When a report on how many hours have been worked in your company over the last month takes 19 hours to run, it's reasonable to assume something has gone wrong. But how do you find the cause?
Horrified picture from Shutterstock
Australian infrastructure delivery company Tenix was experiencing that problem with its monthly reports, which cover 1200 users across some 70 sites. IT manager Andrew Pamfleet eventually identified the cause as I/O bottlenecks on the storage area network in its Melbourne data centre, which relied on an ageing HP EVA storage array.
Six months ago, Tenix upgraded its storage to a Nimble Storage adaptive flash system (which uses SSD for cacheing and relies on processing power to rapidly write data to conventional hard drives). That has resulted in an immediate improvement, Pamfleet said at a media lunch to launch Nimble's new CS700 array. The report now runs in a much more reasonable 2 hours and 23 minutes.
"Our JD Edwards ERP system had some reporting issues," he said. "With the Nimble box, we were able to turn that around. We haven't been able to get the box to break a sweat as yet." The smaller size of the gear has also reduced per-rack charges, since the system takes up just three rack units, rather than 48.
Incidentally, that doesn't mean the existing HP kit is being dumped. The system is being redeployed in a non-production environment outside the hosting centre.
The lesson? While it's tempting to blame software performance problems on the software, the cause often lies elsewhere — and solving it may deliver additional cost benefits.