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Ron Kanter
Berkeley Research Group

When we at BRG were looking for storage to host our Microsoft applications at 17 different sites, we knew we wanted something that could get the job done in a cost-effective manner.

Email is at the heart of everything that BRG does, being the primary way we exchange information with our clients. We needed infrastructure that was not only highly reliable but would also allow rapid access by remote users using a wide variety of client devices –traditional PCs and Macs but also hundreds of PDAs and hand-held devices.

We needed to support about 350 users and a terabyte of data among users in multiple locations.  Since availability is of paramount importance, we use the Database Availability Group (DAG) feature in Exchange 2010. We use two Client Access Servers(CAS)  for the middle tier and two database servers spread out between our two locations at Emeryville and Washington DC.

In addition, we need to back up the Exchange database locally for added protection.

We went with Nimble to address 3 primary issues.  First, out current backup system was unreliable and difficult to manage due to the fact that we had so many locations and our requirements to have all data exist in at least 2 locations.  Secondly, we were seeing high disk latency on some of our SQL servers, even ones that had dedicated storage and would have to either upgrade our existing storage or replace it.  Finally, several of our locations were close to reaching capacity and needed extra space.

We started out deploying SQL workloads primarily on the Nimble array. Very quickly we realized we had enough performance headroom to consolidate our very demanding Exchange 2010 deployment on the same array.

Thus we ended up replacing our NetApp arrays, shaving off approximately a half million dollars in maintenance costs alone over 5 years. Furthermore, with Nimble, we don’t have to worry about piece-meal licensing for individual software features such as replication and backup.

In addition, we have also been able to replace our agent-based Unitrends backup system with Nimble’s built-in replication and backup capabilities, reducing our hardware and software infrastructure.  The backup process has also been greatly simplified.

Since availability is also crucial, we need to be able to track and monitor our replication and backup systems continually. The built-in alerts that Nimble provides have been very helpful here.

What has also helped is Nimble’s very responsive and proactive support team that has been by our side every step of the way.

And this is just the beginning.  We here at BRG believe there is lots of potential for this product and look forward to doing more with Nimble in the future.

Ron Kanter
Berkeley Research Group

Berkeley Research Group provides expert services and consulting to major law firms, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and regulatory bodies worldwide. Ron Kanter heads up IT at BRG and is responsible for implementing complex solutions in zero-downtime environments with high security and compliance requirements.