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Real Estate Council of Alberta selects Tintri Storage

Real Estate Council of Alberta

Upgrade to Tintri All-Flash Arrays Improves Visibility
and Manageability, with a 4.2x Average Increase in
Application Performance

IT Challenges

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is the independent governing authority that sets, regulates, and enforces standards for Alberta's real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage, and real estate appraisal industries. RECA’s mandate is to protect consumers, and to provide services that enhance and improve the real estate industry and the business of industry professionals.

RECA’s IT Manager, Stefan Myroniuk, manages the in-house support team, and ensures that all infrastructure systems fulfill the company’s business needs.

“We have two sites that are connected—our main office here in Calgary and the ViaWest data center,” Myroniuk reported. “We had deficiencies in our network design and we were experiencing several pain points with our backup systems competing with other business critical application traffic. The quality of service of our network was becoming unmanageable.”

RECA was relying on a mix of IT infrastructure solutions, including several five-year old Nimble storage arrays. “Traditional storage can be complex, and our organization heavily relied on contractors to manage our storage systems,” Myroniuk said. “Prior to Tintri, we had used more than 90% of our capacity and I knew that we would be hitting a wall in a few months.”

Solution

Myroniuk started the search for new IT solutions at VMworld 2016. “Our goal was to look at our infrastructure and network design holistically to select better technology both here at the office and the hosted data centre,” he said. “I visited the Tintri booth, and also looked at the other solutions such as Simplivity, Nutanix, Nimble, IBM, Lenovo, Datrium and Cisco. My goal was to find an innovative solution that was easier to manage, so our organization would not have to rely on contractors for storage management and disaster recovery.”

Myroniuk conducted a total cost of ownership analysis on several of the proposed options, and held roundtable discussions with the IT team to decide on the right solution. “The concept of a no-LUN, VM-aware technology was very appealing to all of us,” noted Myroniuk. “The combination of Tintri's innovative technology, cost, value proposition, and partnership with Charter Telecom, it was clear that Tintri was the best-fit solution. This is a 5-year investment for our organization. We needed to feel confident that we had the right people and partnerships to support these systems for the next 5 years. Our team decided to move forward with Tintri’s proposal and purchase the all-flash arrays.”

RECA purchased its first two Tintri systems in January 2017. With the help of Tintri and Charter Telecom, they deployed one of the two T5040s at the company’s main office in Calgary, and the other at the hosted co-location center.

Results

Fast Deployment

The initial Tintri deployment was intuitive, according to Myroniuk. “The biggest technical challenge during the implementation was with the new network design,” he explained. “The Tintri arrays were straightforward to configure and update. The only deployment issue we had deal with was integrating the AppFabric network technology into our existing network. Even though it wasn’t a storage issue, the Tintri support team helped us determine and resolve a networking issue.”

Management Simplicity

“Tintri is much more intuitive to manage than traditional storage”, Myroniuk reported. “Tintri Global Center enables us to observe both arrays from one central point and create service groups with different backup policies for each environment. Our Tintri systems allows for easy provisioning in vcenter and can be managed by anyone on our IT team. For me as an IT manager, that’s a big win.”

4.2x Performance Increase for Customer Portal

The two Tintri systems are now being used for RECA’s large customer portal that runs on Microsoft SharePoint. They are also using Tintri for the agency’s Microsoft SQL applications, CRM Dynamics, VMware Horizon virtual desktops, domain controllers, load balancers, and Palo Alto firewall. “Our applications were not running very efficiently,” Myroniuk admitted. “After resolving our network issues and moving all of our VMs from the Nimble to the Tintri, we started seeing a lot of performance gains, including a 4.2x performance increase on our customer portal. This is a big benefit for all of our customers, especially the ones that access our applications from mobile devices.”

5x Faster Veeam Backups

RECA is also running its Veeam backup software on Tintri. “Veeam used to put a high workload on our network,” Myroniuk explained. “We could only run Veeam backups during off hours, because it would adversely affect application performance. We can now run Veeam during regular business hours, 5x faster, without impacting our users. Switching to Tintri was a big plus for our team as well as our customers.”

Enabling Disaster Recovery and Testing Failover

“We are replicating all business critical data between our two sites hourly,” Myroniuk shared. “We were debating whether we wanted to purchase VMware’s Site Recovery Manager, but we decided to leverage the built-in replication engine within the Tintri appliance between both sites. Keeping it simple was a good call.”

“We haven't done a full hard fail-over test yet, but we've done several spot tests that have worked very well,” said Myroniuk. “In case of a disaster, we will be able to perform a few actions on the data center array, and quickly restore our entire site from one location to the other. The Tintri systems provide us with a visible Recovery Point Objective, and the protection policies are the foundation of our disaster recovery plan.”

Future Plans

RECA will be moving from its existing headquarters location to a new building in a few months. “We will perform a fail-over to the Tintri at our co-location site to facilitate the move. Once, we have failed-over, we will physically move all of our HQ infrastructure to the new building, over a weekend. Once we’re done with the move, our plan is to Storage vMotion services back to the new office site. We are leveraging our metro availability with two sites for our backup strategy. I'd like to extend that to the cloud as our next step. It should be easy to do with Tintri, using Tintri’s Enterprise Cloud platform.”

Standardizing on Tintri

“Our policy is to have business critical information running on the Tintri systems,” Myroniuk said. “We will continue to use traditional storage for development environments and noncritical workloads. We don't carry an enterprise support contract on those storage systems.”

“The other vendors’ solutions simply do not match Tintri’s feature set,” Myroniuk concluded. “The advantage of VM-aware storage for the automation, visibility, and granular management of every virtual machine is hard to beat. By moving to Tintri, our staff can now focus on more valuable projects that directly support our business, vs. re-engineering the plumbing every time a change is required.”


Highlights

Industry

Regulator: Real Estate Authority

Geography

Calgary, Canada

Virtualization environment

VMware vSphere

VMware Horizon View

Traditional Storage: Nimble

Key challenges

Aging NetApp storage systems were due for a refresh

Existing systems were hard to manage and did not provide enough performance for the customer portal and other business applications

Tintri solution

Tintri VMstore all-flash arrays

Primary use case

Desktop and Server Virtualization - VMware; Microsoft SQL, CRM, and SharePoint

Business benefits

• Obtained a 4.2x performance boost for customer portal

• Increased speed of Veeam backups by 5x

• Simplified storage management

• Eliminated the need for third-party storage specialists

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