Jun 06 2019
Data Center

3 Ways Universities Can Find the Perfect Solid–State Storage Solution

To successfully upgrade data centers, universities should focus on finding the right vendor partner and the right solution to match their workloads.

Universities are replacing hard disks with solid state disks to improve data center efficiency as student and faculty dependence on campus technology creates a need for increased performance. 

Because SSDs replace moving parts with flash arrays, they are able to cut down on energy costs while simultaneously process data faster than would be capable with a hard disk drive. 

This kind of technology is especially helpful for universities who feel an increase and decrease in IT demands as the school year progresses. For example, when finals come around, IT staff are hard-pressed to keep up with service requests.

“Academic institutions are similar to retailers in that they experience significant upticks in IT demand at specific times,” Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, tells EdTech. “As a result, institutions need IT solutions and services that are flexible and robust enough to support those demanding use cases, as well as day-to-day business requirements.” 


3 Ways to Ensure Success with SSD Integration

Effective SSD implementations often require integrating new storage arrays into an existing spinning-disk environment. Veterans of such projects share their advice for making it work.

  1. Match SSDs to the Right Workloads: Top candidates include applications with heavy transactional volumes or dedicated platforms, such as VDI. “Don’t move just any application to SSDs,” says Mehran Basiratmand, CTO at Florida Atlantic University. “If it’s something that won’t see a performance benefit, it’s like buying an expensive sports car and driving it where you can only go 40 miles per hour.”

  2. Choose Vendor-Agnostic Solutions: Leading storage management software lets admins create dynamic resource pools using associated hardware, but also accommodates solid-state and spinning-disk hardware from other vendors. “The last thing you want is a solution that complicates daily tasks,” says King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. “Be sure the software will support the pooling, tiering and other processes you plan to adopt.”

  3. Seek Out Suppliers With Support: If authorized, some vendors will continuously monitor customer storage environments for emerging bottlenecks or other signs of trouble. “We’ve been contacted about performance problems even before we noticed issues in-house,” says Joey Houck, infrastructure manager at Oregon’s University of Portland. “The vendor can then ask us to open a support port so it can connect to our systems and fix the issue.”

For more on how universities are benefitting from solid–state disks, check out "Solid-State Storage Boosts Speed and Cuts Downtime for Campus IT."

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