Queensland Sugar gets flash(y) with storage

Sugar exporter upgrades storage arrays to get flash memory performance

Raw sugar exporter Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) has experienced a 10-times boost in performance speed since rolling out two new storage storage arrays in October, combining both spinning disk and flash.

“We wanted to upgrade our storage so we could have the performance that flash memory gives us and cached memory in a storage area network,” said QSL ICT manager Salvo Spina.

“Nimble Storage did it in a way that is different because they have some flash memory but the majority of memory is just spinning disks

“Nimble used the strong points of both technology and that’s what impressed me.”

Spina selected the vendor’s storage arrays with the aim of improving performance for users.

One is located in QSL's head office and the second was set up at an off-site data centre.

“Because we have a Citrix-based network, we have a centralised server at our Brisbane office. We had excellent computing, switching and routing infrastructure but people were complaining about performance,” he said.

“Every one of our 150 users has some sort of device that they load a Citrix session on, from wherever they are. Their work and all of their information is stored in the data centre on our storage system.”

Spina had a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) blade server farm installed in 2014.

“If we put this together, we knew it would work to a certain performance,” he said.

The UCS came with a pre-configured architecture for working with Nimble.

Latency has reduced and complaints about applications stalling stopped, he said.

Spina swapped out IBM storage for Nimble.

Spina said QSL had been having problems with network performance and established that storage was the root cause.

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