Superna Ramps Up Workflows with VMAX3

IT is an integral part of most businesses today. At Superna, IT is our business. We design, test, and certify enterprise software on EMC and VCE infrastructures for other companies around the world—all day, every day. Therefore, we’re constantly exploring the latest and greatest in IT.


We’ve adopted nearly the entire EMC portfolio, including VMAX3, VNX, Isilon, VPLEX, and ViPR. They’re all tied into VCE Vblock Systems in our environment, which is 99% virtualized with VMware. This standardized, virtualized infrastructure has not only helped us grow our business, but also allowed for our IT staff to accomplish more in less time. We are able to spin up a virtual environment, onboard a customer, and start a new project in hours, rather than days, which it was previously taking. This agility is a key differentiator for Superna.

Most recently, we added VMAX3 to our environment. We were able to migrate the entire workload from our previous VMAX arrays to the VMAX3 in a matter of days and immediately saw a positive impact. From consolidation alone, we generated power savings of at least 20-25%.

VMAX3 has also delivered greater performance and flexibility. When testing, our customers require us to push their applications to extremely high thresholds. We test Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Cassandra, plus numerous custom applications for banking, healthcare, security and more. One specific application we tested had very high I/O requirements and needed to run across 80 different virtual machines. With 25% flash drives on VMAX3 and XtremeIO was able to provide more than necessary performance, despite the intensive workload.

VMAX3 has also allowed us to become more efficient. Previously, we chose each array based on a project’s workload; it was a tricky matching exercise.  With VMAX3 and SLO provisioning, we simply click a button instead of going through the process of allocating a physical storage array.

Plus, we have the ability to support multiple workloads, with varying requirements, on the same array. More demanding workloads can be serviced with lots of flash, while those with lesser demands can be supported by lower-cost storage. The SLO provisioning lets us shift an application to a higher or lower tier of storage depending on each project’s objectives.  It’s automatic—we just set it and forget it. This has helped us eliminate a good deal of complexity within our environment, all while saving Superna time and money.

Our visibility into projects is greatly improved.  Previously, we often used command line tools to provision and monitor storage for projects. With VMAX3 and Unisphere, we’ve transitioned our entire test and development team to one central console. We can see exactly what’s happening on each project. Most importantly, we no longer have our test and development people running into each other on a shared system. Now, everyone works at full throttle.

With VMAX3 and the complete EMC portfolio, we can mix and match products to deliver the best solution for each customer’s project requirements. We are able to do this faster due to the efficiencies we gain from standardizing on EMC solutions. The money we’re saving helps fund our investment in the latest technologies. This has all been a solid formula for our success.

About the Author: Andrew MacKay