Cloud Innovator of the Month - December 2010
VP of Information Technology
- Operations in 43 States
- Nearly half of the employees are remote
- SharePoint is the mechanism to exchange all construction related content
- Videos, pictures, blueprints and documents are added and retrieved from the field
- StorSimple SharePoint Optimizer
- StorSimple Armada 1010
- StorSimple Data Protection
- HP DL580 Host Servers
- 2 Processors each
- 28 GB of RAM Each
- VMware ESX Servers
- SharePoint 2010
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- SQL Server 2008 R2
- iSCSI SAN
Rockford Construction knew that IT would be a core way that it could differentiate itself from its competitors. They selected SharePoint as the way to give their many field representatives access to all information about projects in real time while on site and to provide a repository for archiving based on a ten-year retention policy.
SharePoint worked great until the information started to grow exponentially. Like many SharePoint administrators, the company had to start limiting the type of content that users put into the system because the performance suffered as data grew. “SharePoint is a great product,” says the VP of IT, but it ran into issues at 300 GB. For a construction company, keeping blueprints, photos, documents, and videos at many stages in the project is critical. Additionally, administrators had backup software they would use to manually archive the data, but taking the tapes offsite required too much manual intervention and it was easy to foul the process especially with the growing volumes of data.
The company chose StorSimple to address their SharePoint performance, scalability and backup issues. The StorSimple SharePoint Optimizer made the “SQL database so much smaller” allowing it to perform optimally. Users were much happier, something hard to measure, but a clear indicator. The company is expecting nearly a Terabyte of data in the next six months so they needed a solution quickly to move beyond the 300 GB limit. They also expect that users will find creative ways to use the system and will be storing even more data than they expect, a great fit for thin provisioning elastic cloud expansion.
What did they most like StorSimple? “It drops in place”, referring to the tenminute installation to present an iSCSI volume. They also liked that they did not get locked into any vendor or cloud provider. Lock in dissuaded them from other solutions such as cloud-based services. Encryption was also a critical feature that they liked about StorSimple. They need to be in control of the data, and StorSimple’s hybrid cloud approach was the only way in the cloud to accomplish that.
Automatic deduplication allowed them to store about ten times more data in the space they had on the iSCSI SAN (10:1 ratio). They expect to see similar results on additional items they add to the database. All of that free space is now back available for other enterprise applications that need the SAN. He did mention one issue with StorSimple with respect to thin provisioning, deduplication and elastic expansion: “You are going to save so much space, that you don’t need to worry about overallocating” and that will take a change in mindset.