DataCore Software Powers the Virtualization Infrastructure for Ahtna Government Services – Encompassing DataCore Storage Virtualization, VMware for Servers, and Citrix XenDesktops
DataCore Partner J4 Systems Has Implemented a Totally Virtualized Infrastructure Using DataCore, VMware and Citrix in Tandem
SACREMENTO and FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – DataCore Software, a leading provider of software-based virtualization solutions empowering storage, today announced that Ahtna Government Services (“Ahtna”) a wholly owned subsidiary of Ahtna, Incorporated, is reaping the rewards of having embraced a totally virtualized infrastructure using DataCore, VMware and Citrix in tandem. Currently, the virtualized infrastructure consists of a dual license DataCore solution that is physically housed on separately located servers to enhance high-availability, three (3) VMware host servers, approximately 40 Windows servers, and a growing base of Citrix XenDesktops.
“We have been a Citrix shop for some time and we recently decided to do our DataCore and our VMware virtualization implementations at the same time,” states Chris Whitaker, Information Technology Manager, Ahtna Government Services. “The virtualization technologies all work hand-in-hand and they have drastically made our lives easier. The flexibility we have with DataCore powering our IT environment speaks for itself. With DataCore, we can apply storage to any server, any operating system, any piece of hardware, or to any desktop – when and where it is needed.”
One important IT objective made possible by the newly virtualized environment is that the new infrastructure gave Ahtna the opportunity to accelerate putting many new systems into place earlier than was expected since no new hardware capital expenses were necessary. Not having to purchase hardware to complete projects that have been on the “Wish List,” has meant these projects were indeed accomplished. With the virtual infrastructure and the disk space sitting behind DataCore, Ahtna’s IT team did not have to purchase additional hardware to deploy new systems – because anything new is virtualized.
A Very Positive Impact on Operations: Desktop Virtualization and Server Virtualization Made Possible with DataCore
Whitaker comments, “Our goal is to build a non-stop datacenter and with DataCore we have a high-speed, synchronously mirrored, storage infrastructure now deployed at Ahtna along with VMware. Together they work in tandem to ensure a new level of uptime for our business.” Whitaker adds that the mirrored systems have delivered as promised, providing data and VM redundancy. “The SANs do not go down on their own,” he notes. “In fact, during a recent upgrade of DataCore storage virtualization software, the uptime on the server was so high, it was literally off the charts in terms of anything I could calculate.”
The entire production system is run off of the virtualized infrastructure and everyone with the company benefits from it. A particularly mission-critical application to Ahtna is Deltek CostPoint accounting software, which is designed specifically for companies that handle government contracts. The company’s virtualized infrastructure also hosts SharePoint, SQL server, Microsoft Exchange server, Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop servers, as well as another Deltek Time Collection application. In short, everything needed to run the business from an IT perspective is running in the virtualized environment.
Avoiding Painful Hardware Upgrades & Removing the Labor-Intensiveness of SAN Maintenance through Automation
“Disks are expensive and they are not easy to replace. When you have a box that holds five or six disk drives and you need better performing drives than the ones you have, there is no more room to throw additional disks in that box,” explains Whitaker. “So you have to go buy a new box and transfer data to that box. With DataCore, the biggest benefit for us has been not having to upgrade hardware every time we run out of disk space and avoiding the pain associated with those types of transitions. DataCore has had a huge, huge impact in this area. For instance, we have gone from having to replace and upgrade our email server yearly, to being able to just swap in a new, virtual disk when we run out of space.”
Prior to DataCore, there was no storage networking deployed at Ahtna. Eight physical boxes each used local storage. Now, the IT Manager avoids painful hardware upgrades by simply buying a new MSA 60 or MSA 70, putting it on the HP server, and attaching it to DataCore so it is all part of the storage network pool. Today the storage pool is 16 TBs but through the efficiencies of DataCore the system acts as if it has 30 or so TBs. By virtualizing the storage network with DataCore, new disks are easily incorporated and ready to use on any server, anytime, anywhere. “DataCore takes the impacts of downtime and complexity out of maintenance and upgrades as well as prevents your everyday disasters when users run out of their disk space,” notes Whitaker. “Simply being able to move data and VMs from one place to another is a huge benefit for us.”
Whitaker makes it clear that it is disks and their contents that are at the heart of any operation and that DataCore brings much needed value and flexibility to the company’s hardware assets. “Granted, beyond disks there are additional silicon chips for processing and memory to make things work. But without storage, the data and the machine images that they hold, you are dead in the water,” he notes. “DataCore has given us the flexibility to put the storage wherever we need it and to manipulate that storage however we need to.”
Based in West Sacramento, California, Ahtna is a construction company and federal contractor with services that span commissary remodels, port dredging, port security, asbestos removal, ground water clean-up, and much more. Employing around 150 people, the company is also one of the fastest growing small business firms in the United States.
“At J4 Systems, we focus on applying technology toward solving business challenges and stretching IT dollars is essential to improving the bottom line,” explains Danielle Hefner, Marketing Specialist, J4 Systems. “One of the most common ways we’re helping our customers, such as Ahtna, make their IT budgets go farther is through virtualization technologies. By offering cost-effective virtualization solutions for server, desktop and storage, we’re not only using technology that translates into business improvement, we’re also setting the foundation for a fully virtualized environment that allows our customers to maximize the value of their IT infrastructure investments.”
About J4 Systems
For over 16 years, J4 Systems has been a network integrator specializing in providing business technology consulting to deliver a broad range of comprehensive IT services and support. J4 is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, a Cisco Premier Partner, a Citrix Gold Solution Provider, a VMware Enterprise Solution Provider, an HP Business Partner, and a DataCore Software Gold-Level Business Partner. For more, go to www.j4systems.com.
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software develops the storage virtualization software needed to get the highest availability, fastest performance and maximum utilization from storage resources in physical and virtual IT environments. It provides the critical 3rd dimension on which the success of server and desktop virtualization projects hinge, regardless of the models and brands of storage devices used. For more information, call (877) 780-5111 or visit www.datacore.com.
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