Emory Data Storage transformed with an eye to the future

The Data Storage team has finished a complete storage migration to new storage servers, and the results are impressive. Through this six-month process, the team members reduced their price per gigabyte of storage by 65%, their power utilization by 70%, and their footprint (actual floorspace for equipment) by 80%.

“This block storage refresh is a next-generation evolution for storage that we have completed,” says Dave Hauenstein, manager of LITS Storage and Engineering.

The purpose of this effort is the better position Emory to take advantage of cloud storage, which experts believe is where data storage is ultimately headed. “Cloud compute and storage still has challenges and we wanted to get to a high densitystorage/low energy solution as a bridge so that we wouldn’t need to rush into the cloud until the time was right,” adds Dave. “We are working with LITS leadership on both plans to transition applications to the cloud as well as to modernize and evolve our datacenters for those apps not moving offsite.”

This successful effort was a collaboration between the Storage Team, the Systems Team, and Database Administration. All three teams put in tremendous effort.

The Goizueta Business School has already moved into the new storage architecture.

The new architecture incorporates flash storage. Traditional server storage involves spinning hard drives that are subject to a greater degree of mechanical failure. Flash memory utilizes solid state drives (SSD) that are typically faster and more reliable.

The first usage of flash memory came in USB thumb drives and smart devices. As the technology evolved, data centers are able to use fully integrated all-flash storage arrays that are a different type of chip than the ones in your cell phone but operate in similar ways.

“Flash storage has been around for 5-7 years but it has only recently become more cost effective,” says Dave. “The high performance coupled with low energy use also falls in line with Emory’s energy goals and is a good fit in a hybrid model with some applications in the cloud and those needing high performance or having sensitive data staying onsite.”

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