The National Army of Germany has to be ready to operate anywhere at any time. It recently launched a project to build a military-grade IT infrastructure that can deliver superior service to:
- enable and support the Army’s initiative to virtualize its entire infrastructure, so that it uses little or no actual physical space in the field
- be able to move from place to place and operate on its own anywhere in the world at any given time
- be free of excess weight
- operate on only the power the Army units take with them into the field
- be easy to deploy and manage, especially for IT-skilled soldiers with little or no experience in storage
- most importantly, it must be highly-available with no single point of failure, to enable the Army to communicate and operate without interruption in the field.
Although other vendors and solutions were considered, these were dismissed in favor of SvSAN which was felt to be the only solution that fit all the Army’s requirements, particularly the ability to support a virtualized infrastructure without a single-point-of-failure.
SvSAN delivers shared storage for each field unit’s IT cluster, which runs on VMware ESXi server hypervisors. SvSAN also supports the Army’s secure networking, monitoring, communications and other infrastructure operations, and up to 1000 users per cluster – all from the shared storage pool.
Simplified Hardware – Because it’s a software-only solution that leverages internal server storage, SvSAN enables a two-server and no-SAN environment, making it as portable as storage can possibly be. If a server goes down, IT service continues without interruption; field units previously went without their IT operations – and suffered from inefficiencies for up to an entire week until replacement parts could be deployed. For the Army, this ability to support its infrastructure with just two servers that can manage the entire cluster by themselves is the single biggest benefit that SvSAN delivers.
True High Availability – With SvSAN, as a result of that simplified hardware, data storage is highly-available anywhere – including remote and harsh environments. This is accomplished through synchronously mirroring virtual machines to the other server in the environment – eliminating single-points-of-failure commonly encountered with legacy SAN solutions or other storage infrastructures.
Centralized IT – As a software solution, SvSAN’s industry-standard management interface allows SvSANs across distributed sites to be managed, provisioned and maintained remotely from a single-pane- of-glass interface at a central location. This has been especially useful for the Army, because IT administrators in the field are limited and not experienced with storage.
Ease of Deployment – SvSAN is installed, setup and configured at the Army’s central IT site at headquarters, so that administrators in the field only have to turn the system on and bring it online for it to be working properly. The entire field deployment process takes about 15 minutes, and it’s simple enough for soldiers with little to no storage experience to execute on. This ease of deployment helps Army units operate and achieve efficiencies quickly.