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VM-Aware Systems Provide Higher Performance and Simplify IT Management for the Netherlands’ Child Protective Services Agency

Jeugdzorg Gelderland logo

Jeugdzorg Gelderland

Jeugdzorg Gelderland is an independent institution that provides child protection and juvenile rehabilitation services in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. The agency works with families with complex problems and with children who are threatened in their development or exhibiting criminal behavior. Hans-Cees Speel is the ICT Manager for Jeugdzorg Gelderland. He and his team of 12 IT professionals are responsible for supporting all data center locations, phone systems, servers, storage, and network infrastructure for the agency’s 600 healthcare service workers.

IT Challenges

Jeugdzorg Gelderland had been relying on 64 HP SAS disks for central storage, with a mix of auxiliary systems at each of its nine office locations. The entire environment had been virtualized using VMware vSphere. “We run a lot of resource-intensive applications, including Microsoft Exchange,” noted Speel. “Our HP systems were getting old and they weren't very fast. The environment was also extremely complex — we had to work with LUNs and tackle all kinds of difficult ICT challenges that made it hard to manage and upgrade the environment. As a result, our IT team had to work a lot of weekends to keep everything running and up to date.”

Why Tintri?

Speel and his team started the search for a new storage platform earlier this year. They began by looking at solutions from the traditional SAN vendors, as well as several of the newer converged systems. “We first encountered Tintri at the Storage Expo event in Utrecht two years ago,” Speel recalled. “We weren't ready to purchase new infrastructure at that point, but we knew it was something we wanted to consider for our next upgrade. The main reason we chose Tintri was because it’s a lot faster than our previous systems. Tintri’s price performance ratio is quite attractive and the systems are much easier to manage.”

Working with Tintri Partner Wcare

Jeugdzorg Gelderland enlisted the help of Tintri partner Wcare ICT during the purchase and deployment of the Tintri VMstore systems. Wcare is an ICT solution provider company with a strong focus on storage, virtualization, and networking solutions. In addition to providing consultancy and product delivery, Wcare also offers solution support. Jeugdzorg’s IT team approached Wcare to discuss innovative storage solutions that could support a diversity of server workloads, including Citrix, fileservers, database servers, and application servers. The new storage environment should also be ready to run new, yet unknown, server application workloads. Jeugdzorg had approached other vendors for a new solution, but they either came back with proposals for traditional SANs or with systems that didn’t fit the bill

Wcare, however, advised Jeugdzorg to choose the Tintri VMstore T820 appliance. “We agreed that the Tintri VM-aware systems would be the perfect fit for our needs. Tintri figures out what services need fast storage. Other systems in the same price range do not, as far as we could find. So they also have SSD disks, but you need to define yourself what services need fast disks. So more administration involving senior staff is needed. These systems include a lot of converged storage: which means you buy one box with CPU and RAM and storage in a specific mix. We did not want that. We want to be able to add cpu or RAM when needed, without touching the storage component. Tintri is more flexible in that respect”, noted Speel. “Wcare also helped us determine what switches to get. Since Tintri is so fast, you need to make sure that you have switches that won’t slow everything down. The HP Procurve Switches were a great choice for the faster Tintri systems.”

Jeugdzorg Gelderland purchased a Tintri T820 12 TB appliance with five years of support. Speel was positively surprised about the ease of management of the solution. “It simply worked from day one,” he replied. “After adding 10Gbit modules to the Procurve Switches, implementation of the T820 turned out to be a piece of cake.”

Moving to a New Datacenter

Jeugdzorg Gelderland recently relocated all of its IT infrastructure from an office building to a specialized data center in the Netherlands. “Although our data center is not very big, it is still quite complex,” Speel said. “We bought the new Tintri storage systems before the move, and then relocated everything to the new data center.”

The Tintri deployment was fast and very simple, according to Speel. “We used the Tintri VMstore as a movable storage system,” he explained. “We brought the new system to the old data center, moved all of our data on to it, insured it, put it the car, and drove it over to the new data center. It was the simplest migration we have ever done. The small form factor of the Tintri VMstore systems also enabled us to save a lot of datacenter space. Our previous system filled about 6U, but the Tintri system only takes 4U. As a result, our ongoing power usage and costs are much lower now.”

Faster Upgrades

“Tintri is much faster than our previous HP systems,” noted Speel. “That means that every project we do takes far less time. It also means that all of our big upgrades, including moving to newer versions of VMware vSphere, are less of a problem. Our IT team used to spend hours on the weekends performing upgrades. By moving to Tintri, we have eliminated three weeks of IT management time per year. Tintri is a good asset to have in an ICT department where you want to do a lot of projects and work quickly.”

Using Tintri Global Center to Lower OpEx

Jeugdzorg Gelderland is now using Tintri Global Center to manage its storage environment. “We support IT infrastructure at nine different locations,” Speel said. “Sometimes we have trouble moving data between locations, but Tintri is never the cause. It was always difficult to identify bottlenecks with our previous systems. With Tintri Global Center, it’s easy to see where any problems are. By looking at the console, we can determine if it's the application, the network, or the disks. Because of its management simplicity and visibility, our ICT management costs are a lot lower with Tintri.”

Creating a Future-Proof Environment

“We currently have only one Tintri system,” noted Speel. “That’s enough capacity for our current needs, but when we grow or merge with another company, we know we will have to expand. Plus, newer software is always more resource-dependent. Tintri gives me peace of mind. I don’t have to think twice about running new applications anymore because I know I have fast storage. Tintri makes our IT environment much more versatile.”


Highlights

Industry

Child Protection Services

Geography

Gelderland, Netherlands

Virtualization environment

VMware vSphere

Traditional storage: HP

VM profile

MS Exchange, healthcare service and other specialty applications

Key challenges

Obtaining inadequate performance from aging storage infrastructure

Tintri solution

Tintri VMstore™ T820 system

Primary use case

All MS Exchange workloads and specialty applications have been migrated to the Tintri systems

Business benefits

Obtained higher performing storage solution for resource-intensive applications

Simplified VMware vSphere upgrades

Eliminated 3 weeks per year of administrative overhead

Reduced OpEx with better visibility into storage environment

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