What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case was turnaround time from server deployments, patching, and database restoration. Our main approach was turnaround times on new deployments, patching, and restoring of databases. We can restore a 2TB database in about 45 minutes, if that. It used to take days to do a restore for our warehouse refresh. Now, it is literally taking under an hour, which is a drastic improvement.
How has it helped my organization?
Our patching went down from about 40 hours a month to automatic schedules, so we don't spend a lot of overtime anymore from a patching perspective. Also, we have reduced the turnaround time for server deployments from an always-on availability group perspective from about four days to one hour.
Nutanix Era has helped optimize database performance to an extent. When we moved to the full Nutanix stack, we saw about 70 percent performance enhancements, going from the old physical to the Nutanix stack.
It has saved quite drastically on space. We have saved about 4TB just on one database, looking at the DR copies.
The strain that Nutanix Era backups make on the system is basically zero. So, it is quite nice to use Nutanix Era from a transactional log backup perspective.
What is most valuable?
The patching is the most valuable feature. We spent a lot of time and effort on the patching of our SQL instances after hours. With Nutanix Era, you can schedule and automate them during your normal operational hours (during the day). You schedule all the patching, then everything happens automatically with minor tickets from the engineer. So, our patching, which took four hours, went down to an hour for the engineer. This is much better for us from a return on investment perspective.
From an always-on availability perspective, it has simplified the process quite extensively. While this is not such an important feature for us, it has simplified things as a centralized access point to all our instances.
With all the advanced logging that takes place within Nutanix Era, it definitely has increased the visibility of our team into the actual processes which are running, what are being consumed, long-running queries, etc. Within Nutanix Era, it is a simple view.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using it for four or five months.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Once it is set up and configured, it has brilliant stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scaling has been quite easy, making changes to the actual VM was very simple. Based on the requirements, you can adjust it at any given time without having a major impact.
We have a DBA team of four engineers who all work on it. Hopefully, going forward, we can push it more towards the developers so they can roll out the database refreshes by themselves, because it is that simple. That should hopefully take quite a substantial load off my team in the near future.
We are still incorporating all our processes into it. At the moment, we literally just started up. We are migrating all our servers onto Nutanix Era. I think it will take another three to six months before we are entirely running on it. After that, we will start introducing it to the business to get the developers to do their own database refreshes, but that is something that we are planning going forward.
How are customer service and technical support?
Deal with the technical consultants directly, because they are the guys who roll everything out of the way to support you.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
It was all on the physical hardware, and that was very bad. That was the old way of doing things. We are modernizing it now, which is why we looked at the full Nutanix Era stack.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was a little tedious and complex. If they could make the setup slightly more user-friendly, then that would definitely be beneficial. If they could give a clear indication of what ports are required across the business and multiple VLANs, then your prep work can be done beforehand and before you do the actual installation. Because the documentation that was provided was not 100 percent accurate, so we had to do a lot of custom firewall rules after we deployed Nutanix Era.
We first deployed it in DR to determine the workload, usage, etc., because we have quite a big environment. So, we deployed it to the office, then did all the test cases, proof of concepts, and everything within our DR space. Once we were happy with that, we rolled it out to production. The rollout to production went very fast. We figured out all the issues beforehand when deploying to DR.
What about the implementation team?
Getting everything configured took about two weeks, with a few troubleshooting sessions with Era's technical team. Even when we were experiencing issues, it was quite pleasant. The support structure that they have is excellent. They have skilled resources who can assist with every single query that you have. It is the same with post-deployment issues.
What was our ROI?
For the turnaround time that it takes to troubleshoot issues, it definitely makes the process of coming back to business much faster. So, it definitely has increased the turnaround time on our normal queries that we have had from a database perspective.
We did a return on investment justification. We could get rid of our current backup software and consolidate that into the actual licensing cost. We should see a return on investment within three years and start making our money back.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Era is quite expensive. The thing that will be a showstopper for them in the long run is if you look at it from a technical perspective on what it provides and weigh it up against consolidation of multiple other software suites.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at IDERA from a performance perspective and Redgate from a monitoring perspective. However, I don't think, for the entire solution that Era provides, that it has much competition. It is a single solution that provides you new deployments and monitoring as well as everything in one bucket.
What other advice do I have?
If you look at the monitoring for long-running queries, it has given us good visibility of where the problem areas lie within the big databases. This gave us a good indication/direction to fix indexes and look at performance bottlenecks.
It is a great product. I would definitely give it a 10 out of 10. With the technology that it provides and the simplicity of the actual solution, there is no one who can compete with it.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?