True Story: Automated Space Reclamation in a Production Environment

True Story: Automated Space Reclamation in a Production Environment

The auto business in the United States — and elsewhere — is big business. And it has a huge impact on the rest of the economy with parts, labor and numerous other industries affected.

Any business playing in the automotive industry needs to have its act together and ensure all aspects of its operations are functioning at peak efficiency.

With 11,000 customers, Dominion Dealer Solutions stands as the premier marketing performance system for auto dealers, enabling them to attract, retain, and service customers for life. Together, Dominion serves more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide. Dominion provides marketing, CRM and inventory management technologies all on a single platform. It allows auto dealers to manage their inventory, digital marketing, and their customer database through a single solution. Dominion Dealer Solutions is a part of Dominion Enterprises, a leading marketing services and publishing company serving the automotive, recreational and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, employment, parenting, and travel industries.

Stranded Disk Space in a Thin-Provisioned 3PAR SAN

Dominion -- Automated Space Reclamation in a Production Environment

Dominion Dealer Solutions has implemented thin provisioning with VMware for some of its storage solutions. Dominion’s Systems & Network Administrator, Doug Lashley, and his team recently discovered the stranded disk space problem when using thin-provisioned disks in VMware. The findings were eye opening. As Doug explains:

“We were astounded to find out just how much space we had lost — in some cases nearly 40%. We have two main SAN systems — an HP EVA4400 and an HP 3PAR7400. Unfortunately the EVA440 does not support the SCSI UNMAP primitive but the 3PAR7400 does. Our 3PAR7400 SAN is brand new, so we wanted to get a handle on controlling the thin-provisioned disks and raw volumes before going into production with it.”

Like many system and storage administrators, there comes a time when it is recognized that a tremendous amount of storage, if left unchecked, can be wasted in a thin-provisioned environment. Doug recognized this, but then ran into another common problem — reclaiming space is typically a manual, time consuming process that is prone to human error. Furthermore, active servers either need to be taken offline — never an attractive option — or run the risk of corruption.

As Doug noted:

“The manual method of using SDelete and ‘Compact CPG’ was time consuming and SDelete has the possibility for data corruption if it’s running on an active SQL server.”

Reclaiming Disk Space in a Production Environment

PerfectStorage addressed all those issues for Doug and Dominion Dealer Solutions, in a cost-effective manner.

Doug explains:

“PerfectStorage gives us the ability to run reclaim jobs without having to stop applications running on that server. It also gives us the ability to schedule jobs to run automatically.”

Without PerfectStorage, space reclamation of Dominion Dealer Solutions’ thin-provisioned disks was a daunting task, yet valuable and necessary to accomplish. But with PerfectStorage, it’s all done automatically, with no interruption to service and no risk of corruption. Give it a try and see for yourself.

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