This post, based on an in-depth Q&A session with Linemaster Switch IT manager Keith Worthington, is part of an ongoing series highlighting feedback from real Reduxio customers.
Mike Grandinetti (MG): Tell us a bit about Linemaster Switch Corporation’s business.
Keith Worthington (KW): Linemaster Switch is a manufacturing company located in Woodstock, CT. We specialize in the custom design and manufacturing of both medical and industrial foot controls. Our design, manufacture and support staff is comprised of about 175 people.
MG: Can you describe your IT infrastructure?
KW: Last year was very busy for the IT department as Linemaster completed a technology refresh of our infrastructure. Currently our network consists of three Brocade user-accessed switches connected to two Brocade core switches. Each user switch is uplinked to the core with two 10GB connections and the cores are interconnected via four 10GB connections. All of the connections to our storage and servers are 10GB as well. We support a mixed deployment of PCs and thin clients with 3 HP DL380 servers for our vSphere environment and another three HP DL380 servers for our VDI. The difference between the two groups is core count, clock speed. Additionally the VDI servers each have Tesla M10 GPU accelerators from nVIDIA. We have a Reduxio HX550 for storage.
MG: What are Linemaster’s biggest data storage and management challenges and how have you prepared for them?
KW: The amount of data continues to grow and users are always demanding better performance. The Reduxio serves up data with really low latency that has noticeably impact on the user experience. I have an e-mail on my desk right now from a user saying that the system was performing well. We are a small team that has to wear many hats. No one gets to be a storage expert. The Reduxio interface is simple enough that we don’t have to be. One of my team members was working from home one night and his five year old asked him “What game is that daddy?”, his response was “It’s not a game, it’s called Reduxio.”
MG: What are Linemaster’s biggest data protection challenges and how have you prepared for them?
KW: Like virtually everyone in the business world today our biggest concern is malware with the ransomware variant at the top of the list. We have a layered approach employing firewalls, a web filter, end point protection and a Security Awareness Training program. Reduxio and the TimeOS gives us another layer in case all of those fail.
MG: What was missing prior to bringing in Reduxio? What role does Reduxio play in addressing your data storage, management and protection challenges?
KW: Reduxio provides a viable recovery option in the event of a successful attack. In today’s business restoring backups over the course of days just isn’t fast enough. If you have the money for a hot DR site good for you but TimeOS is my answer.
MG: What are some of the highlights about Reduxio’s benefits in your environment when it comes to:
a. Refreshing your dev and test environment?
KW: Refreshing either our development or pilot environments used to involve restoring a SQL database backup which took several hours to perform. Now with Reduxio the process takes about 20minutes.
b. Rapid data cloning?
KW: Troubleshooting transient issue. Made possible by the ability to rewind time, change options and reproduce error.
c. Data compression?
KW: Obviously with data compression we don’t require as much raw capacity but with automatic tiering it means even more than that. We are able to keep more data at the higher performing layers. This means that not only is the SSD able to deliver more data but so is the DRAM layer and that is super fast.
d. Eliminating complexity ( eg. managing LUNs)?
KW: When we first set up Reduxio we spent more time discussing what the LUN names would be and how large we would make them. One of my team members who hadn’t been as deeply involved in the evaluation process as another was creating volumes as fast as our infrastructure analyst and I could agree on the name and size. Dale and I finished our deliberations on volumes and when I turned to Jesse and said “let’s build it”, his response was “I just finished”.
MG: What’s next on the horizon?
KW: We recently upgraded to v3.4 of the TimeOS which gave us access to the Reduxio plugin for vSphere as well as NoRestore. Right now we are repurposing our old storage system to use as a target for Reduxio’s NoRestore.
MG: Anything else you want to add?
KW: When we embarked on our refresh last year we had to make some significant architectural decisions: Do we go with hyper converged or do we go a more traditional route. One of the reasons that we choose to proceed with discrete components is that we wanted to have the option to choose best of breed in each area. Right now it doesn’t appear to be anything magical going on in compute. You are just buying clock cycles. There are a few interesting developments in networking but mostly even that is about moving data from point A to point B. In storage however there is a lot going on. Pretty much everything we looked at had the capacity and the performance we needed so we started looking for the secret sauce. In the end Reduxio and the TimeOS blows them all away. This device is just flat out amazing.
Watch the full interview with Keith Worthington:
If you're intrigued by Reduxio's converged storage solution as Keith was, do not hesitate to check it out: