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Accountant dumps Dell SAN for StorMagic hyper-converged

Accounting firm Cover & Rossiter has gained enterprise levels of redundancy and avoided up to $40,000 on replacement SAN costs by deploying StorMagic’s SvSAN software-defined hyper-converged software product.

The Delaware-based company has two offices, with 60 employees and core applications that include Microsoft Exchange and a range of tax and accounting software.

Cover & Rossiter previously had a single Dell Powervault iSCSI SAN in place, but this had reached end-of-life and, critically, was a single point of failure, said the company’s IT consultant, Darren Wright of D2 Technology.

“It was a single point of failure and it was time for a refresh,” he said. “And every minute of potential downtime would have meant lost dollars, so redundancy was a major factor.”

Wright initially deployed a Starwind hyper-converged product, which had been attractive for reasons of performance and pricing, but this lasted around 12 months before a switch to StorMagic.

“Starwind support was not a good experience,” said Wright. “Essentially, it was a less-polished product and maintenance and updates were difficult.”

“So, when it came to the point of yearly renewal, I said to Cover & Rossiter, ‘We can stick with this product I don’t like or spend a bit more for something that works better’.”

Wright deployed StorMagic to a pair of Dell DL385 servers, with 6TB of SAS spinning disk plus 1.2TB on FusionIO PCIe flash cards on each.

The StorMagic SvSAN software carves out on each server into a pool of SAN-like capacity linked to the other. There is also a third server equipped for disaster recovery purposes.

Key benefits for Wright centre on the levels of redundancy offered by the StorMagic setup, as well as the costs saved.

“Now we have complete redundancy, whereas with the previous SAN setup there was no budget to do this. It is easy to see that with this kind of deployment you can avoid downtime that would cost tens of thousands of dollars a day,” said Wright.

“Typically, a new pair of SAN boxes like the ones already in would have cost $30,000 to $40,000. StorMagic has cost around $5,000.”

Hyper-converged infrastructure marries server and storage hardware in a single node, which can be built into clusters with scale-out connectivity between them. It has been one of the big stories of the past 12 months in IT and is especially suited to small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) deployments that can benefit from bundling servers and storage together in one box.

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