Thursday, May 23, 2024

How Storage Hardware is Used by Nationwide, BDO, Vox, Cerium, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Palm Beach County School District, and GKL: Case Studies

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As companies manage more internal and customer information, their data storage hardware becomes a more critical consideration.

By 2025, the world will generate 463 EB of data every day. If businesses hope to capitalize on that, they need to be able to store it without compromising costs, access, and security. What that looks like varies, with technologies ranging from hard disk drives (HDDs) to tape drives and cloud servers.

See below for seven case studies that highlight how leading organizations across various industries are using storage hardware:

1. Vox Media

Media and entertainment company Vox Media has seen considerable growth in their online content. With a rising number of brands under its umbrella and content ranging from videos to podcasts to web articles, Vox manages multiple petabytes (PB) of data with diverse storage needs.

Initially, the company used tape drives to store its backups and a network-attached storage (NAS) staging area to transfer files to these tapes. While tape storage is a reliable, cost-efficient medium, the linear NAS process was time-consuming and couldn’t scale to Vox’s needs. The solution was a hybrid cloud environment.

Vox transitioned to using a hybrid cloud as the middle point between immediate and long-term storage instead of the old NAS system. Backups go to cloud servers before transitioning to cold storage in tape drives. The tape storage provides reliable disaster recovery (DR), while the cloud element keeps up-to-date records and streamlines retrieval.

By combining physical storage hardware with the cloud, Vox gets the best of both worlds. It has offline backups for disaster recovery and security but the convenience and scalability of the cloud.

Industry: Media and entertainment

Storage hardware product: Cloudian HyperStore


  • Accelerated the archiving process by 10x
  • Eliminated manual steps
  • Enabled rapid data transfer while ensuring reliable recovery

2. BDO Unibank

BDO Unibank is a leading bank in the Philippines, and their data storage needs are considerable. As the bank rolls out more digital services to meet modern consumers’ demands, their need for efficient, scalable, and secure storage has grown further.

In the wake of their digital transformation, BDO’s legacy systems quickly became insufficient. Older storage mediums aren’t cost-effective at the volumes the bank needed, and siloes left it with less than 40% storage utilization and even lower throughput. All-flash storage solutions from Huawei provided an answer.

BDO switched to a solid-state drive (SSD) system, providing higher storage densities and faster transfer speeds. The new system enables a bandwidth of 1.3 gigabytes a second (GBps), letting the bank move data between systems in considerable volumes and speed. This higher throughput and efficiency translates to improved user experiences for customers using the bank’s digital solutions.

The new system also uses a storage area network (SAN) and virtualization platform to enable further data sharing. These software-based additions to the new storage hardware let BDO create and move backups of critical files quickly and safely.

Industry: Finance

Storage hardware product: Huawei OceanStor Dorado


  • Storage utilization rose from 40% to 70%
  • Storage efficiency rose to 90%
  • Removed data silos
  • Increased file transfer speeds

3. School District of Palm Beach County

The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida — one of the largest school districts in the U.S. — is benefiting from the latest storage hardware technologies.

With more than a quarter of a million students across 200 schools, the Palm Beach County school district generates vast amounts of data. As digital adoption soared in the district and archived files piled up, they soon realized they needed a more modern solution.

The School District of Palm Beach County now uses all-flash storage across three data centers. By using this flexible and efficient storage medium, the school system substantially reduces their latency and improves their throughput. With those improvements, accessing and moving sensitive student files is easier and less open to breaches.

Strict service-level agreements (SLAs) and advanced encryption ensure this data stays safe while in storage. While the school system doesn’t use cloud backups currently, the system is also flexible enough to accommodate the cloud should they adopt it in the future.

Industry: Education

Storage hardware product: NetApp AFF


  • 20% improvement in latency
  • 30% increase in throughput
  • 50% reduction in time spent on batch processing
  • Stores 4.5 PB of student data across three data centers

4. Children’s Hospital of Alabama

Hospitals have vast amounts of sensitive data that must be accessible but secure. Children’s Hospital of Alabama turned to all-flash storage appliances to meet these needs.

