Danish Tunnel Builder Femern Opts for DataCore and Fusion-io

To speed auto tiering of data and critical applications
This is a Press Release edited by on 2013.07.05

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DataCore Software Corporation announced
that Femern A/S, the managing company
behind one ambitious engineering projects
connecting Scandinavia to mainland Europe, the Fehmarnbelt
, has adopted its SANsymphony-V to speed auto tiering of data
and critical applications.


Tim Olsson, the IT manager gearing up to support the
forthcoming €5.5 billion construction of the 18km immersed underwater tunnel,
due for completion in 2021, said: "We
are in the process of commencing 4 major construction contracts this summer to
facilitate the start of the build of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel. The number of
employees will start to escalate dramatically as we progress through the build;
as well as the volume of CAD intensive documents and building designs and engineering
specifications that will need to be accessed on the network.

Femern began the process of examining the present infrastructure and
anticipating how it would scale as the construction progressed.

Within their Copenhagen data centre, Femern operated a Dell EqualLogic SAN that
was reaching end of life with spare parts becoming increasingly hard to obtain
and when new replacement drives did arrive, there were frequent incidences of
premature failure
. The organisation had
already adopted virtualisation, with their critical apps running virtualised on
VMware but they appeared slow due to disk I/O bottlenecks as workloads
contended for the challenged EqualLogic storage. This was therefore not a time
to consider allocating more disks, but an opportunity for an entire overhaul to
an alternative software defined SAN and infrastructure.

"Not only was the EqualLogic box
falling out of warranty and therefore coming with an increased high price tag,
it seemed to have a lot of features that we never, or rarely, used. We felt certain that even if we considered an
upgraded, latest EqualLogic box, that we would still be constrained by the
hardware rigidity and lacking the impending scalability and flexibility that
would be required to accommodate the various construction phases.

Femern consulted their day -to-day supplier of all IT solutions, COMM2IG, to make an official technical
proposal on alternatives solutions to run in Copenhagen and on the construction
sites and exhibition centre at the mouth of the tunnel in Rødbyhavn.

COMM2IG examined the existing environment in detail. Femern were running VMware's ESX for server
virtualisation, but availability, ease of management and automatic allocation
of storage were sadly lagging behind. COMM2IG grasped the opportunity to
recommend the installation of SANsymphony-V software storage
hypervisor to support the latest version of VMware's Vsphere
delivering their tier 1 applications virtually. To help overcome performance
issues, COMM2IG recommended that Femern incorporate flash-based Fusion-io, Inc.'s
technology for their most important applications to achieve far faster speeds
than from spinning disks and to overcome performance bottlenecks.

The software based solution - offering performance, flexibility and
investment protection: Two SANsymphony-V nodes were implemented on
two HP DL380 G7 servers. Each server was
provisioned with two CPUs, 96GB of RAM for super caching performance boost and
320GB Fusion-io PCIe ioDrive2 cards for flash integration in the storage pool
as part of a hybrid, automatically tiered storage configuration.

VMware's server virtualisation was upgraded to vSphere 5.1. Overall, the
environment offered 50TB of mirrored storage based on HP direct-attached SASand SATA drives augmented by a flash storage layer. Use of the Fusion
acceleration cards would be optimised through DataCore's auto tiering
capabilities; reserving the more expensive flash storage layer for the most
demanding applications; and ensuring that other, less accessed data, be
relocated automatically to Femern's existing SAS and SATA based storage
enabling a 1/2/3 auto tiered environment.

Installation commenced with the help of COMM2IG and
twelve months down the line, Femern are well placed to comment on the success
of their software defined data centre. Most noticeable is the increased performance of their SQL applications
which struggled with latency issues previously.

"From a user perspective, they used
to experience slow response times and a performance lag from their SQL &
Exchange applications running virtually on VMware. Today, and in the future, with DataCore in
the background, the applications appear robust, instantaneous and seamless. We
have achieved this without the cost prohibitive price tag of pure flash. That's
what any IT department strives to achieve.

Olsson summarises: "As the data volumes
increase up to ten fold as construction starts in 2015, intelligent allocations
to flash will increase the lifespan of the Fusion-ioDrive and offset the
overall cost of ownership, delivering less critical data to the most cost
effective tier that can deliver acceptable performance. With this multi-faceted approach to storage
allocation using DataCore's SANsymphony-V solution, Femern is able to manage
all devices under one management interface; regardless of brand and type.  Given that DataCore has been robustly
supporting VMware environments for many years, SANsymphony-V is viewed as the
perfect complement, offering enhanced storage management and control
intelligence. For Femern, this has manifested in reduction of downtime; adding
new VMs; taking backups; migrating data and expanding capacity can all now be
done without outages.

"What we have achieved here with
DataCore storage virtualisation software sets us on the road to affordable,
flexible growth to eliminate storage related downtime. Add the blistering speed
of Fusion-io acceleration and we have created a super performing, auto tiered
storage network, that does as the tunnel itself will do; connects others
reliably, super fast and without stoppages,
" concludes Olsson.