An Interview with Sammy Bogaert, Senior Systems Administrator, Delen Private Bank
We recently interviewed Sammy Bogaert, Senior Systems Administrator at Delen Private Bank, to ask about his company’s Nutanix implementation and to see what he has planned for .NEXT this year. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.
Q. Can you tell me a little about Delen Private Bank and your role in the company?
Delen Private Bank was founded in 1936. We specialize in private wealth management and stockbroking services for our international clients. As an IT Team, we develop all of our apps in-house. Our group of Sys Admins is responsible for all of our storage infrastructure, servers, hypervisors, and Microsoft platforms.
Q. What IT challenges were you facing before you moved to Nutanix?
We were relying on a legacy, 3-tier IT environment with several monolithic block storage systems. We were experiencing all of the traditional pain points of managing separate SANS, virtualization elements, Fibre Channel switches, and storage systems. It always required a lot of management and effort to keep everything running and provision new storage and VMs. Since our environment is 100% virtualized, we were looking for a better solution that would enable our storage and virtualization teams to become one.
Q. Can you tell us about your Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution?
We purchased our first Nutanix NX-7000 series system 3 years for our VDI environment. We are standardized on Virtual Desktops for all our user so The Nutanix hyperconverged platform was the ideal choice for our VDI deployment. After seeing how well the NX-7000 series system worked for that environment, we decided to implement a Nutanix NX-3000 system for our general purpose workloads. The performance difference between our legacy storage system and the NX-3000 platform was staggering.
We then added a Nutanix NX-9000 all-flash system for our most demanding workloads, including our MS SQL server databases and custom in-house banking applications. The Nutanix systems were deployed at three datacenters–two are active centers and one is for DR. We are managing quite a large number of different Nutanix nodes but the scale-out model of Nutanix makes this as easy as managing just a few nodes.
Q. What were some of the benefits you obtained by moving to Nutanix?
The biggest benefit of the hyperconverged Nutanix platform is its management simplicity. Working with traditional storage platforms is always difficult. It takes a lot of man-hours to provision all of the LUNs and keep everything running optimally. Compared to our legacy SAN, it takes just a fraction of the time to manage our Nutanix environment.
We initially looked at upgrading our existing SAN environment to all-flash, but the huge price impact caused us to evaluate alternative solutions. Moving to flash can be an expensive proposition when it’s not done right. When you look at legacy architectures that swap HDDs for flash, it is expensive. But when flash is done right, lower cost SSDs can be used with intelligent software to provide great performance at a lower price point. This is what Nutanix does.
With Nutanix, it was also very easy to upgrade to larger capacity drives. We went from a mix of 400GB and 800GB SSDs to 1.6TB SSDs – and we did it ourselves with just a few instructions provided by Nutanix. This was never possible with a traditional SAN array.
Q. Have you seen a difference between the performance of the hybrid and the all-flash systems?
The performance of our Nutanix hybrid and all-flash systems have been very good. Looking at the Prism console, we are seeing that our all-flash systems provide consistent latencies, averaging around 0.20ms. There are occasional spikes on the hybrid systems that we really don’t see on all-flash. The all-flash systems are fast at all times, no matter what workload you put on them.
Q. What hypervisor are you using?
We are currently using VMware ESXi, but we are evaluating Nutanix AHV as an alternative hypervisor. We did a POC with Citrix XenDesktop on AHV earlier this year. Desktop performance on AHV was very good, and the management was incredibly simple. During the POC process, Nutanix explained the inner workings very well. Compared to the competition, it really set Nutanix apart as a caring partner.
Q. Will you be attending .NEXT in Vienna?
Yes, I will be presenting at two of the .NEXT breakout sessions this year. The first session covers our experience with the Nutanix all-flash systems, and the second one is a ‘best practices’ presentation on how to recover from failures. I think both sessions will be very valuable for attendees, and I’ve attached the abstracts to give you a quick preview. I am looking forward to seeing all of you in Vienna!
.NEXT Session: All Apps All Flash All the Time
Along with mainstream options for virtualization, high performance multicore processors, and software-defined infrastructure, flash is one of the most disruptive technologies in today’s datacenters. With applications pushing the performance boundaries for storage, flash is a must-have technology for every IT environment. Analysts firms (including IDC and 451 Research) have repeatedly called out hyperconverged infrastructure based on a web-scale design as the ideal architecture to utilize flash in the datacenter. Join this session to learn how to design your tier 0/1 database environment with predictable, low latency across the entire dataset. You’ll also hear from Delen Private Bank on how an all-flash solution from Nutanix is able to handle their demanding business-critical workloads in the real world.
.NEXT Session: Fail Fast and Never Again
This unconventional session will feature actual IT managers and datacenter architects who experienced real failures when building and deploying hyperconverged environments – but lived to tell about them. Learn what mistakes to avoid, how to quickly recover from mishaps, and how to successfully build a reliable infrastructure using Nutanix.
Come visit us at .NEXT
Nutanix .NEXT is scheduled for November 8-10, 2016 at the Hilton Vienna, Austria. For more information and to register for the user conference, please visit: www.nutanix.com/next-user-conference/
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