OIT Collaborates with Dell Technologies to Update the UTSA Storage Hardware

September 29, 2017

(A Dell Compellent Storage.)

Written By: Danicia Steele, Communications Specialist

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recently completed a storage hardware update, replacing two storage arrays that hold more than 600 of the virtual servers that OIT maintains. A storage array is a data storage system used to store and maintain the campus data.  

The original storage arrays had approximately 500 TB of usable capacity whereas the new arrays now have about 1PB of capacity. The new storage arrays rely heavily upon Solid-State-Drive (SSD) technology for providing the necessary disk performance that databases, video streaming, and other high performance and low-latency services require.

OIT conducted the upgrade within a month causing no interruptions to users. The update was managed by Enterprise System Engineer Steven Stewart and OIT’s Manager of System Infrastructure Services Ryan D. Key.

During this process, OIT worked with Dell Technologies to replace two Dell Compellent Storage arrays that were cost prohibitive from a maintenance and support perspective, to keep them under warranty. 

The storage arrays are located in the John Peace Library’s (JPL’s) Data Center at the UTSA Main Campus and at the Downtown Campus in the Frio Street Data Center. The array located at the Downtown Campus is used to store copies of the virtual servers for disaster recovery purposes.

“What was eye-opening was how little physical space the new storage arrays required, it was one thing to see it on paper but entirely different when you saw the finished racked solution,” Key stated. “The old array in the JPL took a rack and a half of disks; the new array only takes a quarter of one rack!”

Stewart also stated how “the new Compellent floor space reduced the power and cooling requirements by over three quarters.”

A brand new Dell Compellent Storage array was also implemented for Shamu, UTSA's high-performance computational cluster. The cluster is maintained by OIT’s Research Computing Support Group and currently manages data for over 300 users. With the implementation of the new storage arrays, OIT has doubled the amount of storage capacity available to support the university’s virtual server and research needs.