October 15, 2015
SSC Zwolle Wins Best of VMworld 2015 with Atlantis USX 3.1 Stretched Cluster
On Tuesday, at VMworld Europe in Barcelona, Shared Service Center (SSC) Zwolle won the Best of VMworld 2015 award in the “Best Virtualisation and Service Consolidation Project” category based on the project with Atlantis USX 3.1 Stretched Cluster on VMware vSphere (Read More About Atlantis USX Stretched Cluster).
Shared Service Center (SSC) Zwolle is a joint initiative by the Netherlands province of Overijssel and the cities of Zwolle and Kampen to share and lower the costs of providing datacenter resources to local municipalities in the region. SSC Zwolle designed a modern software-defined datacenter that provided the ability to move data, virtual machines and application workloads between sites with a highly efficient hyper-converged metro cluster storage architecture that cut costs, reduced datacenter space, lowered power requirements and provided resilience across two datacenter sites. SSC Zwolle is one of the first customers worldwide to use a hyper-converged architecture running entirely on direct-attached storage within blade servers, while at the same time using a stretched/metro cluster.
When SSC Zwolle first set out to build the datacenter, they considered several options, including using a traditional disk-based SAN with synchronous replication between two sites. However, this doubled the required 200TB shared storage cost, datacenter space and power consumption required for the deployment. After working with VMware and Atlantis, SSC Zwolle chose instead to deploy VMware vSphere for the virtualization infrastructure with Atlantis USX providing a hyper-converged storage solution that integrated into its existing blade servers. With this architecture, SSC Zwolle was able to reduce the required storage capacity from 425TB of raw physical storage to only 180TB (60% reduction) and eliminate the need for proprietary replication hardware. Moreover, the remaining 180TB of storage was built into the blade server with Atlantis USX pooling and tiering a combination of local solid state drives (SSD) and SAS drives together whilst providing high availability across two metro cluster sites. The resulting cost savings were 60% less datacenter space (40U vs. 102U) and lower power consumption (10kW/h vs 38kW/h).
SSC Zwolle uses the datacenters for a variety of virtualized servers including databases, government applications, infrastructure, active directory, Microsoft Exchange and EDO document management systems. To keep their staff productive and provide government services effectively, it was critical that the new datacenter deliver improved application performance. In the previous production environment, opening large PDF documents took as long as 50 seconds. In its new software-defined datacenter with Atlantis USX hyper-converged storage, opening the same document appeared instantly before they could start the stopwatch. As their primary line of business application for government records, this improvement in performance resulted in increased productivity and satisfaction for both their staff and citizens using the government services.
As a best practice and for licensing reasons, SSC Zwolle runs Oracle virtualized databases but on dedicated hardware. Unlike typical hyper-converged appliances, SSC Zwolle Oracle databases use Atlantis USX software-defined storage running on separate nodes to provide efficient and high-performance storage. The adaptability of Zwolle’s architecture allowed them to realize the cost savings of a software-defined datacenter, reduce licensing costs and still support their database best practices.
SSC Zwolle’s ability to create a software-defined stretched clusters enabled the organization to adapt instantly to the changing resource needs of their applications and move them seamlessly between datacenters. The use of Atlantis USX storage in a hyper-converged architecture also helped them dramatically simplify their storage management by eliminating the need for any external storage hardware, replication configuration or tiering policies.
For the province of Overijssel, SSC Zwolle is an example of how innovation in software-defined datacenter technology can be applied to consolidate the datacenter, making government more efficient, increasing the productivity of their employees and deliver better services to the citizens of the province.
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