Managing Education … in a Flash!

I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of education institutions over the past fourteen years. In that time, through the progress of Virtual Learning Environments, Interactive Smart Boards and BYOD there has always been one piece of the IT puzzle in academia that has required extra attention and resources. I speak of course about the Management Information System. Be it Unit-e, SIMS or EBS running on Microsoft SQL or Oracle, it is the core information system that tracks the life-cycle of the learner. The MIS also provides a framework for managing curriculum portfolios and feeds assessment information and outcomes into data warehouses. And, as you are no doubt aware, accurate and timely returns are crucial to securing the correct levels Continue reading

EMC Storage Solutions Overview – Q4 2013 update

This is our regular update providing a summary of EMC’s storage solutions that SNS focus on. The following core products are covered – VNX, RecoverPoint, VPLEX Metro, XtremIO, XtremSF and XtremCache, and Data Domain. VNX – Unified Storage The VNX builds on the popular CLARiiON and Celerra platforms, and provides dual controller block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) and NAS (CIFS, NFS and pNFS) scale-up storage. The recently updated platform (“VNX2″) focuses on Flash drive performance scaling, tier 1 capabilities such as Active-Active LUN access, and capacity optimisation using de-duplication and tiering. Key strengths: Multi-core optimisation designed for Flash, 4th generation Flash Cache and tiering technology, de-duplication, and state-of-the-art VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V support across all protocols and replication technologies RecoverPoint – Continue reading

What does EMC’s storage portfolio have to offer small to medium sized organisations?

EMC has traditionally been known for providing solutions to enterprise-class organisations with technologies such as Symmetrix VMAX (scale-out block) and more recently Isilon (scale-out NAS). They also have a great technology stack for small to medium sized organisations built around the VNX mid-range storage platform, so we thought it would be useful to put together a quick summary of the key products: VNX – Unified Storage The VNX builds on the popular CLARiiON and Celerra platforms, and provides dual controller block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) and NAS (CIFS, NFS and pNFS) scale-up storage. The recently updated platform (“VNX2″) focuses on Flash drive performance scaling, tier 1 capabilities such as Active-Active LUN access, and capacity optimisation using de-duplication and tiering. For smaller organisations Continue reading

Have you been holding back on deploying VDI or is your current VDI deployment underperforming?

Virtual Desktops have been a topic of interest for many organisations for at least 5 years, but the uptake of the technology has not matched the level of interest. The reason for this is that even though there are clear benefits, delivering a high performance virtual desktop costs too much for most organisations. Often projects start, then it dawns on the team that the end user experience is not great, often worse than a physical PC and the cost of scaling the solution is just impractical, so the project dies. If we want a successful VDI project, whereby the user never wants to go back to their old physical desktop, then we need to provide them with greater mobility and improved Continue reading

Is there a better solution than using a storage array for VDI?

For many years VDI solutions have been built around centralised storage arrays and I think it is fair to say that most of these deployments have not scaled well. The problem has always been that to deliver a user experience at least as good as a PC a large number of IOPS per desktop is required – each PC has its own hard disk capable of typically 75 IOPS, so to support 500 concurrent users a VDI solution would need 37,500 IOPS. But it gets worse – the PC does not have any RAID over-head and is able to perform much of the IO sequentially as it has exclusive access to the disk – sequential IO is far more efficient Continue reading

Event: Extreme Application Performance and Availability Seminar in London

Improving application performance and availability are key requirements for many organisations. Over the last few years Flash storage and Continuous Availability technologies have matured and are changing the way data centres of all sizes are architected. The SNS technical team has put together a briefing that includes a deep-dive into EMC’s Flash and Continuous Availability solutions: Agenda 09:30 – Registration 09:45 – Welcome and introductions 10:00 – Metro Clusters 10:45 – Break 11:15 – Hybrid Flash arrays 12:00 – All-Flash arrays and PCIe Server Flash 12:15 – Break 12:30 – Continuous Data Protection 12:45 – Disaster Recovery and Workload Mobility 13:15 – Case Study 13:30 – Lunch and Close Reasons to attend Determine which Flash solutions will have the biggest impact on your Continue reading