offered means that the days of guessing the correct allocation of disk space are long gone.
“Now that we have implemented it, we appreciate that SANmelody delivers additional functionality and flexibility over a traditional hardware based solution.” concludes Dave.
“The implementation went very well -once the necessary configuration was carried out on VMware ESX and DataCore SANmelody, the storage was presented to ESX as usable space and it was seamless from thereon. Overall ESX and SANmelody working in tandem provide us with a scalable, flexible, resilient platform – ideal for both production and test environments.”
Dave Hart, IT Manager,