Australian Rugby Union dumps EMC for Pure Storage all-flash solution

ARU's Nick Payne: "Our data storage requirements have dropped from 52TB to just 10.5TB."

Pure Storage chief technology officer, for Asia Pacific and Japan, Michael Cornwell.

Pure Storage chief technology officer, for Asia Pacific and Japan, Michael Cornwell.

Australian Rugby Union has ditched EMC and deployed a Pure Storage all-flash array as the backbone of a national shared-services environment.

The ARU employs data scientists to analyse game and player videos, which are then made available for sharing across the network via a centralised archive.

Each week can comprise up to eight games and each game can have up to eight camera feeds, generating high levels of video footage for analysis, storage and sharing.

ARU, IT Infrastructure Manager, Nick Payne, told ARN the ARU had reached the end of its maintenance cycle with the previous storage provider (EMC).

"When we went to market Pure stood out as a solution to look at - each one of the solutions had a point of difference," he said.

"However Pure met all of our requirements and, certainly around performance side of things, enabled us to provide services back to the unions at a much more cost effective, rather than looking at point solutions for sponsorship driven products.

He said one of the reasons the ARU moved to a Pure platform was to provide services such as real-time data analytics and real-time telemetry for the players.

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"Because we were at the end of the maintenance cycle, the first thought was commercial.

"It's massively improved all of our database and business applications and we are seeing improvements across the board.

"It's opened up a lot of avenues for us to move into business intelligence.

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"Big Data is a bit of buzz word at the moment. We're not in that space, but its certainly something we are considering.

The ARU have deployed an entry-level array for midsized enterprises, distributed operations and single-application deployments.

According to a company statement, the FA-405 offers up to 40TB of usable space in a 1U controller form factor, making it ideal for top-of-rack and entry-level configurations.

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Running on the same Purity 4.0 software as it’s higher capacity counterparts, the FA-405 delivers the power, performance and enterprise-class features of the FA-420 and FA-450 arrays, with the budget and space conscious requirements of smaller and distributed businesses in mind.

The FA-405 is also ideal for single-application starter deployments, such as VDI pilots or single database acceleration, and can be upgraded non-disruptively to a FA-420 or FA-450 system, as a customer’s capacity or performance needs expand.

Payne said the new system would impact the game and could even help prevent player injury.

"From the sports science point of view we are concerned about the well being of our players and we generate data real time data from our playing and training schedules and also from the players on the pitch."

Prior to implementing the Pure Storage FlashArray, the ARU’s legacy SAN was a mechanical disk-based environment.

Payne said the union was running out of storage space, while functionality was less-than optimal and ongoing maintenance was expensive.

“Our data storage requirements have dropped from 52TB to just 10.5TB thanks to Pure’s data reduction capabilities," he said.

"Hand-in-hand with this is the fact we’ve dropped our physical space requirements from half a rack (around 20 rack unit/RUs) to just four RUs, which in turn saves power in our data centre.”

The ARU worked with Pure Storage integration partner, Solista, to design and implement the solution.

They currently run Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and store their data with AWS and Equinix.

Solista managing director, Noel Allnutt, said, the approach was to provide our customers with technologies to generate genuine, long-term benefits for their business.

“In the case of the ARU, Nick and his team saw the vast benefits of Pure’s all-flash solution immediately: from the speed and simplicity of deployment to the reduction in footprint, to lower costs,” he said.

Pure Storage vice president APJ, Michael Alp, said the ARU was a great example of a customer reaping the business benefits of swapping from old fashioned mechanical disks to an all-flash array solution.

"With customers in the market searching for greater scalability, simplicity and efficiency from their storage environment, all-flash eliminates the need for complex, expensive disks, making it the obvious choice to provide results from the get-go and for the long term,” he said.

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Tags Nick PaynearuAWSequinixMichael AlpPure Storage vice president APJFA-405emcOffice 365microsoft azureIT Infrastructure Manager

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