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Inefficiencies within an organization can hinder progress toward an end goal. For Fulton County Schools (FCS), those inefficiencies were three-fold. First, due to the poor performance of critical systems, key tasks took up to 45 minutes to complete. Secondly, traditional SAN solutions caused excessive latency during heavy usage. Finally, in terms of the cost to improve performance, a hardware refresh and expansion would be quite expensive. That’s why FCS turned to VMware and the power of vSAN to improve performance while saving the school system at least 50% of their infrastructure cost. The benefits speak for themselves.

The Power of vSAN

After considering many options to solve a compounded problem, FCS decided to give vSAN a shot. vSAN was the only available solution that had the performance horsepower to handle the large student information system and all of its data, while still meeting their budget and hitting their IT goals. In just two weeks, FCS was able to roll out this new environment for the student information system.

Immediately, Kenny Wilder, director of network infrastructure at FCS, knew it was a success. Since vSAN is seamlessly embedded within VMware hypervisor, extra network hops are eliminated, which reduces latency and response time for users. “Using VMware, we reduced 21 physical servers down to a three-node cluster with local storage based on [vSAN],” says Wilder. “It exponentially increased performance.”

The power of vSAN doesn’t stop there, either. FCS can use any certified server platform or disk to deploy vSAN, which helps the school system avoid hardware lock-in and save money by using commodity servers. While FCS currently has two VMware clusters on vSAN—one hybrid cluster and another all-flash cluster—each powers their database and another line of business application workloads for the student information system.

In addition to vSAN, FCS also relies on vRealize Operations and Log Insight, NSX, vCloud Air, AirWatch and Horizon Standard to continue improving its infrastructure and operations. AirWatch, in particular, helps FCS successfully manage, track and secure Apple, Windows and Chrome devices used by students as part of their forward-thinking educational initiatives around device accessibility. 

Headed Toward the Future with vSAN

With the overwhelming success of moving their student information system to VMware’s software-defined hyperconverged insfrastructure (HCI) solution, FCS and other organizations like it can look forward to migrating other systems. For FCS, that’s only the first step, as the school system is taking the software-defined approach to their data center, too. “Moving toward a Software Defined Data Center will help us improve our security, take advantage of the cloud and respond more rapidly to the needs of our teachers, students, staff and parents,” says Wilder.

Across industries, organizations can take advantage of vSAN’s comprehensive and scalable HCI storage solution that adapts to evolving needs and offers significant cost savings. For more on how vSAN can work in your own environment, stay tuned to the Virtual Blocks Blog.