Given a rapidly-evolving technology landscape, ever-present cybersecurity risks and underperforming, overly-complex legacy systems, many organizations are turning to VMware Cloud Foundation powered by VMware vSAN to simplify and automate operations. It allows the IT department to deliver high-performing network infrastructure day in, day out.
Such was the case at Xavier University of Louisiana, a HBCU serving 3,000 students and specializing in the STEM fields. The university has weathered its fair share of disasters, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but faced one of its own making when its data center infrastructure lease was set to expire.
After examining several options, the school chose VMware Cloud Foundation to simplify its path to the hybrid cloud. With a full-stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solution, Xavier reduced complexity, risk and cost while also improving performance. “VMware Cloud Foundation was less expensive than other solutions and at the same time, it removed a lot of the administrative burden on us by being able to update and maintain a lot of these things that we would otherwise have to do,” says Thomas Wimprine, a Senior Systems Administrator at Xavier.
The university’s small IT team had previously been swamped by frequent, time-intensive manual updates of servers and laptops that prevented them from undertaking long-term projects. This had the unintended consequence of encouraging shadow IT initiatives in other parts of the organization, making it difficult to manage Xavier’s data protection responsibilities. The university also required more effective disaster recovery capabilities after its data barely survived several large storms.
Taken together, these challenges necessitated a complete infrastructure revamp. “The students and faculty are really looking for something more dynamic, more cloud-based,” says Wimprine.
VMware Cloud Foundation’s full stack HCI powered by VMware vSAN delivered on that wish, offering storage with superior elasticity and performance, as well as self-driving operations, self-service automation and automated lifecycle management. Most importantly, it provided reliable application performance each and every day. “Rather than having silos of storage, we’re able to pull that into vSAN and deliver it that way with consistent and awesome performance,” says Wimprine.
That higher performance came at a lower cost. VMware vSAN enabled Xavier to cut its physical infrastructure by 90 percent—from five racks of legacy hardware to just one half rack of Dell PowerEdge servers. The school further cut expenditures by simplifying operations and reducing risk through the centralized management software and intrinsic security of VMware Cloud Foundation. VMware vSAN offers storage-level encryption for both clusters and data at rest, and the option to implement vSAN stretched clusters provides a backup in the event of a site failure. “Security and data protection are of pivotal importance. Now we can mitigate threats in a better, more programmatic way. We are also better prepared for disaster recovery events with superior SLAs,” says Wimprine.
For Xavier University, choosing VMware Cloud Foundation powered by VMware vSAN was an easy decision, made even easier by the fact that they migrated their entire environment to the new environment of Cloud Foundation in just three weeks. For more information on that migration and on VMware Cloud Foundation in general, check out this case study and hear directly from the Xavier IT staff.