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July 30, 2014

How Tegile Systems revitalised Saudi Petroleum’s storage set up

The flash storage specialist has ensured the safety of the global oil giant’s email and intranet data.

By Duncan Macrae

Tegile Systems, a provider of flash-driven storage arrays for virtualised server and virtual desktop environments, has been chosen by the world’s largest producer of crude oil to provide a new storage solution.

Saudi Petroleum Overseas Limited (SPOL), the London office of the national oil company, has implemented Tegile’s HA2100 arrays to consolidate its storage solution, and ensure the safety of its email and intranet data.

Faced with an increasingly complex storage situation which included antiquated technology, contracts coming to end-of-life, unresponsive and inefficient functionality, and complex systems, SPOL needed a storage solution that would combat these challenges while future proofing business critical data. The two primary areas of immediate focus were the email environment and the Energy Infonet knowledge portal that hosts numerous industry reports and data sets which provide business intelligence to the executive teams. The company was also under pressure to migrate its email and intranet data in a timely manner, before contracts ran out and servers were shut down by incumbent providers.

SPOL were exploring its options with a range of other suppliers, however, according to Paul Savvides, systems assistant at SPOL, the team came away from the initial meeting thinking that Tegile was the best technical solution.

Savvides said: "Tegile met all our requirements and at our first meeting the team instilled the confidence in us that they could get the job done efficiently, meeting our expectations within a short period of time. Hosting our intranet data was a high priority as our executives rely on this business intelligence – we needed a fast and reliable storage solution, which we knew Tegile could provide. It hasn’t’ disappointed either, the size and specifications we were advised on fit our needs perfectly."

SPOL implemented two Tegile HA2100 dual controller storage arrays with 48GB of memory and 600GB of SSD each. Each device was tested extensively prior to implementation and SPOL ‘burned them in’ for a full month to ensure a smooth transition. However, it took the company only 72 hours to transfer and secure all email and intranet data sets – resulting in minimal downtime for staff and enabling SPOL to meet its deadline.

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Savvides said: "The storage arrays are coping with everything we throw at them and we are seeing significant return on investment already – everything from cost efficiencies to increased functionality. A primary example is a historical query that continually timed out with our previous storage solution.

"The Tegile boxes completed the query in 12 seconds, which is fantastic. As a result of this we are working to push the boxes to the limit to see exactly what they are capable of – our email and intranet data sets will never get smaller so it is very reassuring to know that the arrays have so much more potential than what we are currently using them for."

SPOL has experienced significant storage functionality across the board with key benefits including:

– Faster and more responsive virtual machines: the Tegile storage arrays complete back-ups significantly faster than previous equipment and the technicians have noticed a huge difference in query response times

– Improved user interface: the user interface is simple and concise, enabling users to quickly learn how to operate the system and get the most from the storage arrays

– Increased functionality: the deduplication and compression functionality, unique to Tegile, ensures smarter use of storage and means that SPOL does not need to purchase as many storage arrays, resulting in cost as well as equipment efficiencies

– Flexible connectivity options: Tegile supports more connectivity environments than its competitors, such as iSCSI, FC and NAS, which provides SPOL with different options and ensures it is not locked into one fixed system

– Cost savings: these come in the form of hardware and resource savings now that the storage system is faster, more responsive and able to hold more data than its predecessor.

Rob Commins, VP of marketing at Tegile Systems, said: "We anticipate that 2014 will be the year that customers start to break away from incumbent vendors and take a really good look at new storage solutions from start-ups, which is what we are seeing here.

"With a number of contracts coming to end of life, SPOL had the opportunity to completely change its storage solution, taking into consideration current challenges as well as future business requirements. Traditionally an increase in performance is achieved by scaling the number of disks or spindles used. However, by leveraging our deduplication and compression functionality, SPOL is using its storage in a smarter way – resulting in cost efficiencies and giving the ability to build on capacity while simultaneously condensing its hardware."

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