How Software-Defined Storage (SDS) is Used by Stennis Space Center, DAAI TV, Cengage Group, UZ Leuven, and City of Tyler: Case Studies

It used to be that organizations were limited in their data storage by the capacity of physical hardware. Companies with large storage needs would need whole rooms of servers to accommodate all of their records.

In contrast, modern storage models are software-based, allowing for abstraction from the underlying hardware. This means storage capacity is much more flexible, which is crucial for organizations today who are looking to scale their operations and undergo digital transformations. It’s also easier to implement efficient, transparent data management strategies using this storage model.

Let’s take a look at some software-defined storage (SDS) case studies to get a better understanding of how the big names in the enterprise storage space are serving organizations across different industries. 

5 SDS Case Studies

1. Cengage Group

Industry: Education

Products: Pure as-a-Service, Pure Storage FlashArray, Pure Storage FlashBlade, Pure1, Evergreen Storage

Outcomes: 

  • Supports transition to a digital subscription service model
  • Enables business growth through digital expansion and supports spikes in demand
  • Activate real-time analytics
  • Enables hybrid multicloud environment

The textbook company Cengage Group transitioned to an online cloud-based subscription service model, offering students access to more than 10,000 e-textbooks and online academic platforms. Using the wrong tools is a common mistake in cloud management, and they knew their existing storage system was insufficient to support the transformation, resulting in stability and accessibility problems.

By combining flash-array hardware with Pure1 storage management software, the company was able to reduce its data footprint by 80% while doubling performance. They achieved greater scalability and predictability and made it easier for IT teams to manage a hybrid cloud environment remotely, even from their mobile phones. System speed increased to improve the student experience, and back-office functions are made easier with advanced analytic capabilities. 

2. UZ Leuven

Industry: Health care

Products: NetApp All Flash FAS with ONTAP data management software

Outcomes: 

  • Enable digitization and increase access to patient records across disparate environments
  • Add nearly 1PB of data every year without compromising performance
  • Reduce storage latency from 100ms to <0.4ms

Belgium’s largest healthcare provider UZ Leuven created an online electronic health records system called nexuzhealth. They seek to reduce data redundancy and increase access to records among healthcare practitioners. Every hospital that joins adds a large amount of data to the database, requiring scalability and advanced data management capabilities for IT teams.

The team implemented NetApp All Flash FAS and ONTAP data management software to absorb the impact of exponential data growth. 

“With the addition of nexuzhealth and the growth that we anticipate, availability is even more important than before,” said Reinoud Reynders, an IT manager in infrastructure and operations. “And that’s where Data ONTAP is very important for us.” 

Through their system, partner hospitals are now able to manage patient data with consistency and security, so they can save time and money and provide more efficient, effective care across disparate settings. 

3. DAAI TV

Industry: Broadcast

Products: Nutanix Cloud Platform and built-in applications with AHV Hypervisor, Files, and HPE ProLiant DX2600

Outcomes: 

  • Decrease time-to-market deployment from days to minutes 
  • Increase resiliency with 99.99% uptime availability
  • Boost operational efficiency with intelligence and automation features

PT Duta Anugerah Indah, or DAAI TV, is an Indonesian television station that sought to transition from its legacy infrastructure to a more flexible, modern system. 

“Managing the huge exponential growth of data in the broadcast industry is a huge challenge for legacy infrastructures,” said IT manager Tjio Yulius. “With Nutanix cloud platform and Nutanix Files, we are able to add to our data assets easily and check for file anomalies.”

DAAI TV switched to Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure technology and cloud-based applications to increase operational efficiency. Nutanix Files is built to handle huge amounts of storage and user sessions, all managed in one elastic cluster. Automated control features make management easier, taking full advantage of the benefits of the SDS model.

DAAI TV reports that IT teams can now focus on development instead of constantly managing issues. They have achieved greater resiliency with 99.99% uptime availability. It’s also easier to optimize cost with cloud-based storage management that grows to meet changing business needs.  

4. Stennis Space Center

Industry: Aeronautics

Products: DataCore SANsymphony virtualization software and reporting 

Outcomes: 

  • Virtualize over 265 TB of data to increase availability and enable risk avoidance
  • Improve capacity management and data storage utilization
  • Achieve hardware independence and flexibility when upgrading
  • Decrease costs due to easier management and increased scalability

The John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) in southern Mississippi is NASA’s largest testing facility for rocket propulsion machines. Their system integrator ASRC Federal sought a better storage solution to improve application availability and performance. 

“Because each rocket engine test can cost upwards of $1,000,000, it is critical that the numerous IT functions on which these trials depend be available and running for the 72 hours prior to the test, during the exercise, and for the 72 hours afterwards,” said System Support Manager David Oakes.

With DataCore’s SANsymphony virtualization software and reporting, the team was able to reduce maintenance with more agile system infrastructure. Their applications run faster with the software’s caching capabilities. Monitoring and reporting utilization metrics and other analytics makes it easier to gain important insights into subsystems, and data migration is less disruptive and time-consuming. 

5. City of Tyler, Texas

Industry: Public safety

Products: IBM FlashSystem 7200 and IBM Cloud 

Outcomes:

  • Enable hybrid multicloud storage infrastructure
  • Improve data access with hundreds of terabytes of videos publicly available 24/7  
  • Allow efficient data collection and processing to reduce fire department map rendering from 15 minutes to a few seconds

The City of Tyler, Texas, sought to improve real-time threat detection and better equip police officers, firefighters, and other critical departments with connected devices and more advanced, accessible data to improve public safety decision making. With IBM Cloud for VMware technology and IBM flash storage, the City of Tyler can now provide data-driven hybrid multi-cloud storage managed with an AI-powered central data management platform.

By enabling software-defined storage management through the cloud, the City of Tyler is better able to harness real-time insights to make more efficient and effective decisions. The public safety departments and community are now better connected with transparent records, and the AI tools are easy to use and secure. 

Conclusions

These use cases serve as examples of how important software-defined storage can be in digital transformation. Particularly when paired with AI-powered analytics and management platforms, SDS can radically transform and scale critical operations. Over time, we’ll come to see many more organizations taking advantage of the flexibility, scalability, and cost-reduction of the SDS model to grow their businesses and better serve customers.

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech 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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