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Thomas Nelson

Thomas Nelson Community College Chooses Nutanix Enterprise Cloud

COMPANY

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) is a two-year college located in Virginia with one campus located in Hampton and another in James City County near Williamsburg.

INDUSTRY

Higher Education

BUSINESS NEEDS

TNCC’s IT team was spending too much time managing the aging NetApp storage systems and Dell servers. They were also running out of server and storage capacity.

SOLUTION

Purchased two Nutanix NX-8035 G4 systems

BENEFITS

  • Reduced infrastructure management from one hour each day to zero
  • Obtained >10x better performance for all SQL databases
  • Gained the ability to perform non-disruptive upgrades

CHALLENGE

TNCC’s network services group manages all of the storage, network, server, and networking infrastructure. Workloads used by the college’s faculty and staff consist of several SQL-heavy database applications, including the SolarWinds IT management solution, and Adobe Live, a resource-intensive solution for video recordings and online class resources. Prior to Nutanix, TNCC’s IT infrastructure included three Dell 815 servers and several aging NetApp storage systems. When they started running low on storage and server capacity, the IT team started investigating new infrastructure options.

SOLUTION

TNCC first heard about Nutanix two years ago. “Our IT partner, Slate Consulting, told us about the industry shift towards hyperconvergence,” said Nick Moberg, network analyst at TNCC. “They suggested we keep an eye on Nutanix, because they were doing some really interesting things with their hyperconverged technology. When Slate received a demo unit a few months later, they asked us to come out to Richmond, Virginia to take a look at the Nutanix system in action. We were extremely impressed with the simplicity of management, and above all else, the disk I/O. The Nutanix systems absolutely floored me. They were much faster than anything we’ve seen running over NFS or iSCSI.”

RESULTS

Management Simplicity

“Our IT team was spending over an hour each day managing the Dell and NetApp environment,” Moberg said. “We’d log in each morning to verify that we didn’t have any resource contentions. A lot of time and effort had to be dedicated to that environment to make sure we didn’t run into any outages. Management takes no time at all with Nutanix. I love the automatic notifications we get from Nutanix Prism on the general health of our hardware, since we didn’t have anything like that in our previous environment. With Nutanix, I still check my emails each morning to make sure we haven’t received any alerts, but there really is no need to do it that often because the systems are so reliable.”

Better Performance

“Performance on the Nutanix systems has been phenomenal—especially the disk I/O,” Moberg reported. “All of our SQL-based applications are performing easily 10 times faster, probably much more than that. Our end users have definitely noticed a huge difference in performance on every database server.”

Seamless Upgrades

TNCC recently performed an upgrade of its Nutanix systems. “The entire upgrade process was completely seamless,” said Moberg. “The steps were very intuitive and simple to understand. The best part is that we were able to upgrade everything without any downtime—it didn’t impact our end users, and Nutanix never skipped a beat.”

NEXT STEPS

“We haven’t reduced our datacenter footprint yet, since we took all of our older hardware and rolled it over into our existing VDI environment,” Moberg shared. “I would love to be able to replace that VDI environment with Nutanix in the near future. We’re also considering the option of replacing VMware vSphere with AHV, the Nutanix hypervisor. We’re currently focused on our server infrastructure and DR site with Nutanix, but once we’re finished with that project, I can definitely see us switching from VMware to AHV. Moving to Nutanix has truly been a blessing for our organization,” concluded Moberg.

“We were extremely impressed with the simplicity of management, and above all else, the disk I/O. The Nutanix systems absolutely floored me. They were much faster than anything we’ve seen running over NFS or iSCSI.”

– Nick Moberg, Network Analyst, Thomas Nelson Community College