Data Storage Enhancements Over Winter Break

Posted on: January 29, 2015

So much that we do in Information Technology Services (ITS) happens under the hood, in the background. No one really notices when IT services are working and our customers needs are being met. As ubiquitous as IT is in our daily life and on campus–commitment, creativity and skill is required to address IT issues in order to fulfill the ITS mission to support the University’s students, faculty, researchers and staff.

Just before the Winter Break, two separate issues presented themselves. A non-compatible storage array needed to be removed from the UT Virtual (UT-V) server environment, and a special request from the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Center for Learning and Memory to provision 32TB of data storage needed to be fulfilled. Here is how these problems were solved:

  • Alex Barth, Senior Storage Specialist and Jason Lawrence, Senior Storage Specialist were instrumental in getting the new Storage Array installed and configured before the Winter Break, adding three Petabytes of storage capacity in December 2014. (The University Data Center team installed this new equipment in record time.)
  • Doug Bailey, Senior Systems Administrator wrote scripts that automated the process of moving the storage for these ~1,400 Virtual Machines (VMs).
  • Alex configured a dedicated data pathway on the non-compatible storage array for the 500 Terabytes (TB) data migration.
  • Doug and Alex built the CNS VM and provisioned the 32TB data storage on Friday December 19, 2014. They completed the task late that evening.
  • Over the holiday break, Alex led the process of monitoring and starting/stopping the data migration scripts. In the process, ~1,400 VMs had their data migrated to the new storage array. Alex also removed (detached) the non-compliant storage array from the UT-V environment.

When queried about why he had worked through the holiday break to complete the removal of the non-compatible storage array from UT-V, Alex said, It just needed to get done. Both Alex and Doug displayed true creativity within highly complex technical areas throughout this process, overcoming every obstacle they faced to get the job done. As a result of their efforts, ~500 TB of storage was migrated transparently while most of us were enjoying our Winter break.

Thanks to the creativity, smarts, selflessness, and focus on the customers exhibited by Doug Bailey and Alex Barth, the non-compliant storage array was safely and efficiently removed from the UT-V environment, making it significantly more stable and reliable for all UT-V users. Fulfilling the CNS last-minute request to replace a failing storage array for a VM for the Center for Learning and Memory also aided faculty and researchers in their work.

See Also: