Monday, 23 May 2016

AKD Softwoods Triples Performance and Enhances Business Continuity with DataCore

AKD Softwoods has cost-effectively deployed a DataCore high availability storage software solution to enhance business continuity, accelerate database and business application performance while eliminating hardware platform lock-in.
“Risk reduction and business continuity were the key business drivers in our IT Redundancy and Future Proofing project, and DataCore has been critical to achieving this,” explained James Kruss, IT Manager of AKD Softwoods.
AKD Softwoods is a vertically integrated forest products company based in Colac, a regional town in the Australian state of Victoria. The business manages 8,000 hectares of pine plantations across Victoria and South Australia. It is the largest sawmilling company in Victoria, with state of the art timber processing facilities, export operations, a large transport fleet, and approximately 330 employees.

To reduce business risks and enhance business continuity for their 24 x 7 operations, AKD Softwoods decided to implement additional fault resilience capabilities into their IT infrastructure. It was decided that any new technologies selected should also help improve the flexibility of their infrastructure and reduce the overheads of ongoing IT operations.

“Our IT team needs to be largely self-sufficient, because we are located a distance from the closest major city,” Mr. Kruss added. “If a device fails, we could potentially wait 24 hours or more for a replacement part or an external engineer to arrive, and we cannot rely on Internet connectivity for critical applications.”

As a result, Mr Kruss decided to re-architect their IT systems using server and storage virtualisation technologies to eliminate single points of failure and provide high availability with automated failover.

After examining multiple options for future-proofing their IT systems and improving business continuity, AKD Softwoods selected DataCore’s flagship software-defined storage solution. The solution implementation was carried out by the in-house IT team at AKD Softwoods and encompassed the migration of multiple discrete servers to 13 Hyper-V virtualised servers running on a DataCore SANsymphony virtualised storage infrastructure.

Server platforms with on-board storage were retired during the migration, and these were replaced by new commodity hardware platforms with enterprise grade Intel SSD storage, with all storage managed by DataCore SANsymphony.

Business critical databases, financial management, inventory management systems and custom applications were migrated to the new DataCore software-defined storage infrastructure.

Mr Kruss continued, “We could now potentially lose an entire server room full of equipment – without any of our application users losing data or noticing a disruption. We have had zero storage-related downtime since we went live with DataCore. With the combination of DataCore and Hyper-V, we now have a fully redundant architecture.”

“This has also opened the possibility of scheduled maintenance during business hours. If we need to reboot a physical server for any reason, there is now no impact to our end users. SANsymphony flawlessly handles our critically important storage continuity tasks without us needing to lift a finger.”

AKD Softwoods has also seen a tripling of disk I/O performance, which has dramatically improved application and database performance. These improvements have been achieved through the use of enterprise grade SSDs for storage as well as DataCore’s inbuilt performance optimisation technologies, which include sophisticated data caching.

For more information on AKD Softwood’s implementation of DataCore Software, please refer to the case study.

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