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JetStor Delivers Vital Software-as-a-Service to the Construction Industry


THE ORGANIZATION

Barryhund Administrators, Inc., based in West Sacramento, CA, plays a critical role in construction projects. Construction jobs begin only when contractors assess the work and submit bids. To do so, they require blueprints and architectural designs, which used to be reproduced on specialized copiers. Founded in 1997, Barryhund Administrators eliminates this costly and time-consuming step by making blueprints and designs available digitally. The ten-person company provides an online project and bid management web portal for construction associations, which are clearinghouses for contractors, construction companies, and public agencies about upcoming projects. There, contractors quickly view blueprints and specifications either online or as downloads, greatly expediting the industry’s processes. 

THE CHALLENGE 

Barryhund provides its solution, called Online Plan Service, via hosting services and software-as-a-service. The offering must be always fast and available or contractors would be unable to access construction blueprints and documents, and projects would be delayed. In addition, the firm must contain expenses to ensure construction associations find Online Plan Service more cost-effective than hosting their own. Low costs also deter any competitors from undercutting Barryhund on pricing. Finally, any technology must adhere to the primary rule of Rex K., founder and CEO of Barryhund Associates; “I must understand my systems and be able to manage them, even at 3:00 AM when no one else is around.”

Barryhund had used several storage systems to house and deliver terabytes of data, including PDFs, scanned images, databases, and financial and business data. These solutions, however, were at the end of their lifecycles and their manufacturer had greatly increased replacement costs. Moreover, they demanded frequent firmware updates, which often caused availability issues. “As a small company with storage at the core of our services, I need storage that is easy and inexpensive to own and operate, yet still delivers the availability and performance my customers demand.”

THE SOLUTION 

Two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays, one JetStor SAS 742S V2 42-bay RAID Array, and one JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array from Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC).

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

•  Two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays

•  One JetStor SAS 742S 42-bay RAID Array

•  One JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array

•  Two LSI SAS 6160 switches

•  Three Dell R620 servers

BENEFITS IMMEDIATELY REALIZED

As Barryhund provides infrastructure for the construction industry, JetStor platforms buttress the firm’s infrastructure. Four JetStor RAID arrays link via a switch to three servers, providing the benefits of direct attached storage (DAS) with all the capabilities of shared storage. The firm gains the speed and simplicity of DAS and the capacity and flexibility of clustered storage. 

“Whereas our prior storage had Ethernet links, our JetStor solutions utilize 6Gb/s SAS2 connectivity, delivering excellent performance but with far fewer cables,” said Rex. “Our firm may be small, but our customer base is large and we’re meeting its needs quickly, easily, and economically.”

The JetStor RAID arrays also meet Rex’s rule for ease of use. He relies on the JetStor RAID Manager browser-based management and monitoring software to remotely configure and control his JetStor solutions and to receive e-mail alerts of any system events. All he requires is a laptop with connectivity to manage the platforms and check their health.

“If I were unavailable, it would be easy for someone to understand our deployment and administer the JetStor arrays,” said Rex. “I save a lot of money by not having to train someone to manage our storage. But even better, our JetStors are bulletproof and require hardly any attention, which is essential when IT resources are limited.”

Additionally, Rex protects his data by dedicating half of the JetStor arrays’ capacity to production data and the other half for backups. By backing up data directly between the JetStor solutions, backups are extremely fast. “With a DAS to DAS configuration, I can backup 32 virtual machines in less than 60 minutes,” said Rex. “Because I’m backing up to my production platforms, I can get operational in minutes should a failure occur, rather than hours or days. This capability offers us both a measure of safety and a competitive advantage.”

HOW WE DID IT

Barryhund Associates replaced its legacy storage first with a JetStor SAS 742S 42-bay RAID Array. “I had prior experiences with a JetStor solution and they were very positive,” explained Rex. “The system was simple to install, fast, and ultra-reliable.” Rex then deployed a JetStor SAS 764S 64-bay RAID Array which provided even greater capacity in the same 4U form factor. He linked both to Dell R620 servers via two LSI SAS 6160 switches. One switch is active while the other offers failover redundancy. Dual SAS2 links connect the JetStor systems to the switches.

Finally, he added two JetStor SAS 724S 24-bay RAID Arrays. “They’re very compact 2U systems that use smaller drives and thus consume less power,” said Rex.

The architecture is clustered because each JetStor array shares its storage with two servers. It is also virtualized using VMware vSphere 5.5. To contain costs, the platforms are provisioned with 1TB SATA drives for a total capacity of 130TB. 

The JetStor solutions are configured for RAID Level 0+1. RAID 0+1 delivers the same fault tolerance as RAID level 5 and offers high I/O rates thanks to multiple stripe segments.

The JetStor systems are engineered for non-stop operation with a fully cableless design, dual hot-swappable power supplies, and hot-swappable drives with automatic rebuilding of data on new drives. 

CONCLUSION 

With JetStor systems, Barryhund Associates enjoys a very dense, virtualized storage solution in a small form factor. Their basic DAS configuration provided high-speed, plug’n play operation.

“If you need simple, reliable, fast, and clustered storage that takes very little time to manage, then your answer is simple—JetStor,” concluded Rex. “Having tried many competing products, I can honestly say I’m a JetStor fanboy.”

ABOUT ADVANCED COMPUTER & NETWORK CORPORATION (AC&NC) 

Advanced Computer & Network Corporation designs, manufactures and markets high-performance, competitively priced data storage RAID systems. With an extensive line of Fibre Channel, NAS, DAS, and hybrid flash storage solutions for any computing platform and operating system, comprehensive free technical support, and fast on-time product deliveries, AC&NC brings freedom of choice to all clients, from workgroup to enterprise. Our RAID systems ensure rapid, round-the-clock access to all of the information our customers rely on to move forward in the 21st century.  

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