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University of Portland Boosts VDI Performance with NFS Acceleration Appliance

The University of Portland has implemented a campus-wide virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution with a network file system (NFS) acceleration appliance to boost performance.

During the university's VDI pilot program, the IT team noticed a bottleneck in the storage system that was causing read latency, despite the fact that they were using higher speed serial-attached SCSI (SAS) disk drives and Flash as cache. Before rolling out the system campus-wide to 3,000 users, including support for a redesigned state-of-the-art digital library, the team began looking for a solution to the read-latency problem.

First they tried a pure solid state drive (SSD) array solution, which did help reduce latency, but it was expensive and didn't tie into the university's network-attached storage (NAS) infrastructure. Then the team discovered the ANX 1500 NFS acceleration appliance from Alacritech.

"I liked the idea that Alacritech's ANX platform could directly integrate with our current NAS system, rather than our current configuration, which was two distinct, separately managed storage systems," said Tom Ank, the storage IT engineer for the university, in a prepared statement. "Furthermore, the read latency for the ANX was actually less than our pure SSD solution and could be purchased at a fraction of the cost. The ANX also enabled us to use less expensive and higher capacity media behind our filers."

The university implemented the ANX 1500 as part of its campus-wide VDI deployment. Because the ANX 1500 enables the university to use lower-cost SATA disk drives in its storage system while maintaining low latency, the university expects to save approximately $200,000 over the next year, according to a news release from Alacritech. Plus, they expect the ANX 1500 to extend the life of the filer, which should save them more money. In subsequent fiscal years, the university expects to save 50 percent per year off the cost of additional storage.

The University of Portland is an independent four-year Catholic institution located in Portland, OR. It serves 3,900 undergraduate and graduate students and employs 320 faculty members.

Further information about the Alacritech ANX 1500 NFS acceleration appliance can be found at

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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