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Statistics Finland XIV case study

Statistics Finland XIV case study

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Published by: IBM India Smarter Computing on Nov 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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IBMXIV Storage System
Case Study
Statistics Finland countson IBMXIV for large-scale decision support
Government organization finds XIV performanceand resilience enable high service levels at low cost 
To provide the government withaccurate information, Statistics Finlandanalyzes huge amounts of data usingSAS. Its existing storage was unableto maintain service levels as datavolumes grew.
Deployed one full-rack IBM
Storage System in a mixed storageenvironment fully virtualized byIBMSAN Volume Controller.
Delivers high performance forcomplex batch runs
Performs reliably with huge data sets
Simplifies management and scalabilitywith thin provisioning
Founded in 1865 and headquartered in Helsinki, Statistics Finlandproduces the vast majority of official statistics for the Finnish govern-ment and is a significant international player in the field of statistics.Its analyses, performed by a staff of more than 1,000 professional stat-isticians in various fields, support the Finnish Government in makingdecisions and keeping its citizens informed.Each year, Statistics Finland collects, stores, and analyzes enormousquantities of data on all aspects of Finnish society. The data, held in Microsoft
SQL Server and Sybase databases, is analyzed using SASsoftware. The huge scale of the data sets and complexity of the analyti-cal tasks make real-time transaction processing impractical, so StatisticsFinland uses batch processes. The organization requires a storageinfrastructure capable of delivering high I/O speeds to enable itsservers to process the data as quickly as possible. Reliability is also crit-ical, because even a minor failure in the storage infrastructure halfway through a batch run may cause the whole process to be repeated.“We were using IBMSAN Volume Controller to virtualize severalstorage systems—including IBMSystem Storage
DS4300,IBMEnterprise Storage Server
and HP EVA hardware—and wererunning out of capacity,” explains Tenho Vastaranta, Manager of ITDevelopment at Statistics Finland. “We wanted to extend our existinginfrastructure, which meant choosing a new platform that woulddeliver the performance and reliability we needed while giving the best value for taxpayers’ money. We also sought to manage our whole stor-age landscape more effectively, so that we could scale without increas-ing management complexity.”
IBMXIV Storage System
Case Study
IBMSolution Components
Power Systems™
520 Express
IBMSystem Storage
Storage System
5.3 and 6.1
IBMSystem Storage SAN VolumeController
Storage Manager
Business Partner
“To support our complex,large-scale statistical analytics processes, our  storage infrastructuremust deliver high levels of I/O performance and high reliability, and theunique XIV architecturedelivers on both counts.” 
—Tenho Vastaranta, Manager of ITDevelopment, Statistics Finland
Analyze that
 Working with the Finnish government’s central procurement organiza-tion, Hansel, the Statistics Finland IT team short-listed the IBMXIV Storage System and HP EVA 8400.“We conducted tests comparing IBMXIV and HP EVA—includingI/O analytics, load monitoring over a two-week period, and scalability tests,” says Vastaranta. “Both systems proved capable of meeting ourrequirements but we chose the XIV offering due to price. It was con-siderably more cost-effective—it included licenses for integrating withour IBMSAN Volume Controller environment, whereas the HP offer-ing didn’t.”Konehuone, a Finnish IBMBusiness Partner, helped install and config-ure the new XIV system—a single full rack (79 TB). “The implementa-tion went very smoothly: Konehuone completed the configuration andtesting at their own premises and then moved the IBMXIV into ourdata center,” comments Vastaranta. “From our point of view, theimplementation took just two days, with very little disruption.”
Top-notch performance and resilience
 The XIV system is now an integral part of the organization’s virtual-ized storage infrastructure, which is managed by IBMSAN VolumeController. The storage environment is accessed by some 40 physicalservers, including IBMPower Systems™ servers running AIX
and asix-node VMware cluster running more than 100 virtual Microsoft Windows
and Linux
servers.IBMXIV is used for the organization’s most critical application needs:the Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase databases that support the SASstatistical analysis system, as well as their Teamware e-mail application, with approximately 1,200 mailboxes. Statistics Finland runs IBMTivoliStorage Manager to handle data backup and protection across all cor-porate systems.“To support our complex, large-scale statistical analytics processes, ourstorage infrastructure must deliver high levels of I/O performance andhigh reliability, and the unique XIV architecture delivers on bothcounts,” comments Vastaranta. “It reads and writes data in parallelacross multiple disks, dramatically increasing performance, and storescopies of each data segment on different modules, ensuring resilienceeven if individual disks fail.”
IBMXIV Storage System
Case Study
IT Environment
Operating systems
Microsoft Windows Server 2003and 2008
Sun Solaris 10
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 2008
Sybase V15
SAS V8 and V9
Teamware 7.4 (email)
 VMware ESX Server 4.0
“For a solution that delivers such highlevels of performanceand reliability, the XIV system is very cost effective, especially whencompared to traditional  Fibre Channel disk storage solutions.” 
—Tenho Vastaranta, Manager of ITDevelopment, Statistics Finland
Non-disruptive terabyte growth
 With Statistics Finland’s data sets growing all the time, the organiza-tion is enabling non-disruptive capacity growth in its storage landscapeby leveraging XIV thin provisioning capabilities.“We are using XIV thin provisioning to create logical storage volumesthat are larger than our current physical capacity,” says Vastaranta.“This lets us plan for future growth and buy the disks only when weactually need them. We then simply add the new hardware to the exist-ing logical volumes—with no need to take existing systems offline andreconfigure them. This ensures us of avoiding business disruption inthe future.”
Cost effective and reliable
 The next step for Statistics Finland is to implement XIV remote mir-roring to enable faster recovery in the event of a disaster.“The XIV is an extremely reliable system: since the go-live fourmonths ago, we haven’t had a single issue with it,” says Vastaranta.“Nevertheless, we seek to enhance our overall disaster recovery capa-bilities, and the XIV has many powerful features in this area that weare keen to put into use.” Vastaranta concludes: “We are just starting out with the XIV platform,so it’s difficult to put an exact value on its contribution to our storagearchitecture at this stage. However, for a solution that delivers suchhigh levels of performance and reliability, the XIV system is very costeffective, especially when compared to traditional Fibre Channel disk storage solutions. As we gain more experience with the XIV platformand its more advanced features, we expect its benefits will become evenmore evident—and prove to the entire organization that XIV is theright storage platform for the future of Statistics Finland.”

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