Finkelstein & Partners is an internationally respected legal firm with offices distributed throughout North America. When recently faced with design and architecture options for their next-generation build of a critical application infrastructure, Finkelstein & Partners elected to focus their search on solid-state storage technology. It is a much higher-performing and “greener” storage alternative to traditional 15k RPM spinning disk.
Similar to many of today’s enterprises that have grown weary of allocating 60-70% of overall IT budgets on storage, Finkelstein was anxious to take advantage of the performance and savings on space and power that solid-state technology offers. Based on this promise, Finkelstein turned to a newer vendor on the storage landscape, WHIPTAIL.
WHIPTAIL has been producing enterprise-class flashbased SANs for 3 years, with its emphasis on removing the major roadblocks to deeper deployment of solid-state in enterprises: high price-point and limited endurance. In other words: it’s expensive and it wears out too fast. “When reviewing our requirements for performance and capacity, we were once again faced with provisioning way more capacity than we needed simply to have enough spindles to adequately handle the speed our applications needed. Virtualization is a beast on a hard-disk drive performance, and we didn’t want to continue down the road of spending a premium without seeing the results,” stated John Pasqualicchio, Senior Systems Administrator for Finkelstein & Partners.
The most signiﬁcant challenge Finkelstein faced moving to a more fully virtualized environment was meeting their storage performance needs without wastefully overprovisioning on slower, capacity-filled, traditional harddisk drive arrays. To get their new virtualization infrastructure up and running, the firm estimated it would need to purchase 14TB of capacity, but this would do nothing for the performance.
“I was very interested in WHIPTAIL’s high performance characteristic (250,000 IOPS at random 4K blocks),” Pasqualicchio said. “For the same cost as a traditional 14TB shelf of HDDs that we were considering, we purchased WHIPTAIL’s solid-state storage solution. That 7.5 TB efficiently scaled 4X beyond the more expensive hard-disk drives.”
WHIPTAIL’s silicon storage arrays are specifically designed to optimize IO-demanding VDI images. Random workloads such as those in virtualized environments are extremely challenging for traditional 15K RPM spinning disks. A fully loaded, production-ready virtual desktop image requires between 20-40 IOPS to run at an acceptable level, 80 – 90% of that being WRITE IOPS. A standard HDD array only runs at 200 IOPS per drive. The math becomes binary at this point. WHIPTAIL’s product creates a dramatically larger performance pool, thereby eliminating disk contention and alleviating 90% of the storage costs associated with VDI. Since it is completely solid-state in nature, it offers 100X performance at 250,000 IOPS in a single 180 Watt 2U appliance.
“Various traditional storage vendors offer the caching modules, but they only emphasize read IOPS. We need WRITE IOPS,” stated Pasqualicchio. These compelling savings allowed them to break their vicious cycle of provisioning and over-provisioning on traditional HDD storage and its inherently high costs in power, cooling and retail rack space.
• Faster Applications
• Lowered cost
• Decreased use of space
“In segregating Exchange 2010 to WHIPTAIL’s silicon storage solution, we’ve seen a huge increase in the speed and response time,” stated Pasqualicchio. “It has become the key element of our virtualization strategy.”
• Dramatic increase in Microsoft Exchange performance
• Cost-effective scalability for virtual desktops