As more construction and engineering companies experience an explosion of data growth 3D modeling software and from Building Information Models (BIM), some are leaving the old mentality behind and embracing IT modernization to handle the growing data deluge and cybersecurity threats lest they hamper timetable-sensitive operations.
Los Angeles-based structural engineering firm, VCA Consultants, is one such company making the move to modernize its IT infrastructure that was straining from the exploding data growth generated from the BIM and 3D modeling programs it currently uses. To make this move to protect and manage its data, earlier this month, VCA Consultants announced that it has adopted innovative hybrid storage solutions from Reduxio Systems, an IT and computer storage company.
David Briski, IT Manager, VCA Consultants and Mike Grandinetti, VP, Marketing, Reduxio in an interview with Techseen share their thoughts on the recent collaboration and explain how hybrid storage can help improve operational efficiencies.
Techseen: What are flash storage solutions and how is it more advantageous?
Grandinetti: Flash memory is an electronic (solid-state) form of non-volatile computer storage medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. The main type of flash memory for an SSD is named after the NAND logic gates. The NAND type operates primarily in solid-state drives (those produced in 2009 or later) and similar products, for general storage and transfer of data. NAND-type flash memory may be written and read in blocks (or pages) which are generally much smaller than the entire device. They offer vastly superior levels of performance to the more traditional mechanical spinning disk form of storage.
Techseen: VCA has adopted your hybrid storage solutions to organize its IT environment. Why do you think that the hybrid approach is most suited for the organization?
Grandinetti: Hybrid solutions provide any organization with the ability to optimize the availability of their data and cost of their data storage. “Hot”, or frequently accessed data, is stored on solid state media (SSD), which ensures very fast access, while less critical data is stored on more traditional spinning disks, which is a less expensive form of storage media.
The beauty of the Reduxio system is that we are able to offer flash performance at disk-based pricing using unique storage tiering and in-line, in-memory deduplication and compression. We are able to do this as our storage system – the Reduxio HX550 – is a hybrid flash array built from the ground up for solid-state, instead of bolting SSD onto a traditional array. The SSD is not limited to usage as a cache; instead, all SSDs and HDDs make up the usable capacity, with Reduxio’s unique operating system continually and automatically moving data between the tiers.
We believe that storage tiering is a great way to balance high performance and cost efficiency. Understandably so, few organizations have the need—or the money—to run all of their workloads on SSD, so regardless of its improving economics, SSD will continue to share the stage with spinning disk.
Some storage systems can be up and running extremely quickly – Reduxio’s can be in a matter of 15 minutes after unboxing. Setup procedures are simple, requiring basic information entry such as IP addresses on several start-up screens, and taking less than five minutes. Furthermore, it isn’t a major or costly change when a new system like ours can be managed by existing IT professionals.
Techseen: What made VCA select Reduxio in particular and how will this collaboration help it upscale its productivity?
Briski: We chose Reduxio Systems because their advanced data-handling algorithms allow extreme IOPS performance from RAM and SSDs along with the large storage capacity of traditional spinning disks with deduplication, thus reducing redundant data. This hybrid design keeps it at a reasonable price point for small/medium business vs. an all Flash array, but still provides all the capacity that we should need for the next few years.
Techseen: What are the costs/benefits involved in moving from your previous storage environment to a hybrid storage array?
Briski: Our previous storage environment contains both a traditional all HDD array and an SSD cache assisted HDD array which gives us on average a 10ms latency. The new hybrid array provides sub-microsecond latency with all the storage to handle our needs in a 2Us of rack space. The downside is having yet another stand-alone array that doesn’t interoperate with our other two arrays.
However, an additional benefit that Reduxio brought to the table is its ability to backdate to the second. Its unique methods of deduplication and compression allow it to automatically keep second by second restore points without using very much additional storage, which is useful as another backup independent of our existing backup procedures.
Techseen: What kind of capital goes behind the management and operations of the hybrid architecture?
Grandinetti: Reduxio offers its tiered hybrid storage array as an appliance, which is an integrated stack of industry standard hardware from leading global tech players Inteland Seagate, and our TimeOS enterprise grade storage software, optimized to work together in much the same manner that Apple designs it’s highly integrated Macbooks to work optimally with MAC OS and its iPhones and iPads to work optimally with IOS.
Techseen: What challenges does VCA face due to the explosion of data growth from 3D modeling software and Building Information Models (BIM)?
Briski: The explosion of data growth from 3D modeling software was creating a burden on our storage systems because, on average, the files are 20 times larger than their 2D counterpart. Along with the larger files, a feature of our BIM software creates multiple backups of each file for each user that opens the project. This quickly began to fill our storage arrays. Along with capacity issues, access and response time to these large files increased, slowing down our workflow and productivity.
Techseen: Given the fact that Asian markets are attracting many global players, do you see that there is a data outburst in the region?
Grandinetti: With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, clickstream data, as well as the explosive growth of social channels like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, WeChat, and FaceBook, etc, there is an exponential explosion of data across the entire world.