How Flash Storage is Used by BDO Unibank, Cerium Networks, British Army, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and School District of Palm Beach County: Case Studies

Flash storage is a solid-state technology that uses non-volatile memory (NVM), meaning data is never lost when the power is turned off.

It can be electronically erased and takes up less energy and space than other storage solutions.

This technology is crucial for organizations in many sectors that require massive amounts of storage and persistence to power their operations.

See the flash storage hardware case studies below for a real-world look at the importance of storage innovation across industries:

5 Flash Storage Hardware Case Studies

1. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Industry: Health care

Flash solutions: IBM FlashSystem and IBM Spectrum Storage 

Outcome: 

  • 2,400% growth in storage under management with no increase in IT staff
  • 50% cost savings for primary storage
  • 5:1 data reduction 
  • 50% shorter time to search patient records 

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) teamed up with IBM to improve the utilization and performance of their data storage. This allowed them to improve patient care by making it faster to access records and easier to manage storage. Kevin Muha, director of storage and data protection at UPMC, described the challenge faced by the medical center: 

“The volume of data that we store and make available today is far beyond even the wildest dreams of a few years ago — and it’s still growing,” Muha says. “For example, we’ve got more sophisticated clinical imaging systems generating increasingly large files and patient records getting progressively more detailed. 

“Unless the tens of thousands of employees across UPMC can lay their hands on the data as and when they need it, innovations won’t have the hoped-for impact on patients.”

To address their needs, UPMC opted for a software-defined storage (SDS) infrastructure using IBM’s Spectrum Storage Suite. They also utilized Spectrum Protect for data resilience, allowing them to back up their whole system overnight and minimize the impact on daily operations. 

UPMC used IBM’s Spectrum Scale to store their imaging archive because it supports synchronous replication in a stretched cluster across two data centers, thus minimizing the risk of data loss. It also allows multiple users to access data simultaneously without loss or inconsistency. 

Finally, they embarked upon a data reduction project to compress and eliminate redundancy. They migrated 6,000 VMware virtual machines (VMs) running business-critical applications without loss and reduced their data volume by five times. 

See the full flash storage case study on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and IBM.

2. School District of Palm Beach County

Industry: Education

Flash solutions: NetApp AllFlash and NetApp hybrid controllers

Outcome: 

  • Consolidated 3–4 vendors into one cluster
  • Migrated 1,000 virtual machines
  • Reduced data center footprint

The School District of Palm Beach County has over 200 schools with almost 250,000 students, making it the 10th largest district in the country. Plus, with approximately 30,000 employees and shrinking budgets, they had more data than they could handle.  

By partnering with NetApp, they were able to migrate 1,000 VMs to one NetApp controller at one site within a two week timespan. They also reduced their data center footprint from 12 racks to one. This consolidation gave all of their applications better throughput and allowed them to condense data from 3–4 legacy vendors into one cluster. They can now provide services more efficiently and improve student experience. 

Most notably, the district upgraded and secured their Student Information System, the records, grades, attendance, etc. for all students. 

“These students are our lifeblood of the county. They are the future,” says Joe Zoda, the senior system engineer for Palm Country District. “By partnering with NetApp, we were able to ensure that the data, the information, everything is secure. 

“Basically, we were able to future-proof our technology as far as storage.”

This transition made data storage, management, and analysis easier to help improve classroom experience and reduce administrative burden. 

See the full flash storage case study on the School District of Palm Beach County and NetApp.

See more: 5 Trends in the Flash Storage Market

3. BDO Unibank

Industry: Fintech 

Flash solution: Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage 

Outcome: 

  • Achieved an active-passive system to protect business data
  • Supported elastic service expansion
  • Cut rollout time from two days to six hours
  • Sped up data monetization in storage resource pools

The largest bank in the Philippines, BDO Unibank, is working with Huawei to provide digital financial solutions to over half of the country’s population who are unbanked. In April, 2021, the bank created a mobile wallet called BDO Pay, offering users contactless payment and digital banking services to improve the inclusiveness of financial solutions

In order to innovate, the bank had to upgrade their legacy infrastructure, powered by Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage Solution for secure, reliable data sharing and cloud storage. The solution is built on the Huawei Data Management Engine (DME) and OceanStor Dorado Storage to safeguard financial data in response to increasing capacity requirements. 

The legacy system was siloed and limited in its processing capacity, preventing BDO from using more than 40% of their capacity. As a replacement, Huawei’s solid-state drive (SSD) technology and storage area network (SAN) with network-attached storage (NAS) increased throughput and unified their file sharing and backup. 

4. British Army

Industry: Military

Flash solution: PureStorage FlashBlade Multi-cloud solution

Outcome: 

  • Connected remote staff with secure communications
  • Provided cost-effective storage for the private cloud
  • Modernized data protection

The British Army faced challenges with their digital transformation program THEIA. They needed to connect teams from all over the word in an economical and secure way but didn’t have the virtual infrastructure needed. By partnering with PureStorage, they were able to adopt a modern private cloud system with a smaller data footprint.

They were also better able to secure their sensitive data and communications so remote teams can work together effectively. PureStorage’s FlashBlade technology allowed for an IT and business transformation with more efficient digital processes, cost savings, and security at scale. 

See the full flash storage case study on the British Army and PureStorage.

5. Cerium Networks

Industry: IT

Flash solution: Dell PowerStore Scalable All-Flash Storage

Outcome: 

  • Upgraded storage systems to enable better competitive research
  • Data-centric design made to support workloads with unified storage

IT Solutions provider Cerium Networks partnered with Dell Technologies’ EMC PowerStore to modernize their digital transformation efforts. Dell’s PowerStore Servers allow for processing of massive workloads without reduction in performance. They also provide integrated security for easier data management. PowerStore Servers offer modular infrastructures, so IT teams can easily tailor and manage infrastructure without added costs or hassle. PowerStore offers a 25% faster mixed workload performance with fully adaptable architecture to bring about maximum operational efficiency.

See the full flash case study on Cerium Networks and PowerStore.

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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