Data Center Tech Blog
Rob Callaghan

Product Marketing Manager, SanDisk Enterprise Storage Solutions

It is not common that less is more in today’s world. “New and improved” can often mean new packaging, with reshuffled content for a higher price. I’ve found this trend to be especially true in regard to Internet access, monthly cell phone plans, or cable/satellite TV subscriptions. Luckily for companies working to offer their customers innovative and cost-effective solutions, SanDisk® flash storage technology is helping challenge that trend. Let me share one such case of a leading edge company―Intelliflo.

How to Scale from 250 Million Daily Database Queries

Intelliflo has been providing information technology services exclusively to UK financial services companies since its inception in 2004. The company provides leading web-based business management software, Intelligent Office, which is used by more than 1,600 firms and 14,650 users. These customers have assets under management of more than £243 billion. Intelligent Office executes as many as 10,000 database transactions per second during peak hours and handles over 2.5 million web requests and as many as 250 million database queries each day.

Intelliflo was straining under their own success. The company was challenged on how to maintain system performance, while decreasing their data center footprint and complexity yet continuing to provide their solutions cost effectively. At the same time they were launching a new set of solutions, Personal Finance Portal 2.0, targeted directly at the retail investor (or in technology speak ―the end user). This would expand the potential user base from the current 14,650 financial advisers to millions of potential users on the system.

To make this even more challenging, their current storage area network (SAN) was already straining under the current workload and could not handle this expanded user base. The SAN was showing large spikes during heavy batch processing and was limited to only one gigabyte of throughput as all the applications competed for I/O.

After much research and testing, Intelliflo turned to SanDisk, HPE and Microsoft to solve their enviable problem. This included looking at managing traffic across production and disaster recovery sites, in addition to improving throughput and transaction response time.

When Less is More

The infrastructure enhancements consisted of a four-node active/passive HPE server cluster, on HPE ProLiant DL380 G9 Servers with 18 processor cores—a substantial reduction from the previous core count of 48—with two 2.6TB HPE PCIe Workload Accelerators (Fusion ioMemory PX600 PCIe Application Accelerators from SanDisk) installed in each node.

Intelliflo moved to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn AG and InfiniBand, together with Fusion ioMemory PCIe application accelerators to provide the fastest and most cost-effective solution. Using the Microsoft AlwaysOn AG technology provided them with improved and simplified database high availability options, including hybrid disaster recovery and new backup options that provide SAN-like features in an in-rack solution. In addition, this solution reduced database wait times by 75 percent while enabling web requests to run 50 percent faster. This new configuration turbocharged their environment enabling up to 16X IOPS bursting capacity when needed.

This is a true case of Less is More! By moving off the costly SAN and onto HPE PCIe Workload Accelerators (Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards from SanDisk) in HPE servers, Intelliflo was able to reduce both the server footprint and costs, while getting more performance! This led to:

  • 90% reduction in batch processing time
  • 50% performance boost in web requests
  • 75% improvement in database wait times

The impact was also well received by their customers, with many advisers reporting positive feedback about the increased speed of delivery and commenting on how it’s saving time for them and their support staff.

For Financial Advisers, Time is Value

Intelliflo recognizes that financial advisers see the most value in spending time with their clients, not sitting in front of a computer screen, so new and different functions need to open up quickly and instantaneously. In the words of Intelliflo’s database manager, “With the additional performance headroom that the Fusion ioMemory cards have provided, we don’t need to worry about any performance constraints resulting from more client demand….We are able to add additional feature sets with confidence.”

To learn more about Intelliflo and how SanDisk helped solve their application performance challenges click here.

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