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Big Data Infrastructure: Dell, VMware Solution Handles Exponential Growth

When customers talk—especially when they complain—you listen. So, when the network manager and regional CIO of a medical data company managing big data recently heard from customers that its system was too slow, they knew they had to take action to upgrade their big data infrastructure to maintain their existing customer base. And their big data was about to get a whole lot bigger because they just landed a new client: a major retailer with thousands of locations across the U.S.

They needed a big data infrastructure powerful enough to handle exponential growth. And that’s what they got with a Dell, VMware and Fusion-io solution from MicroAge.

This small (but growing) division of the company picks up new customers constantly, and everyone accessing the data expects quick responses to each query. The client’s infrastructure simply wasn’t built to withstand this ever-increasing usage.

“A lot of creativity goes into building and developing a big data infrastructure,” explains MicroAge’s Chris Reinhard. “In this client’s case, the keys were scalability, stability and ease of use.”

Chris engaged MicroAge’s team of technical sales consultants to research the situation. After running a capacity planner to better understand the client’s data usage, they put together a solution that would accommodate the client’s growth to 48 TB of data.

“The client wanted this to be the fastest and most scalable solution at his company,” Chris recalls. “With growth expected to triple or quadruple over the next few years, the scalability was critical.”

Even with those lofty goals, Chris didn’t try to sell the client equipment they didn’t need.

“In the beginning, they wanted more than they needed,” he says. “We actually talked them down. They didn’t need to spend so much money, and the data from the capacity planner supported our recommendations. There’s a difference between sensible investment in growth and overspending.”

For storage, the client went with high-end Dell EqualLogic PS6100XV SANs connected to two separate VMware clusters—with six arrays placed at one site and another six at a different location. We integrated Fusion-io cards in their hosts to allow for database caching improvements, while Dell AppAssure provides near-continuous data protection and replication for disaster recovery (DR) at the second site.

The client ended up with a solution that fit their needs—stable, easy to use and scalable.

“This has at least a seven-year shelf life,” Chris says.

For support, the client hired a technical consultant to review the MicroAge recommendation.

“He backed up our recommendation and provided third-party validation that we knew what we were doing,” Chris notes.

Further proof that Chris’ team knew what they were doing? Since this big data infrastructure upgrade, customer complaints have disappeared and the client now has room to accommodate their new retailer’s numerous nation-wide locations.

“Their system is ridiculously fast now,” Chris says. “And they couldn’t be happier.”

When it’s time to make strategic upgrades to your infrastructure, Chris Reinhard is here to help. Contact him at 480-366-2091 or christopher.reinhard@microage.com.

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Christopher Reinhard
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