FRV started experiencing significant performance issues with their critical applications which were running on SQL database systems. Reaching capacity of the legacy storage solution and file share with a lack of confidence for Disaster Recovery processes, Cirrus Networks and our partner Pure Storage was successful in providing a replacement Storage and Storage Area Network (SAN) solution.
The initial solution involved the deployment of Pure FlashArrays across three sites providing 2xFlashArray X50’s with all NVMe storage with 220TB of capacity (an estimated 3.5:1 data reduction ratio) in the two primary sites and a FlashArray X10 with 20TB in the third site. The two primary sites were configured using Pure Storage Active Cluster to provide a true active/active Disaster Recovery (DR) ensuring that FRV critical application remained running if one of the sites or storage arrays went offline.
Cirrus deployed new Pure FlashArrays with existing UCS servers in a FlashStack Cisco validated design and replaced the SAN switch infrastructure with new Cisco MDS 9148T and 9132T switches with 16GB optics for encrypted Fibre Channel (FC) connectivity for both short and long-range links between sites.
Completing rigorous failover testing to ensure the environment was stable and the Active Cluster synchronous replication could fail between sites with no impact on the test applications. Part of the test included removing power cords from the storage arrays, one site at a time, ensuring there was no impact with running applications, proving the active/active DR capability. Cirrus also provided training before commencement with follow-up sessions scheduled to resolve any issues/questions.
These tasks were all completed by Cirrus and verified before migrating FRV applications and file shares to the new solution.
Initially, all virtual machines were migrated using Storage vMotion methods to avoid application outages. SQL Physical servers were redeployed as VMware virtual machines and data migrated to the new SQL virtual servers. File Shares were migrated via mirroring of files shares to the new storage which were completed after hours in schedule batches to avoid any impact to production file shares. Finally, new storage LUNs were presented to the AIX systems and used the AIX operating system to replicate the data at the host level to the new storage LUNs. The whole process was complete in under three months with Pure Storage providing a two-day onsite training session.
MFB & CFA Merge to form FRV
After the initial implementation and as part of the bushfire review MFB and CFA began to merge to form FRV and as a result, some data and systems were migrated to the new storage solution with the capacity quickly growing to 90%. FRV was keen to expand the solution and Cirrus and Pure Storage once again were selected to provide a capacity and performance upgrade.
As part of an extensive review with various flexible upgrade options, FRV accepted a proposal to upgrade the existing Pure X50 FlashArrays
to X70 Flash Arrays and an additional NVME expansion shelf which will provide significantly higher performance and 866TB of effective storage capacity (@3.5:1 DRR).
These upgrades were completed one site at a time, with each upgrade complete after hours in one night with no downtime or performance impact providing a non-disruptive upgrade. The current expansion trays are only at 50% capacity and as FRV needs they can purchase additional storage which can be added non disruptively in minutes to grow the storage capacity to over 1.5PB per array as needed.
FRV post upgrade now has no latency issue and even with heavy batch workloads are impressed with the performance and responsiveness of the new storage solution.
“We’re running our overnight invoice batches now and considering the heavy workload involved, we are impressed with the responsiveness of the system” – Steven Younger, FES Systems Analyst.
FES Systems Analyst