Children’s of Alabama manages more than 5 PB of data and has an annual growth rate of around 500 terabytes (TB). These massive datasets slowed their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which they rely on for patient data recording and sharing. Moving to a flash storage system gave doctors and patients the speed they needed to access these records in real-time.

Health care organizations are some of the most popular cybercrime targets, so security is another concern. The improved performance of the all-flash hardware system helps address this issue. With more service reliability, vulnerabilities from unplanned network downtime are less likely. Faster data transmissions also reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.

Industry: Health care

Storage hardware product: Pure Evergreen Storage


  • Reduced VDI login time from five minutes to 20 seconds
  • Critical patient data now available 24/7
  • Improved security and reliability

5. Cerium Networks

Another sector with high data demands is IT services. However, the fast pace of this market can mean that older equipment quickly becomes outdated. That was the case with Cerium Networks, a global networking, security, and data center solutions provider.

Cerium’s engineering lab used to rely on HDDs, which offered minimal storage capacity. This older solution also couldn’t support the read/write speeds and access latency the team needed to grow as their lab took on new projects. Moving to a scalable flash storage system led to impressive improvements.

The NVMe flash solution offered 57 TB of usable storage per appliance, offering far more space without requiring additional racks in the data center. It also provided far faster speeds, offering 25 GB network connectivity instead of the 1 GB Cerium dealt with before.

A new virtual machine (VM) system offloaded some of its data storage requirements, leading to a 4-to-1 data reduction. With that much space freed, the Cerium engineering lab now has far more room to grow as they start more complex projects.

Industry: IT services

Storage hardware product: Dell PowerStore


  • 4:1 data reduction
  • Reduced latency to two msecs at most
  • Zero outages or downtime on the new system

6. Nationwide

Insurance giant Nationwide has fully embraced digital transformation, leaving it with massive data volumes. Their IT team must manage at least 21 PB of data, a figure that grows by 10% to 15% every year.

Nationwide uses three data centers, two clouds, and thousands of VMs to manage this data. Restoring all of that with its legacy backup system would’ve taken months, leading to considerable losses and business disruption. In light of the rising need for resilience, the insurer switched to a more advanced solution.

The company transitioned to a hybrid file and object solution. The next-gen data management platform provides far faster access to backups and makes it easier to organize files. As a result, Nationwide streamlined both the transition process and their disaster recovery strategy.

The new storage solution also provides a single pane of access for all backups, which previously used 90 different interfaces. When the company had to restore four corrupted files, it took just three minutes, instead of the days it would’ve taken on the legacy system.

Industry: Insurance

Storage hardware product: Cohesity DataProtect and SmartFiles


  • 75% faster migration to the new solution than the last migration
  • Data recovery shortened from days to minutes
  • $2 million in annual savings from reduced IT sprawl

7. GKL Marketing-Marktforschung

The German market research firm GKL Marketing-Marktforschung generates 50 million datasets annually and that volume keeps growing. They also require quick access to provide relevant insights to clients. Meeting those high demands requires a modern storage hardware solution.

GKL uses a hybrid storage solution that combines flash and disk memory. Built-in SAN solutions help balance these systems and provide fast, flexible access, generating a 30 TB backup in 30 minutes. A combination of all-flash storage and tape drives provides easily accessible, reliable backups should the primary system encounter an issue.

Using such an advanced system has given the company near-instant access times. The hybrid solution has also helped GKL minimize their footprint. Increased storage density lets the company meet their high data demands without IT sprawl and the resulting impact on the environment and costs.

Industry: Market research

Storage Hardware Product: Fujitsu


  • Reduced access times to nanoseconds
  • 30% reduction in power consumption
  • Substantially improved uptime and backup reliability

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