Turbomachinery Company Consolidates Servers

Turbomachinery Company Consolidates Servers with JetStor


Server virtualization reduces data-center costs and overhead, but not without demands. When a physical server houses multiple virtual servers, much more data streams from the device, requiring very fast storage solutions. 

The Elliott Company, a leading manufacturer of advanced industrial turbomachinery, consolidated its servers to efficiently deliver such applications as financials, HR, payroll, and sophisticated engineering systems. It sought robust storage to sustain its virtualized environment, but without the complexity and expense of Fibre Channel solutions.

Read more below about how the Elliott Company built high-speed storage farms with iSCSI JetStor RAID Arrays to support virtualization effectively and affordably.

Leading Manufacturer Simplifies & Economizes Using JetStor® RAID Solutions with Virtual Machines

THE ORGANIZATION

As a leading manufacturer of advanced turbomachinery, the Elliott Company helps to power the world. Its products, such as centrifugal and axial compressors, steam turbines, and power recovery expanders, are used to produce, transport, and refine oil and natural gas. They also convert feedstock into polymers, resins, films, fibers and chemicals, generate electricity, and drive compressors, pumps, blowers, fans, and other industrial machinery.

THE CHALLENGE

Elliott’s data center at the firm’s primary manufacturing site in Jeannette, Pennsylvania confronted the same issues that eventually bedevil most large enterprises. It ran essential administrative applications like financials, HR, and payroll as well as the engineering systems on numerous discrete servers that were time-consuming to manage, costly to operate, and nearing the end of their lifecycles. To streamline its storage and backup services, Elliott wanted to trim its server farm by deploying VMware solutions. However, it required high-speed, continuously available storage repositories capable of ingesting the same volumes of data, but from fewer servers. For further cost-savings, it also wanted to use iSCSI for its storage connectivity to avoid the expense of Fiber Channel links.

THE SOLUTION

Seven JetStor SAS 516iS 16-bay RAID Arrays and one JetStor SAS 516J 3U 16-bay solution from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

• Four rack-mounted Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers at the data center and three Dell PowerEdge 2900 tower servers at the disaster recovery (DR) site

• Four gigabit Ethernet switches, two at the data center and two at the DR site

• Seven JetStor SAS 516iS 16 bay RAID Arrays: four at the data center with gigabit iSCSI links to each switch for 12TB of storage capacity; and three at the DR site with gigabit iSCSI links to each switch for 16TB of storage

• One JetStor SAS 516J 3U 16 bay unit at the DR site linked to a JetStor SAS 516iS solution

• VMware® ESX 3.5

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

Elliott built a robust infrastructure to house administrative and engineering data for many of its 1,900 employees at 32 facilities across the globe. Four JetStor 516iS arrays rapidly store data at the firm’s data center. This information is backed up to three JetStor 516iS arrays and a JetStor SAS 516J device at a DR site. “To maintain daily operations and meet regulatory compliance, our business data must always be stored, backed-up, and available,” said Richard B., technology manager for Elliott. “AC&NC’s JetStor 516iS arrays deliver the high-speed storage performance to support a global enterprise like ours.”

The AC&NC solutions anchor Elliott’s strategy for streamlining its IT operations. The firm now runs most of its key business applications on four servers with multiple virtual machines, which forward data to the JetStor arrays for safekeeping. As a result, Elliott retired its older servers and slashed complexity as well as power and cooling costs. Elliott further economized by eliminating the need for Fibre Channel switches and HBAs, and cabling thanks to the support of the JetStor solutions for iSCSI connectivity.

Moreover, Elliott administrators can easily add additional drives to the 16 bays of each JetStor enclosure without taking the device offline, or attach four JetStor SAS 516J systems to each chassis to add up to 80 drives to the infrastructure. “Thanks to AC&NC, we can incrementally expand our storage capacity quickly, easily, and very cost-effectively,” said Richard.

The IT staff relies on the web-based management interface of the AC&NC devices to monitor the status and performance of each array. “AC&NC solutions are rock-solid, but I have additional peace of mind knowing they will automatically send me an email if a problem ever arises,” added Richard.

HOW WE DID IT

Tasked with delivering business-critical applications and storing their data more efficiently and reliably, Elliott’s IT staff consolidated its aging servers onto a handful of devices running over 75 virtual machines. It then linked each VMware server to a pair of switches with dual gigabit iSCSI connections. The switches, in turn, link to four JetStor 516iS arrays, also via dual gigabit iSCSI connections.

Administrators used the JetStor management system to deploy a RAID 10 (or 1+0) configuration. This strategy both mirrors and stripes data on each array’s disks for the highest level of availability and input/output performance. The IT team created a logical drive out of the physical disks and used VMware’s iSCSI initiator to designate it as the target for the iSCSI links. RAID 10 coupled with the redundant links between the arrays, switches, and servers ensures that data is always safe and flowing. Moreover, RAID 10 provides unsurpassed data protection by tolerating multiple simultaneous drive failures without downtime or data loss.

“Our infrastructure doesn’t have a single point of failure, which prevents any disruptions to our business processes” explained Richard. “In addition, connecting our JetStor arrays with conventional gigabit NICs gave us excellent capacity at minimum cost while eliminating the headache and learning curve of installing Fibre Channel hardware and cabling.”

Elliott deployed a similar architecture at its DR site, except it connected the JetStor SAS 516J as a JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) to a JetStor 516iS for further cost-savings. The firm replicates data to the DR site via gigabit Ethernet switches after local backups are completed. “With our AC&NC solutions, we can add a vast amount of JBOD storage to our system,” said Richard. “This offers a terrific storage value for any enterprise without compromising performance or dependability.”

CONCLUSION

“When it comes to the safety and protection of our data, we knew we could depend on the performance and quality of AC&NC solutions,” concluded Richard. “They’re priced very competitively and are easy to deploy and operate, making my job easier. We gained very robust storage repositories to buttress our new server cluster that make us more efficient and productive.”

 
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