ROCORI School District Implements Robust VDI System with 10X Higher Performance

"I'm able to use ioControl for all of my workloads, including VDI, which greatly simplifies management."

—Brian Michalski,
Technology Director, ROCORI School District

Forward-looking school district consolidates application services on one platform with 10X higher performance.


The Challenge

Solution Focus

  • VMware Horizon View 5.x
  • VMware vSphere
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Exchange

Summary of Benefits

  • 10X performance increase over name-brand competitive solution for the same price
  • 10:1 consolidation over name-brand competitive solution for same IOPS
  • Sufficient capacity and performance to store all their data on the n5, with head room for future growth

In 2010, ROCORI School District installed a SAN to support the transition to a virtual environment. The SAN served the district well for several years, housing data for a wide variety of applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, web servers, and the school administrative software, Skyward.

Then, ROCORI School District Technology Director Brian Michalski decided to deploy virtual desktops in the district’s computer labs. The existing SAN had enough horsepower to support 60-80 virtual desktops in addition to the other district applications, but that was far short of what Michalski anticipated for his future growth. The search began for a storage solution that could support the district’s evolving storage needs, and more specifically, a significantly sized VDI deployment over the next several years.

As Michalski began his process of evaluating the available options, his reseller partner at Blue Net, Inc. recommended he consider ioControl. “As I compared multiple solutions, I discovered that ioControl could deliver enough performance in just 3U to run my VDI implementation and all my other applications,” said Michalski. “A well-known competitor took 16U to provide the number of spindles I needed for just my VDI deployment. The name brand offered 7,500 IOPS for the same price as ioControl’s 100,000 IOPS. That’s over a 10x performance improvement for the same price.”

"A well-known competitor took 16U to provide the number of spindles I needed for just my VDI deployment. The name brand offered 7,500 IOPS for the same price as ioControl's 100,000 IOPS. That's over a 10X performance improvement for the same price."

—Brian Michalski,
Technology Director, ROCORI School DIstrict


The Solution

Michalski began his transition to the new storage solution by moving Microsoft Exchange 2010 from the existing SAN to ioControl. “When I was confident that Exchange was performing well on ioControl, I moved everything in my environment over. I did live migrations with VMware, moving two to three servers at a time. ioControl barely registered the increased load.”

Today, ROCORI School District is using ioControl to accommodate many applications and systems, including its computer lab VDI deployment, Microsoft Exchange 2010, multiple Microsoft SQL Server instances, web servers, VMware vCenter, the Skyward student information system, the district file servers, and its domain controllers. Michalski has re-purposed the SAN as backup storage.

"The price/performance ratio for ioControl is remarkable and is a great fit for the school district."

—Brian Michalski,
Technology Director, ROCORI School DIstrict

“I’m able to use ioControl for all of my workloads, including VDI, which greatly simplifies management,” said Michalski. “With the other solutions I evaluated, I would have run VDI in isolation on the new SAN and everything else on the old SAN, complicating my environment and requiring me to manage multiple storage solutions.”

ioControl’s storage Quality of Service (QoS) feature has given Michalski the confidence to combine intermittently IO-intensive applications such as VDI on the same storage system as other high-priority applications. He assigned “mission critical” policies to the VDI deployment, Exchange Server, SQL Server instances, and Skyward application, allowing Michalski to guarantee the performance necessary to maintain targeted performance levels for all of these applications.

The ROCORI School District will continue to expand its VDI initiative across the district over the next couple of years. In addition, Michalski is planning to support a “bring your own device” solution for high school students. Each device will be required to run VMWare View, with the virtual desktop residing on ioControl. Coupled with the District provided devices, it will bring the total number of virtual desktops to over 1,000.


10X
Faster

Application Performance


With ioControl

 

Without ioControl

 

5:1
Consolidation

Hardware Footprint


With ioControl

3U

Without ioControl

16U

“The ioControl solution gives us plenty of room for growth,” said Michalski.“The raw performance has been impressive, and the storage QoS feature allows me to prioritize my applications as I add more workloads to the SAN. The price/performance ratio for ioControl is remarkable and is a great fit for the school district.”


Summary

ROCORI School District realized the following benefits after implementing the ioControl solution:

  • Over 10X performance of name-brand competitive solution for the same price
  • 10:1 consolidation over name-brand competitive solution for the same IOPS
  • Sufficient capacity and performance to store all their data on the n5, with head room for future growth

About ROCORI School District

 

ROCORI School District is an independent school district located in Cold Springs, Minnesota. The school district's vision is to create a nurturing environment that promotes eagerness to learn. Its mission is to produce world citizens with high ethical standards who are prepared academically, think creatively, and engage successfully in society. 

To do this, the school district promotes excellence for all individuals by meeting the following goals:

  • Confidence to pursue options 
  • Goal-oriented students and staff 
  • High student achievement 
  • Continuous professional growth 

We meet these goals by partnering with our communities and responsibly managing our resources.