North Carolina County Transforms IT with Automated Tiering
Selects EMC Over Dell and NetApp for Capabilities and Cost; Reduces Backup Timing by 90%
EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) today announced that Mecklenburg County, North Carolina's most populous county with nearly one million residents, selected EMC solutions to increase performance, efficiency and optimize backup performance—while decreasing costs. Mecklenburg selected EMC® VNX® unified storage running the EMC FAST Suite to boost the performance of its mission critical applications and automate tiering across the array—driving down operational costs and simplifying management. Mecklenburg extended its tiering strategy from the array to archival storage by leveraging the EMC Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA), maximizing efficiency and mitigating the need for additional storage from the county government's growing file shares and Web servers. Mecklenburg is also improving backups with EMC Avamar® deduplication backup software and system, transforming its approach to data protection by decreasing backup capacity requirements and backup times.
EMC is ranked by customers across the globe as the #1 storage choice for mission critical environments, according to the latest end-user study from IDC¹. The survey ranks storage vendors based on customer deployment patterns within the most widely-used enterprise applications. According to the IDC study, more customers choose EMC storage than any other vendor's for their Oracle, Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, SAP, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Home Directory environments.
- Automated Tiering and Performance Optimization—With EMC's FAST Suite, Mecklenburg has simplified storage management and reduced costs using software that automatically tiers data to the most cost-effective drive type for its activity level, ensuring that Mecklenburg never has to compromise performance for budget.
- Cost Savings—By automatically tiering 90 days worth of inactive data from the array to archival storage, EMC CTA enabled Mecklenburg to reclaim 7 terabytes of primary storage while avoiding the need for more capacity for CIFS file shares—saving $60,000 in capital expenditures.
- Improved Backups—With Avamar, Mecklenburg decreased its backup times by 90% —going from 72- to just 8-hours.
Customer Challenges and Solution:
To manage through the economic recession, Mecklenburg's county government was required to reduce budgets and staff even as demand for IT services increased dramatically. At the same time, capacity requirements increased 75% in 18 months, quickly maxing out available tape backup capacity managed by Mecklenburg's prior Symantec Backup Exec solution. The county's data retention policies also meant files were held for long, often indefinite periods, further taxing its IT infrastructure and requiring significant resources to manage.
Mecklenburg selected EMC over NetApp and Dell (Compellent) to transform its infrastructure with the help of EMC Velocity Solution Provider, Varrow. Mecklenburg implemented EMC VNX, the EMC FAST Suite, CTA and Avamar. Mecklenburg's infrastructure supports Oracle, PeopleSoft, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, VMware and internally developed applications for social services, tax administration, and the Sheriff's department, among others, so it was critical that the solutions they chose be scalable, reliable, and cost-effective.
Customers—like Mecklenburg—that experience massive data growth and flat or declining budgets rely on EMC tiering technologies to drive down CapEx and Opex and simplify data management, allowing the array to focus its power on customers' critical applications. Mecklenburg is now able to automatically move data based on activity level. Within the array, FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) automatically moves data across a storage pool of Flash based on customer-defined policies, while CTA does the same from the VNX to archive storage, freeing up valuable primary storage for data growth. Together these technologies enable Mecklenburg to lower CapEx and OpEx while simultaneously improving performance. EMC ranked #1 in a recent Wikibon report assessing automated tiering for midrange arrays.
Carolyn Shumate, Technical Analyst II, Mecklenburg County Government.
"When it came to consolidating our block and file data, we looked at NetApp very carefully and also considered Dell Compellent. Ultimately, we chose EMC VNX unified storage because the others just couldn't compete with EMC on features, capabilities and cost. Since deploying EMC unified storage, we've been able to consolidate as many as 20 file servers and enjoy the performance, management and cost benefits of automated tiering."
"At the rate we were growing, we would have filled up our backup system two times over had we not deployed EMC Cloud Tiering Appliance. By archiving 90 days' worth of inactive data, EMC's Cloud Tiering Appliance reduced the volume of data from backup substantially. For example, a 1.4 terabyte file share was reduced to about 500 gigabytes of relevant data."
EMC's Cloud Tiering Appliance has allowed us to reclaim 7 terabytes of primary storage and avoid adding more space for CIFS file shares. Because backup volumes are now under control, we've also postponed purchasing additional backup disk, saving $60,000 in capital expenditures."
"Since reducing our tape backups with Avamar and integrating Cloud Tiering Appliance to automate archiving, we've shrunk our full backup window nearly 90%—from 72 hours to just eight. And we now complete full backups every day with no need for differential backups as before."
"The deduplication technology in Avamar has been awesome because it's lowered our retention cost. Restoring is also a lot faster, without the hassle of shuffling out tapes. In one case we restored 1.5 gigabytes of data in less than five minutes. With tape, that easily could have taken two hours. And the reliability is second to none. We tell people, if you want a product that works 100%, then buy Avamar; if you want a product that only works half way, then buy something else."
"One of the biggest areas EMC adds value is their personalized customer service. They provide one central line of support, unlike other vendors we've had in the past who bounced us around. We like that EMC is always responsive to our needs."
EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset — information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Additional information about EMC can be found at www.EMC.com.
1 IDC, "IDC's Storage Users Demand Survey 2011 - Fall Edition: Customers Still Want Choice, #234651"
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