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SEGA chooses Tintri Enterprise Cloud for outstanding VM performance

Tintri Enterprise Cloud delivers automated QoS, data reduction, and more efficient backups for SEGA Games.

  • KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • SEGA Games had persistent problems with “Monster VMs,” noisy neighbors that cropped up unexpectedly and affected other VMs.
  • Switching to Tintri storage with Auto-QoS eliminated the impact of Monster VMs and improved application performance across the board.
  • With time spent on storage operations reduced to almost zero, the team is well positioned to achieve its goal of “total virtualization.”

SEGA Games is one of the world’s most successful and well-known interactive game developers and publishers, with dozens of popular titles and millions of users online, on PCs, and across smart devices and B2B networks. IT infrastructure stability and availability is of utmost importance to the company. If service is interrupted or performance deteriorates—even briefly—it affects customers and the business as a whole.

More than half of SEGA Games’ physical servers are virtualized, but all the applications that require high performance are still on bare metal. As a result, if a physical server fails, the IT team can’t just quickly restart the application elsewhere the way they can with a virtual machine (VM). If all servers were virtualized, it would speed recovery and increase availability substantially.

Monster VMs consume storage resources

Among SEGA Games’ biggest IT challenges was the unpredictable occurrence of “Monster VMs,” VMs that consume a lot of storage I/O resources. Monster VMs negatively impact the performance of the other VMs sharing the same storage due to the noisy neighbor effect.

A VM that generates a lot of storage I/O all the time can be dealt with fairly easily, but VMs that do not have much I/O can suddenly become “monsterized.” For SEGA Games, the most common causes of Monster VMs were data backup processing or log salvaging carried out by the service department to check for application problems. During such processing, the storage I/O of a VM increased suddenly with no advance notice to IT.

The conventional storage that SEGA Games had been using lacked quality of service (QoS) to “tame” Monster VMs. Following a careful evaluation of several alternative storage systems, the IT team chose the Tintri Enterprise Cloud platform, in large part for its proven resiliency and Auto-QoS functionality.

Tintri Auto-QoS eliminates noisy neighbors, simplifies management

Monster VMs had to be dealt with as soon as they appeared. That would mean identifying which VM was generating the high I/O, manually adjusting the QoS settings of the storage, and migrating the Monster VM to another host to reduce its impact.

Before Tintri, it was very difficult to determine which VM was responsible for a sudden and dramatic increase in storage I/O. A complicated recovery regime could take as long as a week—taking up the time and focus of the IT team.

SEGA chooses Tintri Enterprise Cloud for outstanding VM performance

The Auto-QoS feature of Tintri Enterprise Cloud, greatly reduced the impact of Monster VMs and simplified management across the entire environment.

Auto-QoS is designed to deliver good performance for every VM without having to explicitly configure each one. It works at the VM level and automatically keeps noisy neighbors (such as Monster VMs) from interfering with other workloads. Auto-QoS is designed to do the right thing, greatly simplifying or eliminating management while giving you fine-grained control when you need to achieve specific objectives.

Better performance across the board

Tintri’s ability to deliver Auto-QoS enabled SEGA Games to improve the stability and availability of its infrastructure and greatly reduce the performance impact on other VMs. The team found Tintri Auto-QoS to be much more effective than the QoS capabilities of other storage systems they considered.

SEGA Games has experienced a host of other benefits from its Tintri purchase. After implementing the Tintri Enterprise Cloud platform, SEGA Games reported a 2.2x data reduction rate with minimal impact on performance. Their previous conventional storage could not use dedupe or compression because it reduced performance too much.

Backups used to take six hours each time. Now, creating and replicating a Tintri snapshot to a DR site takes less than 20 minutes.

Next Steps

SEGA Games is currently working towards its goal of “total virtualization” that would eliminate the availability and management challenges created by a large number of bare-metal application deployments. Tintri has helped them bring that goal closer to reality. With the time spent on storage operations reaching almost zero, the organization has more time to focus on further improving IT infrastructure and achieving its goals.

Scott Buchanan / Nov 28, 2017

Scott leads Tintri's Marketing function. His team is responsible for Tintri's brand, content, and social media. Prior to Tintri, Scott led marketing teams at Microsoft, Medallia, and Merced (all t...more

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