IT Moving to SSD for Robust Apps

Companies use solid-state storage to boost the performance of high-transaction databases, enterprise apps and virtualized systems.

Despite its high price tag, solid-state storage technology is increasingly becoming a viable option for large and midsize companies looking to ease bottlenecks caused by high-transaction databases, virtualized systems and other I/O-intensive applications.

Tucson Electric Power, for example, used Performance Acceleration Module flash cards from NetApp to significantly boost the performance of its PeopleSoft and Oracle customer care and billing reporting systems, said Tony Edlebrock, senior systems administrator at the Arizona utility.

Edlebrock credits the flash technology with cutting the length of nightly Oracle and PeopleSoft batch processes in half, from eight to 12 hours to four to six hours.

In addition to using flash cards on the front end of all of its PeopleSoft and Oracle tools, the utility is also using the technology as front-end cache for most of its 500 VMware virtual machines as well as its GIS mapping systems and the databases used to manage power outages.

Chris Rima, supervisor of IT infrastructure systems at Tucson Electric, a subsidiary of UniSource Energy, suggested that, because SSD cards are so expensive, IT managers should use them for multiple purposes, not just a single task. He said Tucson Electric paid $30,000 for each of its six 40TB-60TB NAND flash cards.

Rima added that the company is now in the process of deciding whether to purchase SSD storage arrays from Nimbus Systems some time next year.

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