iDataWorks Increases Customers’ Application Performance 35% While Reducing Costs by Using a Storage Appliance
 
 

iDataWorks Increases Customers’ Application Performance 35% While Reducing Costs by Using a Storage Appliance

iDataWorks, Inc. provides hosted, managed, and outsourced IT solutions with a focus on midsize businesses. The company specializes in Oracle solutions but is not exclusive to them.

To ensure the level of availability and scalability that its managed IT services clients need, iDataWorks required a highly extensible, efficient, and reliable storage environment. The company, therefore, built its environment on Oracle’s Sun storage technology. iDataWorks recently continued its commitment to Oracle when it deployed Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance as part of its two-year cycle for refreshing hardware. Using the new solution, iDataWorks consolidated its fiber-channel, block-level storage, and network-attached storage (NAS), significantly increasing performance and decreasing costs.

The implementation has exceeded the company’s expectations, increasing performance of its clients’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications by more than 35%, while delivering flexibility, as well as powerful analytics to streamline management.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from iDataWorks, Inc.

  • "Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7320 has given us tremendous flexibility and has played a critical role in driving our revenue this year. From a storage perspective, we can quickly onboard clients that we could not have served before. And, from an analytics perspective, Sun ZFS Storage was miles above everything else we evaluated.” – Skip Khasky, President, iDataWorks, Inc.

  • Create a reliable storage environment with high availability for the enterprise applications iDataWorks hosts for its managed IT services clients
  • Ensure a highly scalable, yet cost-effective, storage environment that enables deliving affordable managed services to its client base, which includes a significant number of midsize companies
  • Manage the storage environment efficiently and gain the ability to add new storage quickly

Solutions

Oracle Product and Services

  • Deployed two Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliances, with two storage trays and a 44.5 TB capacity, to create a foundation for the company’s storage environment, adding to its existing Oracle array and its Sun Fire X4170 M2 server environment
  • Gained a highly flexible, scalable, and cost-effective environment to deliver the storage services that the company’s managed-IT-services customers require to run their growing businesses
  • Improved client application performance by an average of 35% over the legacy environment, including cutting creation of some client reports from 15 minutes to approximately 3 minutes and boosting client productivity
  • Eliminated the need to have five to six storage devices, gaining a single storage environment at a cost-effective price
  • Optimized solid-state storage, using it for a read and write cache, enabling use of fewer and less expensive drives
  • Determined that one Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance with 20 hard drives and 4 solid-state hard drives could handle as much load as a conventional NAS storage environment with 90 drives
  • Reduced storage latency significantly, which now averages under 1 millisecond—just a fraction of the industry average of 15 to20 milliseconds with traditional storage
  • Enabled iDataWorks to support eight storage protocols, including fiber channel, hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), and internet small computer system interface (iSCSI) protocols, with a single appliance―reducing costs, enabling the company to optimize its storage investment, and allowing it to use the protocol most appropriate for a specific application or customer
  • Eliminated silent corruption because Sun ZFS Appliances check and validate every block of data written, allowing iDataWorks to know immediately if there is potential corruption—which is important when hosting critical and time-sensitive applications, such as payroll and financial management systems
  • Eliminated downtime during regular maintenance, avoiding the need to schedule an outage or to incur costs for after-hours technical resources―reducing expenses, ensuring continuity, and eliminating inconvenience for system engineers
  • Cut management costs 38% over a comparable NetApp solution, thanks to the system’s DTrace Analytics feature, which enables IT managers to drill down to the input/output (I/O) level in seconds, enabling them to rapidly see bottlenecks, optimize the configuration, and proactively scale to avoid potential issues

Why Oracle

iDataWorks replaces its hardware every two years. During the last round of storage replacements, it conducted an extensive six-month due diligence process and looked at market-leading solutions from Oracle, NetApp, EMC, HP, and others. “Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance came out on top of our due diligence process, head and shoulders above the rest—from pricing, to flexibility, to raw performance, to management costs, and capabilities,” said Skip Khasky, president, iDataWorks, Inc. “In fact, when we deployed the solution, we had clients call the very next day to comment on how fast their applications were running. The difference was immediately visible.”

The system also provides unique capabilities to eliminate silent data corruption, according to Khasky. “Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance is not just an appliance but a file system, as well. It answers a question no one else has addressed to date―that of silent corruption. The system checks and validates every block of data, leaving no chance for undiscovered corruption, which is essential for our business, in which we host payroll and financial applications and data.”

Implementation Process

iDataWorks deployed its first Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance in just four hours, without partner assistance.