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Golf gear maker replaces EMC VMAX with all-flash XtremIO

Callaway dumps hybrid legacy VMAX for 60TB of all-flash EMC XtremIO, and says massive performance gains means no more backup headaches

Golf equipment manufacturer Callaway has replaced all its existing EMC VMAX hybrid arrays with EMC XtremIO all-flash storage for tier one data and made big savings on disk cost and storage administration.

Callaway operates globally from its headquarters in California, where it has primary and secondary datacentres, with regional sites in the UK, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Its key applications centre on SAP, and its server estate comprises around 200 physical servers with around 500 VMware virtual machines.

Callaway has been a long-time EMC storage customer since it deployed SAP in the early 1990s, said director Chinh Van. It has now deployed 60TB of XtremIO all-flash storage to replace its existing flash/Fibre Channel/SATA VMAX estate.

“XtremIO is a very fast technology. We had experienced some business challenges, with SAP reporting and response times” said Van.

“The VMAX was doing fine. But when XtremIO came out – and it was time for a tech refresh – there were some features that we thought could reduce cost of ownership.”

Benefits of XtremIO

The key attribute for Van and his team has been the speed of flash storage in XtremIO and its data reduction technologies. The two combined have allowed Callaway to drastically reduce the amount of time taken in the backup process.

The VMAX backups could not be taken from the production environment as it slowed operations down too much. Therefore, the IT team set up a system where a duplicate was mirrored off from production and snapshots were taken, which required a doubling of the amount of disk space needed.

With XtremIO there is a surplus of input/output (I/O) performance, and running backups on production data doesn’t affect wider performance, said Van.

With VMAX we needed to carefully size the number of HDDs [hard disk drives] given over to a specific workload to gain the IOPS we needed,” said Van. “With XtremIO there is such high performance that it became a non-factor.”

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Callaway now runs most tier one apps – SAP, SQL databases and some VMware VMDKs – on 60TB of XtremIO (one 40TB X-Brick and one 20TB) and has retired all its EMC VMAX to create an all-flash tier. It uses EMC VNX arrays for tier two operations.

So far XtremIO has only been deployed at Callaway’s main datacentre at Carlsbad, California.

Van's team had looked at other flash array suppliers before settling on EMC’s XtremIO, he said. “We looked at XtremIO before EMC owned it, and at other suppliers too. EMC was late to the market, but the benefits outweighed any disadvantages.”

One of the main benefits for Callaway is that XtremIO is “extremely fast”, said Van.

“It saves a lot of time with admin and trouble-shooting and there are no disk performance issues, while the on-board data reduction helps reduce costs. A 7TB database, for example, only takes up about 2TB of capacity, so we can easily overprovision.”

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