Education and research go hand in hand in universities around the world. Leaders of the future participate in exploration, experimentation, and discovery. In this unique setting, data is the basic building block that informs everything else.
At one large research university, IT has embraced data as second only in importance to students and staff, investing in major improvements in quality, availability, and security. Ongoing dialogue with researchers helps IT discover use cases, tune performance to meet user needs, and keep the university in the elite ranks of research.
University Shortens Time to Insight from Large Data Sets
One important use case discovered early on involves heavy reporting requirements. To support research, the university has many data warehousing, analytics, and business intelligence applications. Development teams working on these systems need fast reporting to keep teams on task and prevent compounded delays when reports are run in sequence.
IT saw an opportunity to improve this process by moving to Pure Storage® FlashArray//X™ all-flash storage technology. The change was dramatic, according to the IT director. “Jobs that would take 8 to 10 hours to run now take only 1 hour.”
That wasn’t the only result. Performance problems with Microsoft SQL Server database and data warehouse reporting also disappeared. “We were getting incredible throughput and speed with Pure,” says the IT director. “We were pulling out all the benchmarks and comparing speeds on different workloads and we were just blown away by the performance that we were getting.”
The Pure platform speeds access to data for researchers. Jobs—including stacked jobs—complete in record time. Developers are greeted with results in the morning and no longer need to rerun failed processes or wait for results. Researchers get the most out of the data; the university gets the most out of its research dollars.
Uninterrupted Innovation with Continuous Operations
Beyond performance improvements from the all-flash technology, the IT team also uses Pure1® to manage multiple Pure arrays from a single pane of glass. They can now identify and resolve issues more easily, reducing the complexity of storage management.
System upgrades are just as simple. In the past, upgrades often required a 50% workload reduction and scheduled downtime—with servers offline and VMs taken down. But the process is now seamless with Pure’s Evergreen™ architecture and their Evergreen//Forever™ subscription, which includes ongoing, non-disruptive updates and controller upgrades. And because it is a subscription model, the IT director no longer has to justify additional upgrade costs. “You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind,” he says.
Pure also reduced the volume of data the university stores by using Pure’s leading data reduction with high rates of compression and deduplication. These space and power savings contribute to the university’s sustainability goals and simplify management.
Altogether, the simplicity of Pure Storage gives the university the equivalent of almost a full headcount that can be used for other projects. “It seemed like we gained an additional employee by purchasing Pure technology,” says the IT director.
Sharing IT Innovations to Spur Further Advancements
IT directors across the university meet monthly to share insights on new policies, data protection strategies, and infrastructure. The group discusses migrations, new tools and technology, and benefits achieved. This networking, sharing, and learning approach leverages innovation in one department into advancement elsewhere in the university.
At this university and many others around the globe, the answers to life’s mysteries are within reach. Advanced technologies spark insight and develop meaning—all fueled by data. IT has truly become an engine of innovation.
As the IT director concludes, “With Pure, we get the best and latest and greatest technology without destroying our budget.”
To learn more about this customer’s journey in their own words, check out this episode of The Pure Report podcast.