A solution for an evergreen infrastructure and better storage


Zero Upfront Cost

With the OPaaS approach, Cal Poly had a way to obtain a brand new storage infrastructure, on site and behind its firewall, for zero upfront cost. The IT services group could choose the kind of equipment it wanted; for example, SATA disk drives or flash-based Solid State Drives (SSDs), or a mix, as well as to specify the performance as determined by the controller size and capacity) it chose. The OPaaS approach solves numerous management, scalability and performance issues – and keeps the storage within its data center, while still enjoying all the benefits of cloud pricing.

Cal Poly deployed the Zadara Storage Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA) OPaaS solution in early 2015 and is now using it as the primary storage solution for centralized IT. Deploying this “Storage as a Service” approached enabled the team to create an infrastructure that is evergreen and will not need to be ripped and replaced in a few years; rather it evolves with the university as its needs change. It provides the scalability and elasticity to scale up, as well as to scale down – better adapting to each department’s needs and enabling them to pay only for the resources used – an innovation that translates into material savings and departmental agility.

Better Storage

With OPaaS, the university gained the economic benefits of a multi-tenant array, but maintains the performance isolation as if every department had its own storage. Storage management is vastly easier. It now takes just minutes to add new storage resources for departments, or address any other resource management needs. In addition, the OPaaS approach provides features appropriate for Cal Poly’s preferred service provider model of operation, including the ability to meter departmental storage usage.

Because the vendor handles all operation, maintenance and upgrades, the approach also lessened the time demand on team staff members, who could be freed to handle other more strategic initiatives. The vendor periodically replaces old hardware while keeping the data on-line and available so that Cal Poly will never have to migrate their data again. When and if the university needs more, or different storage resources, or when the state of the art advances, the OPaaS approach means the university can obtain it and pay for it in the say way: on a pay as you go basis, based on what is consumed. Best of all, because solution is provided as a service, IT Services can stay within its OpEx budget quarter over quarter.

Tim Schmidt is engineering services manager at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA where he manages the data center architecture team and is responsible for design, implementation and process improvement for new and existing data center hardware, software and services. He has more than 15 years of experience in IT management.

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