University of Portland Deploys Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Alacritech Acceleration

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alacritech, the pioneer in NFS storage acceleration, today announced that the University of Portland has deployed Alacritech's ANX 1500 Network File System (NFS) acceleration appliance to implement a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) across their campus network. The ANX 1500 allowed the University to overcome storage IO challenges and deliver increased performance while cutting both short and long-term costs.

Storage can be a costly performance roadblock within VDI environments. The University of Portland, while experiencing initial success in its VDI pilot, knew that to support a University wide roll-out addressing 3,000 users, including support for its newly re-designed, state-of-the-art digital library, required that its storage be better optimized to better deal with read latency. Left unchecked, NFS writes would consume NAS bandwidth and steal from NFS read performance. Despite using higher speed SAS disk drives and Flash as cache in its NAS implementation, read latency was still creeping in.

To address the VDI storage bottleneck, the University elected to deploy a pure SSD array solution. While latencies did fall, the solution was expensive and represented an adjunct solution to its present and valued NAS infrastructure.

Tom Ank, the storage IT engineer for the University, was faced with the need to add more SSD storage to support the wider roll-out when he was presented with the Alacritech solution. He chose Alacritech because he was intrigued by their ability to provide equal or better performance than SSD storage at a fraction of the cost.

“I liked the idea that Alacritech’s ANX platform could directly integrate with our current NAS system, rather than our current configuration, which was two distinct, separately managed storage systems. Furthermore, the read latency for the ANX was actually less than our pure SSD solution and could be purchased at a fraction of the cost. The ANX also enabled us to use less expensive and higher capacity media behind our filers,” said Ank.

“The fact that the ANX 1500 was able to demonstrate less latency than a pure SSD array, with ample headroom to offload more applications, is a testimony to Alacritech’s data acceleration technologies,” said Doug Rainbolt, Alacritech’s VP of Marketing.

By making use of the ANX 1500, the University expects to save approximately $200K over the next year. The ANX 1500 will also extend the life of the filer, providing even greater savings. In addition, SATA drives can now be effectively integrated into the storage system rather than more costly SAS hard drives. As a result, the University is anticipating that in subsequent fiscal years, they will save around 50% per year off the cost of additional storage.

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